Here you can find out who is involved in running BADGERS.
Put a face to a name and learn a little about them.
Chairperson, Lifetime Member and Coach
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.
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 represented 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 first full season in 2014/15 with BADGERS, which was topped of by collecting five awards at the clubs Annual Awards Evening. Danny has continued to receive club awards and has now been awarded 'BADGER of the Year', 'Runners BADGER of the year' (X2), 'Most Committed BADGER' (X3), and both 'Male Road Runner of the Year' and Male Cross Country Runner of the Year'.
He has been a key part of the mens teams success, being a vital points scorer in the teams that won the LRRL Div 2 (2017), Div 1 (2018) Div 1 (2019) and DRXC Div 2 (2016/17), Div 1 (2017/18) and Div 1 (2018/19). As well as team success Danny picked up individual awards in the LRRL and DRCX.
Danny completed his Coaching in Running Fitness course in early 2018, in order to help other to achieve their goals. Later that year he went on to become the first club member to win the BADGERS Atherstone 10k.
In 2019 Danny was awarded lifetime membership to the club, only the second person the receive this honour. "I'm extremely honoured to be given lifetime membership, I guess this means there is no getting rid of me now!"
Danny now has a new challenge, not only has he become a parent for the first time but he has now taken over as club chair.
Honorary Secretary and Run Leader
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 Run Leader in 2016 "I was flabbergasted when I was asked if I would train as a Run Leader. 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."
In 2020 Judy became Honorary Secretary and has become an integral part of the club.
Rob got into running by accident. Initially it was only to supplement other training for Triathlons and Cycling events. He then completed his first 10K in March 2013 and gradually increased his training and participation, completing his first Half Marathon in October 2014, a few months after his eldest son James, was born.
As he upped his training he became aware of the inaugural BA10k in his home town of Atherstone. He knew members Aaron and Adrian from school/football, and eventually in late 2015 started training with the BADGERS before becoming a full member in early 2016. He wanted to train with people after years of running and training individually and not seeing any progression is his performances.
Completing the London Marathon will always be special to Rob. It was an achievement, and although the heat took its toll he was happy to come in under 4 hours. The knock-on effect from the marathon allowed him to continue setting new personal standards, achieving a Silver Standard award for that season and then unexpectedly running his best Half Marathon in Birmingham 2018.
For Rob, watching and running with his son James over the last year has allowed him to encourage and appreciate running again and take time to enjoy running whilst training well. Watching his son at Park runs and School XCs makes him proud to see how his running has hopefully had a positive influence on him.
In the future Rob hopes to return to the level of training and ability that he achieved during his maiden marathon journey. He aims to go under 1hour 30mins for a half marathon as well as continue to represent the club in as many league races as possible.
Social & Welfare Officer and Coach
After completing her brown belt at kickboxing, Clare decided she wanted to get fitter and saw running as the best solution. She struggled to get very far on her own, so she signed up to the BADGERS Beginners programme back in January 2013. "Since then I haven’t looked back."
She completed the 5K beginner programme and before long she was running 10K races and later half marathons. In 2017 she took the next step and signed up for the Ashby 20, she has since completed it every. In 2019 Clare completed her biggest ever challenge by running London Marathon for Muscular Dystrophy and raising £3000 in memory of my Auntie Jackie.
As well as developing to become a run-leader and now coach, Clare has also undertaken the role of Social and Welfare Officer for the club. "I love the social side of the club and have helped organise a variety of events including birthday celebrations, football matches, quiz nights, overseas tours, presentation evenings and Christmas do’s amongst others."
Due to her networking abilities, Clare has been honoured to receive the “Chatterbox” award three years running at our end of season awards.
Membership Secretary and Run Leader
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. In 2020 she became the clubs Membership Secretary
To date Leesa’s running journey includes completing the Virgin London Marathon 2019, something that she never thought possible and raised a large amount of money for the Mary Ann Hospice in the process.
Publicity & Marketing Officer and Coach
Chris ran a bit at school earning county trials at 100m and 1500m but never kept it up opting to play cricket, rugby, football, hockey and latterly darts instead.
