16 posts

A group of wet runners and a couple of dogs outside an abbey

RRR’s New Year’s Eve Steeplechase Run

In years gone by Romsey Road Runners traditionally blew the Christmas cobwebs away with a social club run. This year the tradition was revived on New Year’s Eve with the Steeplechase, four routes of differing lengths each ending at Romsey Abbey. The longest started at Winchester Cathedral and clocked in at just over 19 miles; the half marathon went from Farley Mount; the 10-mile route from the church at Kings Somborne and the 6-mile from the medieval church at Mottisfont. All the routes were mainly on trails following the Clarendon and Test Way paths.

A group of wet runners and a couple of dogs outside an abbey
Runners outside Romsey Abbey after the NYE Run

Forty-three intrepid souls (including four walking-wounded, one Jack Russell, one Cockapoo and two spaniels), set off in torrential rain and wind from the four start points with the aim of all converging on Romsey Abbey at 2pm for a photo call before heading off to the nearest pub. Conditions were dire, with tracks turned to rivers and bogs, but it all added to the fun, particularly the sections over the water meadows which were knee-deep in water. The four dogs – Poppy, Jim, Elsie and Monty – took to it with gusto, bounding cheerfully through the mud and swimming through the waterlogged sections, clearly thinking it was all a great adventure.

RRR’s wonderful session leader Moira Sankey ran the 6-mile route with friends Lin Windsor, Karen Keane and Richard Vie. Moira said, “the 6-mile route from Mottisfont involved a few styles and paths that resembled paddling pools of the ‘cool’ variety. The weather was seasonal, (rain and wind- in other words ‘great fun’ if you are a runner!). Although the 6-mile run was the shortest, I take it from my fellow runners that it was the hardest – happy to go with that!”

Alice Jenden, who only recently joined the club, also took part in the 6-mile run. Alice said, “It was a windy and wet day but I really enjoyed it. There was a sense of true camaraderie as we ran through mud, climbed over fences and powered through some deep puddles. It was a great way to meet more people from the club and I can’t wait to do the next one!”

Deb Ferre ran the 10-mile route from King’s Somborne with her friend Julie Shanker. Deb said “it was lovely being out there enjoying the elements. The first half was easy going but we knew what we were in for from Kimbridge- lots of mud & very wet feet! It was great to be part of a fab club event – can’t wait for the next one!”

Lottie Budd, who took up running in 2022, also took part in the 10-mile with her faithful hound Elsie. Lottie said, “never in my dreams would I have thought I’d run 10 miles enduring lashing rain in my face, being completely soaked through, mud covering my shoes – only for the mud to be washed away by running in what felt like a brook, rather than a trail – yet laughing and having the best times!”

Jonathan Pillinger-Cork who took on the 19-mile run said, “starting just before 11am on a wet, cold NYE in Winchester, the long uphill out of the city turned out to be the easiest bit, with me, Neil Jennings and Tim Parker all making good progress before the mud started at Farley Mount, then it was mud, river, mud, downhill river, mud, gate, fall over etc till the end. With the water in the water meadow up to my thighs and Squabb Wood turned into the “River Squabb”, it sounds bleak and pointless…but it was not.  The company of Neil and Tim was just the catalyst for keeping a good pace and making it to the end.  Meeting up with other runners on the course gave us all the fillip to keep going. In summary, the running was tiring, muddy and very, very wet, but the people were encouraging and supportive – it was just what was needed on NYE.”

Nigel Hemsted also ran the 19-mile route with friends Elizabeth Prinsep and Giovanni Buldrini. Nigel said, “once we reached the edge of Winchester the route was in glorious countryside. Despite the constant rain and wind which built up later in the run we kept cheerful, and had jelly babies to keep us going. The highlight of the route was saved to the end with ankle deep mud in Squabb Wood and then a kilometre of wading through water across the Romsey water meadows. It was a great day with a real sense of achievement when we reached Romsey Abbey.”

Voice of the runner: what you want from your club

Thanks to everybody that took the time to complete our recent members survey.  Our original plan was to get this summary out to you in the very next Relay, but with everything turned upside down that clearly hasn’t happened.

But even though we can’t meet and train together right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for all the amazing stuff we’re going to do together once’ we’re through this.

