Who are we?

Karen Thompson

Chairperson, RunLeader and Mental Health Ambassador

Karen Thompson

Karen started jogging/running in 2008 after joining a local kickboxing club to improve her fitness. During the last 5 years she has achieved a black belt in kickboxing, taken part in many races including 5k, 10k, half marathons and even a challenging, yet enjoyable extreme challenge, her biggest achievement to date is completing the Virgin London Marathon 2012 for charity Team PB.

A qualified gym instructor and currently studying a diploma in personal training she joined local running group BADGERS in June 2012 and is now Club Treasurer. Enjoying her role at the BADGERS so much, Karen has just completed the Leadership in Running Fitness Course so she can spend more even more time with us. Karen lives locally with her 2 children, wife Jo, 2 lazy doggies and four legged running partner Tia :-)





Serena Baker

Honorary Secretary

Karen Thompson

Serena started running in 2011 to lose a bit of weight with the NHS 'Couch to 5k' podcast. Her friend started Baby BADGERS and through her recommendation she joined BADGERS in early 2012.

Serena said "I loved BADGERS as soon as I started". Since joining in 2012 she has competed in many races and lots of distances, but the most memorable for her was her first marathon. She achieved a sub-4 hour marathon and managed to raise in excess of £2000 for Breast Cancer Care.

Serena has gone form strength to strength, in 2013 she picked up the prestigious 'BADGER of the Year' award and in 2015 she received 'Ladies Cross country Runner of the Year'

She currently has 4 marathons planned for 2016. This year she is working on trying to improve her speed and would like to attempt her second duathlon.






Jared Karim

Club Treasurer and RunLeader

Jared Karim

After the global financial crisis of 2008, Bank worker Jared needed to do something drastic to improve his popularity. He quickly found work as a stunt double for Sacha Baron-Cohen in the critically acclaimed Borat movie and then again in the follow up Bruno. But when the latter was poorly received in the film press, the acting work dried up and plucky Karim, 40, decided to try his hand at running.

With his trusty ability to operate a calculator, the Treasurer’s role was a perfect fit at his local club, BADGERS and the happy go lucky Baxterley boy has settled in famously since joining. He is also the club’s “go-to” man for items of equipment and miscellaneous sporting accessories. He specialises in the procurement and re-distribution of watches and DVD’s.






Angela Stallings

Membership Secretary

Angela Stallings

Growing up and through college, Angela played tennis. Unfortunately running was always used as punishment and she hated it- with a passion.

As life brings surprises, she began running to help reduce the stress of teaching at a new school! Surprisingly she started loving it and found great friends. Angela was happy to become part of the Clayton Area Runners.

A favourable memory from CAR was the Tuna 200 Team Relay. "What a blast you can have in a van waiting your turn to get out and run!"

The most joy she have ever experienced running was Mother's Day 2013. Angela's 2 boys ran the final 50 yards of the Clayton 5k with her!

She started running with BADGERS on her move to England. Moving to a new country can be a bit overwhelming. However, she at least had a common bond with total strangers that she now call mates. Through training with BADGERS, she is pleased to be an overall stronger runner, lowering her half marathon time and working towards another marathon.

"I will always be grateful to BADGERS who have helped me improve my running and have embraced me for who I am."






Clare Whetton

Social & Welfare Officer and RunLeader

Clare Whetton

Glamourous Clare turned to running after becoming banned from her local boxing club for jabbering on too much. The talkative salon owner won all three of her bouts as an amateur simply by gossiping her opponents into submission.

The 35 year old lives in Atherstone and owns a very successful beauty salon in the centre of town. Bizarrely, Clare first found out about the club from one of her clients - former BADGER Jim Boffin was undergoing his usual back, sack and crack wax and told her about the benefits of joining a running club.

Since becoming part of BADGERS, Claire has run half- marathons and was unanimously voted Chatterbox of the Year 2015.






Chris Horton

Publicity & Marketing Officer and RunLeader

Chris Horton

Chris ran quite a lot at school but never kept it up opting to play cricket, rugby, football, hockey and darts instead.

In 2002, via work, Chris took advantage of a London Marathon charity place and ran 3h38m off just three training runs, 4, 5 and the longest 12, miles! Chris didn't run again until 2011 when he again participated, for charity, in the London Marathon. This time he trained properly yet ran two minutes slower than before!

The following year Chris decided to take his running a bit more seriously and joined BADGERS in late 2012 after recovering from a long-standing football injury. It was Serena Baker who convinced him it would be a good idea!

