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Beer Race Report 2023

Sunday, 4 June saw the return of Romsey Road Runner’s popular annual event, the Beer Race. As the name suggests, the runners are rewarded for their efforts on this scenic and undulating 5-mile route round the lanes of Braishfield village with a delicious pint of beer at the end, provided by local brewery Flack Manor. 

The very talented bakers of Romsey Road Runners cooked up a mouth-watering array of cakes and biscuits which also went down well. Up and Running kindly provided the spot prizes, and Giovanni Buldrini was on hand to administer post-race massages.

The men’s event was won by Chris Fawcett in a time of 26:52, and the female winner was Erin Williams in a time of 30:52.

The adult race was followed by the children’s fun run where 58 eager competitors took part. Once the competitive elements of the day were completed, the club settled down to enjoy a well-earned BBQ in the sunshine. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped to make the day so enjoyable and happy. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

A large group of runners stood outside a pub

Test Way Relay 2022

In years gone by, the Test Way, a long-distance footpath running from Inkpen Beacon in Berkshire to Eling Tide Mill in Hampshire loosely following the river Test, was the setting for an interclub running Relay event. It became so popular that parking at the handovers was a problem, and so eventually, the event was shelved. 

A large group of runners stood outside of a pub
Runners at the pub at the end of the event

Back in April this year when Romsey’s Matt Hammerton won the Test Way Ultra, the seed of an idea germinated in the brains of friends and fellow RRR members Karen Keane and Sue Stileman to reintroduce the event for Romsey Road Runners and so, last Saturday, the revamped Relay returned.

Three teams entered: The Test Ticklers (Karen Keane & Moira Sankey, Louise Holliday & Jane Jackson, Lin Winsor, Derek Kelly & Lin Webb, Charlie Brett, Dorota Koschmidder & Lauren Freestone, Liz Slade, Anna Duigan & Julia Abab); The Trail Trundlers (Alice Lane & Sue  Stileman with their dogs Jim and Poppy, Gemma Quarendon, James Byrne, Ray Webb, Steve Edwards, Matt Cheales, Lottie Budd & Ian Ralph, Duncan MacDonald) and the Test Icicles (Jonathan Pillinger Cork, Neil Jennings, Matt Hammerton, Mark Stileman, Hannah Shutt, David Morrison, Tim Parker and Ryan Snell).

The route was divided into eight legs of between 7-11k, and the finish was the Salmon Leap pub in Totton. This made a total distance of 44 miles. The starting times for the teams were staggered to get everyone to the pub for 5pm to avoid the high tide flooding the boards across the marsh. This meant the teams set off from Inkpen at 0845, 0930 and 1143 respectively. There were no marshals out on the route as the event was self-supported and some of those taking part elected to pair up and run their leg with a buddy. Everyone had done their homework and been out on various recce runs over the summer to make certain they knew their section well and wouldn’t get lost on the day and thankfully no one did. Volunteers from the club had been out the weekend before the event to cut back nettles and brambles from the later sections which were a little overgrown in places, so stings and scratches were also minimal!

As this was a relay, the teams each had a ‘baton’ – a rucsac – which was swapped between the runners at the handover points. It contained route maps, a charged mobile phone and the team first aid kit. By the end of the run the rucsacs were in a pretty unpleasant, sweaty condition. “Ripe” was the word most frequently used to describe them!

We were blessed with fantastic weather throughout the day, making perfect conditions for running, and everyone taking part thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the celebratory drink at the pub at the end. The only drama came at the end of the day when Ryan, the final runner for team Icicles, fell over in a bog on the marshes and lost a shoe in it. The shoe quickly disappeared from sight, and Ryan, ever the true professional, carried on running without it, covering the final kilometre with just the one shoe to finish just ahead of Ian and Duncan who were hot on his heels for the Trundlers.

The team times were as follows: Ticklers 7:44 hours; Trundlers 6:53 hours, Icicles 4:43 hours, so it was a great effort by everyone.

Also out on the course was Steve Geary, who set off from Inkpen Beacon at 8am to run the whole 44 miles (with a little help from Sue Sleath and James Battle) to finish at the pub with everyone else. A fantastic effort by Steve.

A toast was held for the Queen at the end of the event as a mark of respect at her passing, along with a “God Save The King” for King Charles III. 