What we need more than ever right now is positivity, and you delivered in your droves with the amazing and constructive suggestions you gave us.

Overall, I think it’s fair to say we are diverse bunch of runners, but what ties us all together is a love of running and a desire to retain the heart and soul of what makes us Romsey Road Runners. The challenge for the committee and session leaders comes from the fact we have members on both ends of a number of spectrums:

  • Some want shorter session, others want longer ones
  • Some want more change and variety, others want consistency and familiarity
  • Some want more fun and social running, others want focus and structure

The secret will be in trying to offer choice, whilst not fundamentally changing the nature of the club – a challenge we accept!!

Training: When it comes to Mon and Thu training the preference is, just marginally, to try and keep to these two days but offer more variety of session types.

In terms of the types of new sessions we could add they all seemed popular; but strength & conditioning, winter-track, coached sessions and cross-country come out top.

Looking for quick wins we are planning to some new session types, when we are able.  As ever we encourage you to give them a go and provide feedback:

  • A return to meeting at Woodley Hall for Mon Braishfield sessions now we can run out on the new pathway
  • An optional cross-county training session every other week run alongside regular sessions, led by James Battle and Steve Geary.
  • A 10-week strength and conditioning course led by Becky Tovey
  • And for later this year/early next year some structured training programmes for particular races/distances led by coaches Becky and Ian

Social: The clear theme around social events was for us to just try some different things and a larger number of smaller events throughout the year.  Lee & Steve has some great ideas, including combining the cross-country sessions with some social elements in the summer – look out for the run/pizza/beer combo!

Relay: Whilst Relay is clearly loved, a number of you raised the issue of going digital and asking if there was a more modern way to share news from across the club.  Well, they do say that necessity is the mother of invention and the new blog that has evolved over the past few weeks is evidence of that.  And we are already trying to accommodate some of your suggestion for content; recipes, book/podcast reviews and a focus on a wider range of distances and event types, etc.  I am sure Relay will be back before too long, but maybe in a slightly different format??

Kit: It would seem that on the whole you are happy with the kit offered by the club, but Tam is going to look into options for some sort of zipped/hooded top to be worn over our running kit for travelling to and from training and races.  We also loved the idea of a sew/iron on badge so we could customise our own pieces of kit.

Coach Nick and the EA Club Run

A big thank you to all of you that came and got involved in our recent flying visits from (top coach) Nick Anderson through England Athletics’ Club Run initiative. For those attending I’m sure you’ll agree it gave us lots to think about, provided three thoroughly enjoyable club nights and has left us pointing onwards and upwards as runners as well as a club as a whole.

So what’s the EA Club Run all about?

EA have a clear goal in mind with their Club Run initiative…

“The England Athletics’ Club Run programme is a free initiative specifically aimed at supporting road running clubs to support runners, leaders and coaches in working towards improved performance at a specific event or race distance. Since launching two years ago the programme has supported over 100 clubs up and down the country involving over 5,000 club runners, over 800 club leaders and coaches and a team of around 40 experienced coach deliverers”.

And you can now add Romsey Road Runners to this list!

What did we do with our three sessions?

For those that weren’t there, Nick ran three sessions for us across February and March. Session one was a threshold session round Abbotswood estate with warm-up and form drills followed by 5 x 5-min intervals run at ‘3-word conversational’ pace. The aim being to train the body at the zone at which we should be able to sustain our speed over a reasonable distance/time. Nick talked to us about the importance of doing these sorts of sessions on a regular basis to get our bodies used to working in this zone and, over time, being able to run quicker without running harder.

The second session was focused at VO2-max, or that pace above our Threshold where we can no longer hold any sort of conversation, and should be out of breath at the end of it. This took the form of 6 x 3-minute efforts; 90s out along one of the Abbotswood paths and 90s back, with a relatively short recovery. Those in attendance on a cold Feb evening can testify to the steam coming off all our bodies, proving just how much harder we were working than the previous session. Nick positioned this sort of session as ‘the icing on the cake’ that should be done as we get closer to race day for those key 5km, 10km, RR10 and CC6 races.

