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Club Profile

What We're About

The New Forest Runners Club was formed in September 1981 to encourage and support running for pleasure and as a means keeping fit.

Its vision today is of ‘a fit and healthy community’. To this end, we see the purpose of our Club is to provide a safe and friendly environment for people of all ages and abilities to:

  • Be introduced to the sport of running

  • Experience organised running for health and recreation

  • Be coached & supported in competitive running.

The objectives of the club are

  • To provide a structured programme for new runners

  • To lead regular and safe health and recreational running

  • To provide high quality coaching for competitive running at all distances

  • To organise races and associated events

  • To promote Club participation in championships, leagues and other competitions

  • To engage with the local community in the development of improved running and athletics resources

  • To maintain a solvent, well-managed and respected club.

The New Forest Runners Club Headquarters are situated at Fawcetts Field, New Milton. We have the use of a 400 metre grass track and floodlit 900 metre trim trail. We are also very fortunate in being able to train on Sundays (and Tuesdays April-October) in the beautiful New Forest, meeting at Wilverley Plain. We have a Forestry Commission permit, renewable each year allowing us to train in the Wilverley Inclosure area.

New Forest Runners are affiliated to:

What we do

The club meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7.00 p.m.and Sunday mornings at 9.30 a.m.  During the winter, Tuesday and Thursday evenings meet at our club base at Fawcetts Field in New Milton and Sunday mornings meet at Wilverley Plain in the forest. During the summer, on Tuesday evenings we meet at Wilverley Plain as well.  Tuesdays and Thursdays typically involve a 5ish mile run and/or interval training sessions on a Thursday led by one of our trained Coaches and Leaders.  Sunday mornings are when people tend to head off on longer runs, typically from 5 to 12 miles in various groups based depending on running ability.  The current training schedule can be found here.

For the runs, people go into groups with a similar speed of say 7, 8, 9 and 10/11 minute miles.  The training sessions split into fast, medium and slow groups.  It therefore follows that it may be difficult to join a group if you are currently unable to run 5 miles at 10/11 minute mile pace.  In response, the club organises an annual novices group which runs for 10 weeks commencing in April and which supports new and returning runners to get up to this kind of pace. Further details can be found here.

We also have a group known as the ‘Mudlarks’ which meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:30 at Wilverley Plain.  This group is for those who are able to run during the date and go off on very social runs of various paces and distances, followed by even more socialising over a cup of coffee! Details on the Mudlarks can be found here.

We encourage people to enter a couple of local running series and organise a few races and timed runs ourselves. Whilst we have some seriously competitive members, the majority are there for personal challenges such as running marathons and/or for general fitness and well-being. The club organises a small number of races and events through the year to include some within the series describes above. We rely on members supporting these through, for example, being a marshal and it is always helpful if new members come with a readiness to get involved and make a contribution.

It is all very relaxed and friendly and you would be made welcome. You can also come along and try us out before you join should you wish. If you have any further questions or would like to have someone meet you at the club just email the secretary at: info@newforestrunners.com

Our Club’s History

In September 1981, John Seabrook, a local swimming instructor, decided to run the Sunday Times Hyde Park National Fun Run. He offered to train the members of his adult swimming class so that they could also run.

Participants in the Fun Run had to enter as a team so John and the others formed the ‘Forest Joggers’. There were about 50 members, including children. Some felt that they were really runners rather than joggers and in October of the same year the ‘Forest Joggers’ was renamed ‘The New Forest Runners’, becoming a club affiliated to the Amateur Athletics Association.

In 1982, Club President, Mike RYAN was quoted in our club magazine, the “Runners Rag” as saying “The aim of the club is running for pleasure and to cater for all ages and abilities – everyone from the serious marathon runner to the casual jogger are equally welcome.”

Clearly that statement has become embedded in the ethos of the club as from this small group of enthusiasts the club has evolved into the thriving running club it is today, with over 430 members of all running abilities ranging for from ages 8 -80+.

Along with the club – our club identity has evolved and in 2017 we redesigned our club logo to accommodate our online presence, following a vote by members the logo was amended but took its roots firmly from the original design created by hand some 30 years prior by Claire Hughes.

In 1990 an annual Novices training course was added to the annual agenda to introduce non-runners to running and encourage them to join the club, and in 2005 a Junior section was added to the club by Derrick Burgess. This section now has regular meetings alongside the Senior club, and has grown in membership and we now regularly train between  30-40 young runners aged from 10 to 17.  Some of which have represented Hampshire at county level.