Chris's most proud achievement in running probably came in 2013 when he finished 221st in the Chester Marathon from around 3,000 runners. "I surpassed my expectations massively and felt that all the effort I had put into my training had paid off giving me a time of 3:12." That said, Chris has been lucky enough to actually win a race - the Coombe Abbey 10k and in February 2014 became the first BADGER to finish first at our home KWP parkrun, "I cannot deny that's a nice feeling too!"

At BADGERS, Chris is well known for two things, being late and being funny. He's a multi time winner of the 'Late BADGER' award and has also picked up the 'Humorous BADGER' award.

Chris's running goals for the future are to try and be the best he can be, help others to improve and get pleasure from running, and run a sub 5 minute mile along with a sub 3 hour marathon.






Danny Warren

Website Administrator

Danny Warren

Danny got the running bug at an early age while still at primary school, he competed from the age of 10 until he left school in 2002 at the age of 16. During this time he represented both his school and county at numerous cross country and athletics events all over the country.

Having taken a break from running Danny returned briefly in 2009 to train for the Edinburgh Marathon, however this was cut short due to an injury.

After volunteering at the Olympic Games in London 2012, Danny felt it was about time he made a return to running. Danny joined the BADGERS in February 2013, quickly regaining his previous fitness and running ability. In his first year at BADGERS he seen his 5k time reduce by almost 5 minutes.

Danny works for Jaguar Land Rover and in 2013 resented them at the UK Corporate Games in both the 5k and 1 Mile Relay Team. Finishing 4th in the 5k and the team taking silver in the relay.

Danny had a remarkable 2014/15 season with BADGERS, which was topped of by winning a plethora of awards at the Annual Awards Evening. These included 'BADGER of the Year', 'Runners BADGER of the year', 'Most Committed BADGER', and both 'Male Road Runner of the Year' and Male Cross Country Runner of the Year'.

At the 2016 awards Danny was again awarded 'Runners BADGER of the year'. "I've very happy to receive this award for the 2nd year running, It's the one that means the most to me as it's voted for by the club members"

In 2017 Danny is working on his speed work and is targeting sub 17 minutes for 5k and a sub 1:20 HM!






David Bailey

Merchandise Manager

David Bailey

Dave took early retirement in Aug 2015 and being 15st 8lbs decided to get fit and thought He’d take up running. So he put on his shorts and went out for a run making it only to get to the end of the drive and thought “I can’t do this”. Over the next few months to December he lost 2st 8lbs due to change of diet and a lot of walking.

In January 2016 he decided to try running again, this time by joining the Beginner BADGER Programme as he had heard positive comments about BADGERS. However at the time he didn’t think he would ever complete the full 12 weeks. “The support advice guidance I received from the RunLeaders was outstanding in a friendly environment where members made me welcome and were willing to help”. Needless to say he completed the 12 weeks and did his first ever 5k run in March 2016 and has gone on to completed a further two 10k runs in 2016. “Thank you BADGERS”. Dave hopes to do his first half marathon before Aug 2017, so he can say “I did my first at the age of 60”. 

Don’t forget, “Get your BADGERS kit off……..Dave”.

 




Nivette Chester

Founder and RunLeader

Nivette Chester

Having not run since taking part in the school cross country some 20 years ago Nivette returned to running to improve her general health and fitness. Taking part in her first organised run in 2007, Nivette completed the Race for Life, a 5k charity run in just over 25 minutes.

Bitten by the "Running Bug" Nivette has now completed in excess of ten marathons with a PB of 3:27:52, numerous half marathon, 10 and 5 km events and parkruns. Nivette completed her first Ultra Marathon in December 2012, running 46.2 miles. Nivette has gone onto to complete the inaugural Race to the Stones, a 100km race in June 2013 and the Transalpine Race - crossing four countries in eight days covering 260 km, ascending and descending a massive 15,000 metres. It has been a great couple of years, having reached the dizzy heights of forty-something, Nivette is now considered 'good for age' and her collection of trophies and medals may well need a cabinet!

Wanting to share her passion for running and having supported a number of friends to achieve personal running achievements Nivette decided to complete the Leadership in Running Fitness and set up a recreational running group for the local community. With the support of her husband, son and some loyal friends BADGERS Run England was formed. The group has grown beyond all expectation and is the BADGERS you see today.






Adie "BADGER" Kirkham

RunLeader

Adie Kirkham

Adie completed the Leadership in Running Fitness course during November 2012. Teetering in his early forties Adie joined the BADGERS to improve his running technique and fitness levels.

It is perhaps fate that Adie joined the group and became a RunLeader, with a nickname BADGER due to his greying hair, he is an asset to the group, providing support, knowledge and loads of energy.

