Club History

Lordshill Road Runners: Southampton's Friendliest Running Club
The Club was founded in summer 1982 as the running boom followed the success of the first London Marathon in 1981 and the first Southampton Marathon in 1982. A small group of casual runners met for the first runs at the Lordshill Library, where the original Club Secretary was the librarian. The early runs were generally short but, as numbers and enthusiasm increased, the twice weekly sessions began spreading out to cover most areas of west Southampton and beyond.

The move to Oaklands as a Club base provided changing and shower facilities, as well as post-run refreshment which, for a number of years, included hot drinks and food as well as a bar.

The Club became a founder member of the Road Runners league, organising races for members of local clubs on 6 Wednesday evenings in the summer, and that league (now known as the RR10 league) has grown in stature to include 10 events with over 300 runners from a dozen clubs regularly taking part.

The Club also made a significant contribution to the Hampshire running calendar, organising the “Lordshill Ten”, a challenging 10 mile race which included some testing hills and has been regularly selected for the Hampshire County Championships as well as the Hampshire Road Race League. Problems with increased traffic and the withdrawal of Police support meant that a new course had to be found for the “Ten” and after much deliberation, negotiation and measuring, the new event appeared in 2007 and attracted a record entry in 2008.

To coincide with a Community activity week at Oaklands, the Club organised a 10k race and a children’s fun run on a Wednesday evening in June in the early 1990s and this race has also entered the race calendar, switching to the more conventional time of Sunday morning and regularly attracting over 300 entrants. Just to show that a relatively small club, with a lot of enthusiasm, can put many larger clubs to shame, Lordshill also organises one of the CC6, winter cross country events, in which many local clubs participate.

Although the membership of the Club is constantly changing, with some leaving the area, some succumbing to injury, some becoming disenchanted, others being attracted to running, aiming for sporting achievements or just wanting a social life with an active focus, numbers have hovered around the 80 mark, providing quite a close knit group. Most of the founder members have drifted away but there is a solid core of members dating from the mid 80s, with others who have joined more recently, which provides the backbone of the Club and from which much of the enthusiasm for trying different events around the country and, indeed, the world emanates.

Apart from regular trips to the London Marathon, the Snowdonia Marathon, Rhayader 20 miles, Hayling 10 and Stubbington Green 10k, groups of varying sizes have visited Paris, Rome, Berlin, Seville, Barcelona, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Florence, Medoc, Blaye, Turin, Caen and many other destinations, to run Marathons and shorter distances. It is on these trips that the social side of Lordshill Road Runners comes to the fore with the post race pains soon forgotten in sampling local food and drink and enjoying the local sights.

The Club has an increasingly structured coaching plan, encouraging new and old runners alike to improve their abilities and many total beginners have gone on to become leading local athletes. However, the accent has always been on encouraging everyone to take part and to enjoy running and then to enjoy some social activity afterwards.