In 2002, via work, Chris took advantage of a London Marathon charity place and naively ran 3:38 off minimal training. Chris didn't run again until 2011 when he participated once more, 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 an old school friend, Serena Baker, who convinced him it would be a good idea. Since then he has become one of the club’s run-leaders and became a coach in 2018. He fell into the role of Publicity Officer in 2015 when he pipped Adie Kirkham by just one vote at the AGM to build on the good work established by predecessor Stephanie White.
Since joining BADGERS, Chris has been a mainstay of the Leicestershire Road Running League winning men’s teams, even into his mid-forties and became the first club member to take an outright individual honour when he picked up the award for the top V40 athlete in 2019. In 2017 he achieved a lifelong personal goal to run a sub three-hour marathon with his time of 2:55:57 in Berlin and still holds the club mile record at 4:52 set aged 43! He is still the only club member to have attained the highest level of club Standard Times (in 2018 and 2019) and currently holds the all-time club wava record of 83.32% set at Kingsbury parkrun. He has been fortunate to have won a handful of races in his career as well as a host of age grade prizes. In 2017 he won the coveted Badger of the Year award.
His running goals for the future include to still be competitive for the club and scoring points at league events as well as maintaining his streak of always finishing in the top ten at parkrun, a record that stood at 155 at the time of writing. That and the never-ending quest for personal bests and Strava segments!
Website Administrator and Run Leader
After a failed football career in the NDSFL, Adrian began running to pass the Territorial Army fitness test in 2013. For training he began running around the local woodlands and roads where he lives in Baddesley Ensor. He was then convinced by friends into entering the Spartan OCR Race in September of that year. The race experience that followed got him hooked on running.
During the remainder of 2013 and during 2014, Adrian entered several more OCR’s around the country and began annoying facebook friends every month with hundreds of sweaty and muddy racing pictures. One memorable race for him was beating 2 senior BADGERS, Carl Holyoak and Mark Stokes, in an OCR race around Merevale Estate.
It was in November 2014 that he was lured into joining the BADGERS by the then Mens Captain and international DJ Carl Holyoak. By the end of November, he was a member of the BADGERS family. Since joining the club Adrian has gone on to become the Men’s team Captain for 3 years running and a qualified run leader.
Adrian has now run events in America, and Europe, from 5km to 24hr Endurance events. His proudest running moment has been winning the Continental 24hour race within a team of 7 BADGERS in 2018, setting a course record in the process.
Adrian's favourite running discipline is Trail running, where he has competed in distances of up to 49km and even across the Swizz Alps. Successfully winning two trail marathons and achieving podium positions in many others. His ultimate running dream is to one year complete the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc around the French, Italian and Swizz Alps.
Ian & Nicola Orton
Founder, Lifetime Member, Coach and Covid Officer
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.
Coach and Mental Health Champion
Karen started jogging/running in 2008 after joining a local kickboxing club to improve her fitness. Over the years she has ran a number of races from 5km to Ultra Marathons with the Marathon being her preferred distance. Karen ran her first marathon in 2012 for charity, which was the London Marathon. As of September 2019 she has completed a total of 66 marathons and has her sights set firmly on joining the 100 marathon club.
Shortly after completing London 2010, she joined BADGERS and life has never quite been the same! Since joining BADGERS, Karen has worked her way from Club Treasurer to Chairperson and has completed the Leadership in Running Fitness Course and Coach in Running Fitness Course. She is also the Mental Health Champion for the club and has recently completed a Mental Health First Aid Course.
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 Run Leader 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!”
David started running because his wife signed up for the Birmingham Half Marathon in 2012 for a charity she was working for and he was persuaded to join and support her. David joined BADGERS later that year when he saw them at the Kingsbury 10km and Kingsbury Water parkrun supporting each other.
He has managed to win a few races (do mid week races is his tip) but his proudest moment was managing a sub 4 at London Marathon in 2014 and his Coventry half marathon personal best of 1.37, pushed most of the way round by Esther and Crumpy.
David has completed 6 marathons and 2 ultras, the hardest being the race to the king 56 miles, they had to add an extra 2 miles because of a flooding river (just what was needed). He would love to get a little faster and break that sub 20 at parkrun (20.29) or the 42 at 10km (42.36). But is currently happy to be back and running well again after a poor few years.