Starting running can be a challenge and during his first ever two mile run around Atherstone and Mancetter, Adie stopped six times! Since that first run, Adie has to date completed 57 marathons on his was to the 100 Marathon club, raising in excess of £10,000 over the last six years for various charities.

Joining BADGERS has resulted in improved race times over a range of distances. Adie has demonstrated a willingness to help any BADGER in any way he can and will join them for additional training either during the week or at weekends.

Adie was the very first winner of the famous 'BADGER of the year' award in 2012 and in 2014 while well on his way to his 100 marathon goal picked up the 'Mile Master' award.






Stephanie White

​RunLeader

Stephiane White

Steph completed the Leadership in Running Fitness course in May 2013. Completing her first half marathon in 2008 in Birmingham, Steph has continued running with her partner Mike and joined the BADGERS in 2012 where she has since completed a range distances from 5k to full marathon.

As an extra challenge Steph also competes at many of the local duathlons and triathlons. She loves the buzz running gives her and becoming a RunLeader she hopes to give that “buzz” to others either as a social runner or competitive runner like herself.

Steph’s other past time is riding her ex-racehorse Cruise, she lives in Tamworth with her partner Mike and works for HRG UK as a fares analyst.

In 2014 Steph was the deserved winner of both 'BADGER of the Year' and 'Runners BADGER of the year'.






Martyn Barrett

RunLeader

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Martyn joined our RunLeader team in May 2013, our number one BADGER promoter and infamous for his 'bum wiggle'.

Martyn is one of the oldest runners in BADGERS and was one of the first to join in 2011, when there were three or four people running round Baddesley Rec with Nivette.

Running since he was 5 years old and winning the school sprints, Martyn's role as RunLeader often involves losing some of his group due to his hopeless map reading skills! He hopes that by turning out personal bests at 5k, 10k and half marathons in his fifties he can be inspirational for the up and coming youngsters.

Martyn tries to inject a bit of humour into his sessions which can take the mind off the pain. His biggest achievement was to coax his wife Liz into running and although she still protests. If he can persuade daughter Ellie and son Ollie the whole family will be BADGERS.






Pete Wells

RunLeader

Pete Wells

Pete first started walking/running back in 2006 as part of a weight loss regime, in 2008 he completed his first half Marathon in Birmingham, which was and still is his proudest running achievement to date.

He was a member of Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club, but after moving to Tamworth he joined BADGERS in 2012.

Pete's current aim is to complete Birmingham Half Marathon for the fourth time in October 2014 and in April 2015 to complete his second full marathon in Brighton.






Judy Parkes

RunLeader

Judy Parkes

In January 2014 Judy saw a facebook post from one of our members for the Beginner BADGERS 0-5k Programme.

As a mum of two boys she had spent the last 14 or so years taking them swimming, cricket, football and rugby training - being a general taxi and supporter. As the boys became more independent it has given her more free time and she decided to give the Beginner BADGERS 0-5k Programme a go.

People told her that the hardest part would be getting to the first session. "I am so glad I took that step. I won’t lie, I found every week difficult. I made a commitment to go to every single session of the 12 week course and it was the best decision I ever made. I have made some great friends through BADGERS and this is the longest that I have kept up activity since the school netball team."

Judy was asked to be a RunLeader in 2016 "I was flabbergasted when I was asked if I would train as a Runleader. I didn’t think I was fast enough or good enough at running up hills but I realised that it's not always about that. I can encourage others starting out and can genuinely say to them on the Beginner BADGERS course that if I can do it, so can you."






Alan Argyle

RunLeader

Alan Argyle

As someone, who for many years, said “I can’t run”, Alan started running at the age of 59 in 2012 after “discovering” parkrun. The first weeks/months were tough but as they got easier he felt the need to join a club try improve further. After considering a couple of local clubs he favoured the Badgers although the club was further away - the club members being the deciding factor.

However, hard the running feels, Alan constantly sets new personal challenges in trying and run faster or longer. He ran 7 half marathons in 2015 and his first marathon in 2016. More marathons are planned for the future.

Alan was delighted to be asked to be a RunLeader in 2016 and takes great pleasure in helping and encouraging members in their endeavours. He is also willing to help pace runners to achieve target race times, if it is within his ability.

Alan‘s proudest moment was when he was voted Badger of the Year by the Management Committee and Badger Role Model by the members in 2016.

Alan’s mantra is “Never say never”. He is convinced that if a goal is set, commitment given, success can be achieved. He loves to hear of other people’s success – especially when it’s followed by…..”and I never thought I could do that!”