The third and final session was a talk at Woodley Hall from Nick about the importance of the three key elements of performance running – TRAINING, RECOVERY and NUTRITION. Over the course of 2.5 hours (and a lot of pizza) Nick took us through his theories on these three elements, backing them up with personal experiences as well as data and case studies. I for one went home with my head swimming with information that I am already beginning to make sense of and think about how I can apply it to my own training.

Really positive feedback

Thanks to all of you who provided feedback following these sessions. Here are just a few of the positive things you had to say:

“(Nick) was really engaging and authoritative, and gave us loads to think about.  I’m really looking forward to adjusting the way we run sessions to benefit from what we’ve learned.”

“A very inspirational talk from Nick once again… I think the whole 3 sessions from Nick has been a good turning point for the club.”

“(Nick) has a great ability to enthuse and inform people in a way that makes sense and is easy to follow.”

“This was a brilliant set of sessions and we have all benefited so much from Nick’s expertise and dedication.”

So what are we going to do now?

As the EA mission for these club runs explains, the aim is not only to inform and assist runners but to up-skill run leaders amongst the clubs. And your very own session leader team have already met to discuss how we might be able to apply some of these principles Nick has brought to us in our own training, as well as build in the great feedback many of you have sent us since these visits started.

Our Spring training schedule will be out soon and hopefully you will this come to bear. But we are very aware that whenever you try anything new, some things will work and some might not, so please let us know what you think and if necessary we can try something different next time.

And a big thank you to everybody who made this happen; Karen for kick-starting the whole thing, Becky for writing our application, the session leaders for helping to plan and of course Mark and Liz for sorting out the pizzas.

Here’s to even better training, recovery and nutrition for us all…

Rival clubs join forces for annual Boxing Day run

Two runnng clubs in Romsey put aside their rivalries this Christmas to join together for a joint Boxing Day run. Halterworth Harriers invited the Romsey Road Runners to join them for their annual festive social run. Meeting at Halterworth Junior School at 9.30am the runners headed out via Botley Road to Baddesley Common. There was a variety of runners including several juniors. Some runners were kitted out in Santa Hats and a variety of other running attire on the 4.5 mile route across road, grass and mud. The centre point of the run was stopping for a chat at the wooden boardwalk on the common and the chance to sample some delicious home made vegan energy balls made by the Harriers nutritionist Eleanor Vamplew.
The weather was seasonally mild (and dry) which helped get a good turnout for the event. Some of the runners are training for marathons and decided to meet earlier for a few extra miles before the rest of the runners joined them for the social run.
Everyone agreed that it was a good way of burning off some calories and to get out in the fresh air after a day of indulgence.
For anyone interested in joining a local running club please go to either clubs’ website for more information or

Happy Birthday Romsey Road Runners!

On Sunday 13 September, around 50 past and present members of the club met at the Mill Arms in Dunbridge to celebrate 30 years of Romsey Road Runners. Led by two of the club’s founding members, Keith Stone and Steve Lees, the group divided, some opting for the seven-mile run while others enjoyed a four-mile walk before returning to the pub for baguettes and chips then birthday cake. Great fun! The full story of the club’s history can be found in the current issue of Relay.

Founding Members Keith Stone & Steve Lees
Founding Members Keith Stone & Steve Lees

The Walkers
The Walkers

The Runners
The Runners

50 RRRs
50 RRRs

Weekend Away

The Social team have been making plans for this year’s RRR Weekend Away and we’ve decided to go for the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series event in Pembrokeshire on Saturday, 2nd May.

These are fantastic, friendly, well-organised events held around stretches of scenic coastline – and often taking in stretches not normally open to the public. They also offer a choice of distances: 10k, half marathon, full marathon and ultra.

To find out more, and enter if you plan to come, go to: then click on Events, then CTS 14-15 then Pembrokeshire. James at EL has very kindly given us a discount code, so when you get to the checkout enter rrrp15 in the code box – this gives you 15% off (NB: previous entrants, it will not operate in conjunction with any prize vouchers). The code is valid until 1 March. These events are extremely popular, so please enter soon to avoid disappointment.