More photos are available on our Photo Gallery

First RR10 at Broadlands

Competition between the running clubs of west Hampshire has found expression every summer since 1983 with the RR10 race league. The league, born out of the running boom of the 1980s, started with six member clubs and grew to encompass fourteen. It comprises a series of races held on Wednesday evenings during spring and summer at various locations across the region, with each race being hosted by a different club. The races are cross country, between 4-5 miles long, and are free to participating club members, provided they wear their club’s colours. Participants vary from the steady to the super-speedy and all paces are welcome.

The 2020 RR10 series was cancelled because of Covid, and the earlier races of the 2021 series went the same way, but as of July this year the series was up and running again, launching with a boiling hot race at Fleming Park in Eastleigh on July 21st. Romsey Road Runner’s Tom Bray won the men’s race, while the club’s Hannah Semeraro took an impressive tenth-place in the women’s.

Traditionally, Romsey Road Runners have hosted their RR10 in the New Forest, but due to concerns over disturbing ground-nesting birds it was decided to move the venue to Broadlands this year, and the inaugural event took place on July 28th. The club turned out in force to provide the necessary marshals, cake bakers, course set-up crew, finish line managers and sweepers, all of whom contributed to the race’s smooth running.

Nigel Hemsted, RR10 race director for Romsey, said:

we had a very successful run with no issues, and the runners almost managed to finish the cakes!

If you would like to take part in an RR10, please see romseyroadrunners.co.uk for information on club membership.

Couch to 5k: recap 2021

The popularity of running has soared during the pandemic. Part of the appeal is its simplicity – running doesn’t cost a fortune, you can do it anywhere and go at your own pace – but it can be hard to get started and harder still to keep going, especially on your own. Romsey Road Runners’ 2020 couch to 5k course (C25K) was cancelled because of the pandemic, but this year things looked more positive.

Run leader Steve Geary said:

‘over the last year we saw so many people out walking, running and riding their bikes during Lockdown. We wanted to keep that momentum and enthusiasm going.’

C25K, an NHS approved 9-week course that takes people from non-or lapsed runner to 5k runner is a tried and tested formula. This is the fourth year that Romsey Road Runners have hosted the course and it remains as popular as ever.

Run Leaders Steve, Moira and Dorota, supplemented by guest appearances from various members of RRR, were on hand to help the 25 men and women who signed up for the course, encouraging them to keep going on their Tuesday sessions as the running bits got longer and the walking bits shorter.

C25K course member Emma Peel explained her reasons for taking part.

‘I signed up for the course as I wanted to improve my fitness. I found the course structure helpful and the team and coach support amazing. I hope to carry on running as it has helped me meet people, enjoy the outdoors and I don’t want to go back to square one again! Thanks to the friendly people at Romsey Road Runners for organising this course.’

Another participant, Jane Bucke, said:

‘joining the C25K course was a leap of faith for me after a fear of exercise, however, since starting I have not looked back. The support you receive is second to none and you are among beginners like yourself. I took things at my own pace and made it my own personal challenge. The programme really does work and I have amazed myself at the level of fitness I have achieved in nine weeks. I have met some lovely people along the way and plan to continue running to maintain my fitness.’

Nats, another member, added:

‘I joined the programme as I needed to lose weight and increase my activity levels. I have tried to complete C25K on my own before and never succeeded. The support, encouragement, guidance and best practice tips shared by members of the coaching team of Romsey helped break those physical and mental barriers, increasing my self belief and helping me to achieve success in completing the course and running 5k.’

Last week was the final week of the course with the graduates completing a 5k run along the Test Way. Many of them are now going on to an ‘RRR Lite’ course which will prepare them to be full club members. Helen Bull is one of those. Having previously tried to do the C25K course on her own and struggled to complete it, she can now call herself a 5k runner. Helen said:

‘the encouragement and camaraderie of the group has kept my momentum going until the end. You can’t believe when you start that it is ever going to be achievable to run non-stop for 30 minutes, but the programme, along with the support of the fantastic team leaders, does actually work. I plan to continue running to maintain my fitness; I’ve even got to quite like it!’

Current Government guidelines is for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, per person, per week for good health. Running is a great way to get those minutes done. It improves your cardiovascular fitness and looks after your bone and muscle strength (particularly important for people over 40), and it helps with weight control. Romsey Road Runners offer two training sessions a week throughout the year catering for all speeds and levels of ability and we welcome new members. Please visit our website romseyroadrunners.co.uk for further information.

Couch to 5k celebrations


UPDATE: Training during COVID-19 restrictions is being limited.  Please refer to the club emails for updates.  We have a special risk assessment for post-COVID-19 training sessions, which is being updated regularly.  Click here to download the document.

In response to the current virus outbreak, England Athletics have advised all clubs to suspend all meetings until at least the end of April.