Mark Williams

RunLeader

Mark Williams

For years Mark adamantly stated “I can’t run, won’t run, I’m a cyclist”. Yet now he calls himself both a cyclist and runner. Mark was prompted through need rather than desire to begin running due to a fitness test for a military reservist role. A friend had told him about BADGERS and that they were a friendly group and could help him. So Mark joined the Beginners BADGER Programme. “I was right about one thing, I can’t run. Or at least I couldn’t back then!”

Mark completed his Beginner BADGER 5k at parkrun and shortly after successfully completed his fitness test that he had trained hard for! This was the moment that running changed for Mark. “I had no need to come to training anymore, no need to run anymore. However, this would mean I would no longer see all of the people I had been running alongside, supporting, cheering, (drinking!) and having such a great community spirit with at BADGERS and I wasn’t ready to give that up” With the pressure off, and now running for fun the pb’s started coming thick and fast and exactly 1 year to the day Mark completed his first half marathon in a very respectable time. Marks proudest moment and the point at which he began calling himself a runner was collecting an award voted for by his fellow runners for the best newcomer. This was then closely followed by being asked if I would like to train to be a RunLeader and help others.

Marks future goals are to convince others to come and take part, to push themselves and try out new events. His saying always being “If I can run and do it, anyone can!” This year Mark will be taking part in more Duathlon’s, taking on the very challenging man vs mountain (22 miles up and over Snowdon) along with some mud runs. At some point he is hoping to break the golden number of going around his local parkrun 5k in any time under 20 minutes.






Eamon Thawley

RunLeader

Eamon Thawley

Eamon by day is a Construction plant trainer & tester, plant operator and Health and Safety advisor in the past he has been an auditor.

As for running Eamon started the Beginner BADGERS programme on 30th April 2014 and completing his first parkrun on the 5th June 2014. He quickly followed that up by then running his first 10k on the 31st August 2014. Which also was the first BADGERS Atherstone 10k. Eamon progressed onto the cross country league in the early part of 2015. Since then he has done various parkruns across the country and a number of other 10k runs.

It was in the autumn of 2015 when Eamon took the next step in his running journey, completing his first half marathon at Tissington, this was quickly followed up just 2 weeks later by completing the rather challenging Birmingham Half Marathon. Since then he has ran 4 more half marathons, one of which was in the Wyre Forrest. One of Eamon’s toughest challenges to date but also most enjoyable was being part of teams running the 12 hour Lightning Run and the 24 hour Thunder Run.

Eamon is enjoying his running and already has several runs booked up for 2017.

“Overall I’m very happy to have joined BADGERS. I have gained in confidence through the support from the other BADGERS irrespective of the group they run in.






Leesa Dennis

RunLeader

Leesa Dennis

Leesa lives locally in Atherstone and has worked as a chiropodist for 25 years so understands the importance of foot health for the 'runner'.

In July 2014, after been recommended to try the BADGERS beginner 0-5k programme by a fellow BADGER, Chris 'steam train ' Horton, Leesa decided to give it a whirl in a bid to get a 'bit fitter', aid an 8 stone weight loss, and put a tick against one of her life's bucket list - to run a 5k. Thinking after 12 weeks that would be that, not realising how much she would enjoy running (able to eat cake, and not put weight on!!) and being part of the BADGER family so decided to continue her running journey.

In her first year of running she managed to achieve 10 pb's on the trot at parkrun and was voted beginner BADGER of the year 2014-15 season.
Leesa was honoured to be asked if she would consider completing the Leadership in running fitness course in 2016 and successfully achieved this in the summer enabling her to assist at training sessions.
Leesa has completed several half marathons and is aiming to complete Ashby 20 in the spring of 2017.






Adrian Payne

RunLeader and Men's Captain

Adrian Payne

Adrian's running fairy tale began back in the summer of 2013. Seeing himself as a wannabe action man he was duped by friends into entering The Spartan Race OCR in September of that year. Hoping that it would count as some sort of training he began running around the local woodlands and roads. The race experience that followed got him hooked on running, "I wanted more".

During the remainder of 2013 and 2014 Adrian entered several more OCR’s around the country and began annoying facebook friends every month with hundreds of sweaty, muddy, heroic racing pictures. One memorable race for him was beating 2 BADGERS (Carl Holyoak and Mark Stokes), in a race around Merevale Estate. Thinking to himself "I'm not going to let these soft, puddle dodging road runners beat me".