The first committee consisted of

  • President John Seabrook

  • Captain Peter Dyer

  • Coach Colin Clegg

  • Secretary Pauline Dyer

  • Plus Mary Ford, Jackie Parrish, Marion Trafford and Mike Bruce-Burgess.

  • In 1981 the membership was 50 and it now stands at 400+

The first New Forest Ten and Fun Runs

In 1983 a national campaign to get Britain fit was in progress and the local Wessex Health Authority was offering a £500 grant to organisations planning any event promoting local interest in healthy exercise for all the family. The New Forest Runners applied for the grant and the successful application enabled this first race to take place. The first event attracted some 700 runners. At its peak there were 1200 entrants [980 finishers], with the recent races attracting over 700 finishers. The NF10 has always been a money raising event for various local charities.

The first New Forest Marathon and Half Marathon

1983 was also the first year for the New Forest Marathon and Half Marathon. The Lions Club of New Milton asked the New Forest Runners Club to define the course and advise them about the needs of runners. This advice continues to day. The Lions Club organised the event for the first 5 years, after which the New Forest Marathon Association took over. The New Forest Marathon Association to date has many New Forest Runners on the committee.
In 1983 there were about 800 runners and in 1999 about 1700 runners. It now peaks at over 2000 entrants. Like the NF 10, this event is purely raising money for charity. The other largest charity fundraiser has been the events staged for the BBC’s Children in Need.

RR 10 series

The RR6 league was originally formed in 1984 to promote friendly relationships between six clubs.

Renamed The RR10 league its a a series of races organised by running clubs in south-west Hampshire for their members.  As part of the RR Series New Forest Runners host the RR10 at Wilverley

New Forest Runners was one of the founder members, with Southampton Running club having the original idea.

In the past the ladies team have won this event many times and the men’s team have won the event 5 times in a row. There have also been many fine individual performances from Lee Rodriguez, Chris Olden, Anthea Waters, Kathy Bailey who have all actually won their events out right.

The races are held on Wednesday evenings during the spring and summer. Entry is free.

All of the races are 4-5 miles off-road. The standard of runners varies from 5-minute milers to 12+ minute milers so, however fast you are, there will always be someone to run with.

Just turn up on the day wearing your club shirt/vest  join in with the team run and enjoy yourself!

Detail of fixtures are in events calendar or on the RR10 League Website

CC6 Series

The CC6 Cross Country League is a friendly low-key league, organised by the running clubs of south Hampshire for their members, provides an excellent introduction to competitive racing.

Held in the winter, these local races are free and take place once a month on Sunday mornings, between October and March. Distances are between 4 and 5 miles and have similar locations to those in the RR10.

No need to enter in advance, just turn up on the day wearing your club shirt/vest  join in with the team and run and enjoy yourself!

Detail of fixtures are in events calendar or on the cc6 League Website.

The Video below produced by Romsey Roads Runners gives  a really great insight in to a CC6 Event and the support and comradery that out there for all participants.

Racing on the Continent or any where in the world

Many of the members are often found racing any where in the world. Recently we had 3 members competing in the World master championships in New Zealand, and almost every year small groups venture out to race all over Europe.

Special Relationships

The New Forest Runners have formed special relationship with the Club Athletique Cauchois from the Normandy region in France . Members journey across the Channel to compete in the Tour du Pays de Caux event of 6 races in 4 days which is held annually. Their hospitality is returned when they visit England and participate in events here.

Presidents (Past and Present)

1981 John Seabrook
1982-1987 Mike Ryan
1988-1989 Geoff Bungard
1990-1991 Andrew Blackburn
1992-1993 Mike Ryan
1994-1995 Vince Sutherland
1996-1997 Mike Bruce-Burgess
1998-1999 Olive Howlett
2000-2001 Mike Bruce-Burgess
2002-2003 Mike Ryan
2004 Derrick Burgess
2005-2007 Mike Ryan
2008-2009 Peter Coupland
2010-2011 Mike Bruce-Burgess
2012 Matt Cafferky, Peter Coupland
2013-2016 Henry Szwinto

From 2013, the club constitution has changed and with it the President’s role. The admin/business side of things is now looked after by the Chairman of the committee and a new role has been identified – that of Honorary President. The Honorary President is elected by the committee to “fly the flag” and be an ambassador for the club, and also be a bit of a role-model to the members.

2013 Tony Wickham Henry Szwinto
2014 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2015 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2016 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2017 Paul Goode Micheal McCabe
2018 Paul Goode Micheal McCabe