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 :- UKA, AAAE, SEAA, and HAA.

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 or interval training sessions led by one of our coaches. Sunday mornings are when people tend to head off on longer runs, typically from 7 to 12 miles. The current training schedule can be found here. 

For the runs, people get 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 comprised mostly of retirees and shift workers known as the ‘Mudlarks’ which meets every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:30 at Wilverley Plain. Groups 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:


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. 

From this small group of enthusiasts the club has grown into a large thriving organisation with about 400 members. In 1990 an annual Novices training course was added to the agenda to encourage non runners to start running, 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 to between 30 and 40 boys and girls aged from 10 to 17.

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. NFR club was one of the founder members, with Southampton Running club having the original idea. The Southampton  venue was 4.5 miles round Southampton Common. In 1987 the series became the RR8. Although still called the RRI0 series, there are now 12 clubs involved. 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.

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.

  Chairman Honorary President
2013 Tony Wickham Henry Szwinto
2014 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2015 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2016 Alistair Pickburn Henry Szwinto
2017   Micheal McCabe


Social Scene

The NFR club has always had a flourishing social calendar where many people have met their partners. Once the serious matter of running is over then the runners can really start to enjoy themselves. It is always good to see the non-running partners joining in our social events, which have always been very varied. A selection includes; barn dances, quizzes, Splash nights, barbecues, walks, cycling etc. 

And finally . . . . . . . . 

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.” 

It is obvious that the good intentions of the club are still being pursued.