It was November 2014 that I was lured into joining the BADGERS by international DJ Carl Holyoak after he told Adrian about the XC races and training they do. By the end of November he was a fully signed up BADGERS member and the rest is history.

His proudest running moments since his journey began has been completing the 22 mile Man Vs Mountain race to the peak of Snowdon and back down which he completed in 4 hours. Along with running in the 2015 OCR World Championships in America as part of a group of runners from the UK.

Looking deeply in the crystal ball of running his future plans are "To overcome injury, train hard and become as fast as I can, before getting injured and having to start again."

In the words of Forest Gump "I just felt like running".






Rachael Bunting

RunLeader and Ladies Captain

Rachael Bunting

Ladies Captain Rachael got into running after seeing her boyfriend Danny becoming prolific at it, then she got really good too. She holds the record for the most consecutive personal bests when she ran for a 14 month period and improving in every single race she competed in. Her running highlight came when she scooped the top female in the Leicester Summer Series in 2015.

Many people do not realise that Rachael is actually 39 years old. She attributes the fact she looks ten years younger to her abundant usage of “Forever living” beauty products which have helped the former model retain her good looks.

Famed for her unique high arm action on finishing sprints, Bunting gained notoriety last year when she casually helped herself to a bottle of wine at a post-race presentation ceremony, despite the award being for top men’s team! Bunting quickly downed the evidence in just three glugs before tossing the empty bottle into some urine-soaked stinging nettles to avoid being apprehended.






David Jackson

Men's Vice-Captain

David Jackson

At school Dave was an above average footballer and played it obsessively, however what he likes about running is you can't blame your team mates, when you cross the finish line your performance is down to you and how you have trained.

Dave runs a lot! He joined BADGERS in 2014 and immediately in his first season he picked up the ‘Mile Master’ award for running a crazy 2567.46 miles. He’s extremely over competitive (like all tiny men) and loves to compete in the league races. Dave won’t be happy until the BADGERS is an independent country with an Olympic team.

Dave lives for family/running and work in that order. He believe he can improve his running until he’s 50 and beyond, and at the same time still be just as annoying with his competitiveness.

Dave’s goals for this year are to ensure he’s 100% for target races by “listening to my body” and peaking at the right time. By doing this he hopes to PB at every distance. Dave would also like to see the BADGERS consolidate their league positions and push for promotion the following year.

“It gives me huge pleasure to see a BADGER team mate train well and hit PB's and targets, when you do hit that target I expect big celebrations! You've worked hard for it and PB’s are made especially harder to achieve the longer you run, so enjoy them!”

Most of all though Dave loves the camaraderie on race day, “That feeling when you're coming down the home straight and hear the ‘BADGER ROAR!”

Final words from Dave - “I love BADGERS for the friends I've made and the good times I've enjoyed. Being vice-captain I want to encourage more people to attend the league races, so more people can enjoy the positivity they bring. If everyone did a third of the league races a year we would have above 30 at each race (I think, maths a bit average), not everyone will be scoring points but it’s not all about that. I guarantee wearing the vest in a competitive race will bring out the best in you and get you your standard times. KEEP ACHIEVING BADGERS!!”






Claire Fielding

Ladies Vice-Captain

Claire Fielding

Claire first started running when I was 8 and joined the local athletics club after winning races at school sports day. Over the years she developed a love for hurdles and was Midlands champion for both 100 and 400 meter hurdles for a couple of years running. Unfortunately after a long injury and living the student lifestyle she stopped running and took up drinking at the sports and social nights!!

In 2009 Claire decided she wanted to get fit so entered the Birmingham Half Marathon. She did her first training run round Warton a whole 1.8 miles and “It felt awful, but I'd paid for the race so had to carry on with the crazy plan”. She went on to finish the Birmingham Half in 2h12m and enjoyed it so much she joined another local club for a couple of years. However after seeing the BADGERS at a few local events and coming to her senses she decided to join half way through 2013, “I’ve loved it ever since”. She’s taken part in both the cross country and road league races and looks forward to helping more ladies experience the BADGER Roar!

Claire’s biggest ambition was to run the London Marathon before turning 30 and was luckily enough to have the chance with a ballot place just 4 days before she turned the big 30 in 2015. “I can't put into words the emotional roller coaster I felt throughout the day but it was worth all the training to cross both the start and finish line”.

Although she loved the London Marathon experience she’s currently not interested in completing another marathon and so is now wanting to concentrate on achieving new PB’s at 5k, 10k and possibly break the 2 hour half marathon barrier in the future. She’s also looking to dabble in a few more triathlons this coming year to see if her swimming lessons have paid off!