I have looked at hotel options and think the Premier Inn at Haverfordwest (North/A40) is our best bet. It is just 8 miles from race HQ and reasonably priced. They will not offer the lowest rates on group bookings, however, so I suggest we book individually and pick the days/rates that suit us best. The number is 0871 527 9546. At time of writing, the cheapest deal is the Premier Saver (no refunds or amends), which offers 1 room for 2 nights (Fri and Sat) for 2 people for £99 (no breakfast); Friday night only is £39. The sooner you book, the cheaper it is (other options are available).

I suggest we go down on Friday afternoon/evening and return on Sunday morning (though please do what is best for you). I will book a (pasta) restaurant for Friday night and another for Saturday (alternatively, there is the EL Afterparty at the Castle Inn), once I know how many people are going. We can also look at lift shares or possibly a minibus, depending on numbers and drivers. I will also look into a walk or run on Sunday, if anyone fancies that.

If you are planning to come, please let me know so I can keep you informed of arrangements. Family members/partners/friends welcome. I will put some flyers out on club nights asap.

All the best


Dorset Walk, 17th May 2014, 10.15am

This is a new walk, but one with a number of familiar features

Starting at the quarry car park above Kimmeridge (GR 918800) we will descend towards Kimmeridge Bay where we will turn west on the coast path into the Lulworth Ranges, past the Nodding Donkey (oil well) and out towards Broad Bench.

We ascend a hill (easy at first, gets steep!) to a bench where we will have our coffee break. We go along Gad Cliff and descend to Worbarrow Bay. Before us is the steep ascent to Rings Hill Iron Age hillfort on Flower Barrow where we will have our lunch break.

After our stop we turn east and take a familiar path along then down to Tyneham where, if time and/or inclination allows, we may make a short stop. We ascend to Gad Cliff where our path remains high as we walk along the ridge back to the quarry car park.

Distance: 9 miles. 3 good hills.
Bring refreshments for the lunch break.

Most of you know the quarry car park above Kimmeridge. If you are unsure, contact me for more details – e-mail: [email protected].

Pasta Party!

RRR London Marathon Runners 2014
RRR London Marathon Runners 2014

Romsey Road Runners gathered en masse to eat pasta and to wish this years participants in the London Marathon the very best of luck.

Over 50 club members gathered at the Sun Inn for copious amounts of pasta on Tuesday evening to assist fellow runners in  ‘carb’ loading in preparation for Sundays London Marathon.

Six RRR will be taking part; some seasoned vets, others for the first time; all looked in great shape and were well prepared. We wish them well and hope they have a good run on the day.

David Nixon once again provided the cleverly thought out questions to the Pasta Party Quiz which was won by the (brilliant) Fuzzy Duck team.

Christmas Report

Christmas Eve 2013
Christmas Eve 2013
With a lack of ‘formal races’ over the festive period, Romsey Runners took to the rural trails and paths locally to run off any excesses and stay fit.

Christmas Eve saw RRR head for the village of Mottisfont and scenic off road 5 mile circular route through the lands and grounds in the ownership of the National Trust. There were many flooded stretches of the route near to the River Test to deal with and amused farm animals gazed on with disbelief and runners waded past up to their knees in standing water. Warm mulled wine, hot tea and mince pies greeted runners on their return, thanks to social host, Alice Lane.

New Year's Day 2014
New Year’s Day 2014

A hardy bunch of runners turned up in the pouring rain for a second social run on New Year’s Day. This time, the run took place in the New Forest starting at Acres Down. It was a circular off road route using gravel forest tracks and was just long enough to feel smug about being out on New Years morning in the wind and rain, but short enough not to cause any real suffering. And if the excitement of the run wasn’t enough, the rain had caused surface waters to rise sufficiently to make getting through the ford and out onto the road impossible by car! Had it not been for a friendly local in Acres Down Farm Shop and guided access through the forestry commission land we might all still be there – so many thanks!

Results Roundup

Sunday 17th November saw the annual Gosport Half Marathon starting along Browndown Road, near to Bay House School, Gosport. A total of 1,700 runners circumnavigated the former HMS Daedaelus Airfield – not once but twice before being buffeted along the sea front at Lee on Solent for 2 miles before heading inland for the home straight along Portsmouth Road towards the finish.