To read their statement in more detail, please click here.

As many of you know, we are insured by England Athletics so we will follow their advice which is driven by government guidelines. Our priority is to keep our members safe.

The first RR10 at Royal Victoria country has been cancelled for 22/4. No decision had been made yet if it will be postponed until a future date. I will try and communicate with you all as I find out further information. Hoping you and your families stay safe and well,

Karen, the committee and session leaders

For more club updates, please also keep checking our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/romseyrr/

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…

AGM Date Confirmed

Following the success of last year’s event, we will be repeating the format of a combined AGM, club awards presentation, skittles evening and meal.

This year it will be on Friday, 3rd November at Wellow Golf Club. Please put the date in your diary. Full details will be available in September.

New online kit store

You can now browse our range of kit, see what’s in stock, and place orders via the website!  We can now also accept payment online, as well as via cash/cheque in person.

Other latest kit news:

  • we have more hoodies just come in, which is good news if you were waiting for one in your size;
  • we are now stocking hi-vis hats and gloves;
  • we are about to get a new range of technical t-shirts, and so the v-neck t-shirts (mensand ladies‘) are on special offer at £10 each (limited sizes available).

If you have any questions, or suggestions for other kit, please get in touch,


ICE tags – essential kit

The club committee is strongly recommending that everyone carries emergency contact info with them whenever they run.

ICE (In Case of Emergency) tags are small printed cards that are printed with your name and an emergency contact number.  They can also detail any important medical conditions that you may have.

Even the best of us can slip or fall, near or far from home, and these tags could save your life – or at least ensure your loved ones can learn your fate quickly…!  And if you need any more convincing, ask Steve Cram.

We have teamed up with icetags.co.uk to offer you ICE tags at a very reasonable price, please see the kit store page for more details.

Looking forward to seeing all the inventive ways you can wear them ;-p


Club Handicap

This year’s race will be on Monday, September 5th. Although everyone can run in it, to be in the competition you have to have run at least one of this Summer’s four time trials (and therefore have a handicap time). The last T/T is on 22 August. The race will be a mass start.In the past the trophy has been won both by the first finisher and the last, so everyone has a chance.

Pasta Party!

We are pleased to announce that our annual Pasta Party (and quiz) has been booked for Tuesday 19th April 2016 at The Sun Inn (Winchester Road, Romsey SO51 7JG). All details can be found on the attached form and paper copies will be available at club sessions.

Do come along and support our London Marathon and Southampton Half Marathon entrants.  Social Secretaries Karen, Jackie and Liz look forward receiving completed forms along with payment on club nights between now and Tuesday 12th April  (cheques made payable to Romsey Road Runners).  Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

Pasta Party Flier 2016

Romsey 5 Results

The provisional results from the 2016 Romsey 5 have been published. Congratulations to Wendy Couper who was first in her age category, Brenda Topliss who was second in her age category and Mark Stileman who was third in his.

All RRR results:

27 Mark Stileman 00:29:16
42 Ian Ralph 00:30:31
62 Mark Adams 00:31:41
68 Tony King 00:31:57
101 Steve Geary 00:33:50
116 Paul Whitaker 00:34:42
130 John Quayle 00:35:18
209 Jane Carter 00:39:22
279 Brenda Topliss 00:41:43
320 Anna Duignan 00:43:13
321 Neil Payne 00:43:16
388 Julie Shanker 00:46:37
391 Deborah Rees 00:46:39
423 Nicola Skeats 00:47:58
452 Bridget Wells 00:49:08
541 Wendy Couper 00:57:14

Results Round Up – 15/12/15

Awards Night 2015
Awards Night 2015

Romsey Road Runners’ Annual Awards Night dinner was recently held at Ampfield Golf & Country Club and was a lively affair, with more than 40 ­members turning up to congratulate this year’s top performers. Following a three-course meal, Chairman Tony King presented the winners with their trophies, plus an engraved tankard as a keepsake. In addition to the regular awards, a special award went to Wendy Couper for her category win in the 2015 RR10 series. Keith and Lesley Stone were winners of the Chairman’s Award for their role in establishing the club 30 years ago this year, receiving customised running jackets to accompany the trophy and Penny Jennings also received a special award for having run the most ever RR10s (an impressive 172). Penny also won the Chocolate Trainer Award, for having lost a record number of shoes whilst racing!


  • Best club runner in CC6s (Men): Neil Jennings
  • Best club runner in CC6s (Women): Tam Ryan
  • Best club runner in RR10s (Men): Neil Jennings
  • Best club runner in RR10s (Women): Becky Tovey
  • Special Award: Winner of RR10 FV70 category: Wendy Couper
  • Special Award: Most RR10s Ever Run: Penny Jennings (172)
  • Club Time Trial Champion: Vicky Pelling
  • Men’s Pentathlon: Ian Ralph
  • Women’s Pentathlon: Tam Ryan
  • Vets’ Pentathlon ‘G’ Cup: Paul Burnage
  • Chairman’s Award: Club founders Keith and Lesley Stone
  • Sally Sillence Award: Julie Shanker
  • Road Runner of the Year: Becky Tovey
  • Special award for racing with one shoe: Penny Jennings

In addition to socialising, a number of RRRs have been in action in recent weeks. On 29th November James Battle (1:29:51), Kelly Fairbrother (1:47:55 PB) and Alice Lane (1:55:09 PB) took part in a hilly, wet and windy Downton Half Marathon.

6th December saw the Dorset leg of the Endurance Life series with Tamatha Ryan (5:13:27) finishing 1st in her age category and 4th lady overall, Stuart Leishman (6:06:15 PB) and Becky Tovey (6:11:32) completing the 27 mile marathon. Marie Duignan completed the 16.3 mile “Half Marathon” in 3:39:14. Finally Anna Duignan (1:25:11) and Wendy Couper (1:40:58) completed the 10k.

Well done to all.

Urgent Message from the Chairman

As you know we usually have two London Marathon places each year. The number of places is based on the number of members the club has. More than 50 members entitles us to two places. Unfortunately we didn’t realise it was the number of people affiilated to England Athletics rather than the number of members in the club that counts towards the number used when allocating marathon places. Due to the EA membership price rising to £10 we have seen those opting in to affiliating with EA drop from nearly all members to only 39 this year. This has put us in the awkward position of only having one marathon place after having drawn for two places at the AGM.

The RRR committee met last night and decided that we would appeal to club members to see if anyone would voluntarily agree to sign up to England Athletics and pay the £10. We need 11 members willing to join, and we need to do it before the 5th December(Webmaster’s note. For those joining, the affiliation would run to 31st March 2015)

If you haven’t affiliated and would be willing to do so within the next two days please email me at [email protected].uk.


Results Round Up – 13/5/14

RR10 Race 2, 2014
RR10 Race 2, 2014

The second evening RR10 took place on Wednesday 7th May at Stoney Cross, in the New Forest. Romsey Runners were well represented. The route started as a pleasant downhill with runners setting off at a fast pace before encountering mud and water at the bottom and a returning incline back towards the start!

The Romsey Men consisted of three teams finishing 4th, 8th and 26th. The B team were actually the “second of the B teams” and were ahead of the A teams of some other clubs which is a tremendous performance.

The Romsey Women went one better than last time out to field five teams finishing 7th, 14th, 18th, 32nd & 44th respectively.

Male finishers: 2nd Matt Hammerton, 24th Mark Stileman,  26th Chris Brown, 27th Tony Burrows, 31st Andrew Proctor, 33rd Ian Ralph, 39th Jimmy Hunt, 44th Neil Jennings, 47th Duncan Dickinson, 62nd Tony King, 90th Steve Reed, 127th Peter Hartley, 130th John Quayle, 141st Andrew Archibald, 188th Richard Vie, 198th David Nixon and 200th Derek Kelly.

Wherwell 10k 2014
Wherwell 10k 2014

Women finishers: 13th Tam Ryan, 24th Becky Tovey, 28th Hannah Hunt,  31st Rebecca Mariner, 37th Jo Weguelin, 46th Penny Jennings, 52nd Alice Lane, 55th Julia Abab, 58th Di Cross, 80th Liz Slade, 104th Naomi Farrington, 106th Anna Duignan, 125th  Linda Webb, 128th Deborah Rees, 134th Julie Shanker and 147th Wendy Couper.

The weekend saw 9 RRRs running in the Harewood Forest 10K, starting and finishing at Wherwell, in the heart of the Test Valley.  Cool, windy conditions with only a small amount of mud, made for a very pleasant race off-road event with lots of beautiful scenery including some patches of Bluebells still at their peak!

Position Time
74 00:58:48 Julia Abab
79 01:00:31 Tony Peelo
83 01:01:55 Liz Slade
98 01:05:07 Anna Duignan
106 01:07:07 Derek Kelly
118 01:09:53 Julie Shanker
119 01:09:56 Karen Keane
120 01:10:03 Ruth Page
129 01:17:59 Wendy Couper