The race has a reputation for delivering personal bests as it is flat as a dab; however, offshore sea breezes can always put pay just before runners turn inland for the final mile and a half. Romsey finishers were:- Christopher Stocks 1.40.06, Joanna Weguelin 1.48.13, Alison Soloman 2.02.33, June Bromyard 2.13.07, Lisa Ashdown 2.13.23 and Wendy Yelland 2.17.24.

Christopher Stocks also saw action on the 5th November, completing a 5km parkrun in 21.14 to secure a personal best.

Finally, Romsey Runners turned out in force at a social event on Friday 15th November at the annual awards evening, held at Ampfield Golf Club. Prizes and accolades were haled upon those displaying determination, talent and commitment to the club and fellow runners. Food, fun and a decent amount of dancing also took place.


  • Lynda Brown – Ladies’ Pentathlon
  • Hannah White – Romsey Road Runner of the Year
  • Di Cross – Veterans’ Pentathlon
  • Liz Slade – Chairman’s Award
  • Christopher Brown – Winter Cross Country
  • Paul Bradley – presented with a tankard, he is standing down after 6 years as the club chairman
  • Wayne Windebank – Men’s Pentathlon
  • Derek Jennings (on behalf of Neil Jennings) – Sally Sillence Trophy
  • Tamatha Ryan – Ladies’ RR10
  • Matt Hammerton – Men’s RR10

RRR Award Winners 2013
RRR Award Winners 2013

Awards Evening 2013

Awards 2012Kick off those trainers and peel off the Lycra, it’s nearly time to don dancing shoes and party gear for our Annual Awards Night. This year, we’ll be teeing-off at …Ampfield Golf and Country Club Winchester Road, Ampfield, Romsey SO51 9BQ, Friday 15 November at 7pm (for 7.30pm).

Ticket price will be £25 per person (partners welcome), which will include a three-course meal in the club’s restaurant. See the booking form for menu choices and the Social Events page for further details.

Pasta Party!

Pasta_Party_2012Join us for an evening of carb-loading and brain-teasing with our annual pasta party and quiz night in support of this year’s marathon runners. We will be hosting the feast on Tuesday 16 April 2013 at The Sun Inn. Look out for the booking slip in the March edition of Relay or speak to Karen or Di at club to book your place.

Two Thunder Run 24hr places up for grabs

The club have 2 teams entered for the 2013 Adidas Thunder Run 24-hour race at Catton Park on 27/28 July.  One 8-person team and one 5-person team – both mixed gender.

There are 2 spots available for the 8-person team, so if you are interested in taking on the challenge and joining a group of fellow club mates for a fun weekend in South Derbyshire then get in touch with Ian Ralph who can tell you more about it.

To give you a flavour of what you would be letting yourself in for:

  • The race takes place between midday Sat and midday Sun
  • Teams can be 6-8 people, 3-5 people, 2 people or soloists
  • Teams run continuously for 24-hours with one person on course at all times
  • The course is a 10k cross-country loop with a change-over station at the start/finish line
  • The cost is £32 for a place on the 8-person team (which includes camping)
  • Non-runners are welcome to come along to camp on-site at no additional cost
  • It’s a well organised event with good facilities on-site
Check out this YouTube video if you want to get a better idea of what it’s all about.

Weekend Away

Endurance_Life_Weekend_AwayThe RRR weekend away will be taking place on the May Bank Holiday weekend (25 – 27 May 2013) to coincide with the last event in the Endurance Life Coastal Trail Series 2012/13 – it is also their festival weekend.

There’s a choice of 10k, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances (category 3, strenuous), which take place on the Sunday. Continue reading

Awards Night 2012

Results roundup 181112Romsey Road Runners held their annual awards evening at the White Horse Hotel in Romsey. After an excellent meal, and before the disco, the awards were presented. Winners this year are Winter Cross Country – Anni Dawes and Mark Adams, RR10 – Amanda Hull and Matt Hammerton, Pentathlon – Amanda Hull and Ali Longworth, a new veterans pentathlon trophy was kindly donated by Greg Roulston and was won by Liz Slade, the Sally Sillence trophy for performance – Tamatha Ryan, club 5k Time Trial –David Nixon and the Chairman’s award went to David Page.

The prestigious Romsey Road Runner of the Year went to Heidi Godfrey. Heidi won by a landslide and accumulated more votes than all the other nominees put together, recognising the hard work that she puts into the club.