As a new father, Rob was advised not to smoke around his daughter or wear clothes that he’d smoked in as they were not good for her breathing. Following a visit to the doctors, Rob enrolled on a no-smoking program. He was given patches and advised that a two stone weight gain was probable when free of cigarettes. Already weighing in at 18-stone, Rob decided to lace up his shoes and go for a run. 150yards were as far as he could go, but each day he would go further and further. After a couple of months of running Rob had entered his first event, the Tamworth Gate Gallop 10km trail race.
Rob had been running with his partner Jo, when she decided that she’d like to have a look at their local running club, BADGERS. She went along and loved it, so as a Christmas present he bought her the kit and membership. Rob himself didn’t intend to join, as a shift worker and a coach for his son Tom’s football team he didn’t think he would have time to fit it in but somehow, he did. And now he loves it!
Robs proudest moment is running came at the Chester Marathon. He followed a 16-week plan set by club Coach Karen Thompson to go sub-4. What he saw as the Holy Grail of running for me. Rob trained hard and was rewarded with the amazing time of 3hr 54min.
When offering running advice, Rob thinks Bradley Wiggins sums it up best - “Can I keep going at this pace?” if the answer is yes, I’m going too slow. If the answer is no, I’m going too fast. The answer needs to be MAYBE!
After a bad ankle injury playing football in 2003 along with tendonitis in the knee, Matt decided to hang his boots up as he'd had enough of being at the wrong end of miss timed tackles that could end in a leg break!
Matt decided to set a focus to see if running would help maintain some fitness and completed the London Marathon in 2005 in 4hrs 30mins. The running bug was caught and the next challenge was to run marathons in all the capital cities in Great Britain and Ireland. 23 marathons later with a PB of 3:31:55 set in Chester 2018, Matt hopes to complete both Chester & Snowdonia Marathons in the autumn of 2019.
Matt's love for running was enhanced, like so many others, on the discovery of Park Run and for the first time felt being part of a running community. Matt is now a member of the core team at Kingsbury Water Park Run. It was at Park Run that Matt got to make friends with members of Badgers and it was a no brainer to finally join in August 2017. Matt attends as many league races as possible both cross country & road races and it's that special team support and Badger roar that is like no other that spurs you on to achieve things that perhaps felt unachievable. Matt has seen new PB's in most distances since running with the Badgers and it's down to the quality of training and encouragement that has enabled this to happen.
Matt was delighted to be asked to become a Run Leader and completed the Leadership in Running Fitness (LERF) in the summer of 2019. There's nothing better than giving some of the knowledge and benefit of experience back to others and see the improvements people make and the positive gains in both physical & mental health as a result.
Having been a solitary runner for over 30 years, starting with Sutton Fun Run in 1984, Andy completed the London Marathon in 2016 feeling demoralised and as if running had become a chore.
Needing to refocus, he stumbled across Kingsbury Water Park parkrun. A friend who he had persuaded to go to parkrun suggested that she wanted to join a running club, and had decided to join Badgers as they seemed to be so well represented at the local parkrun, so Andy decided to join too.
Since becoming a Badger in 2016 he has realised his love of running again, completing over 150 parkruns, numerous 10ks, a handful of half marathons, and more recently the ultimate challenge of Snowdonia Marathon in October 2018. Becoming a run leader has allowed him to pass on his love and enthusiasm for running to others, and given him a new satisfaction in his long running career.
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, Warren 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! Warren quickly downed the evidence in just three glugs before tossing the empty bottle into some urine-soaked stinging nettles to avoid being apprehended.
Lil started running in March 2017 borne of an innate laziness at the time... she had decided to lose weight and get fit following being told that her sister would need a kidney transplant in the following months. She had bought a Fitbit and was out for a walk in an effort to meet that day's step target, when it occurred to her that if she was running, she'd be home and back on the sofa sooner. The next day she put on what can only be described as fashion pumps (they had pink glittery bits on them, because, of course they did) and the rest is recent history.
In November 2017, a very anxious Lil attended her first parkrun at Kingsbury Water Park. She was quiet, shy, and knew no-one at the time, but was in awe of the groups of people all being so incredibly supportive of each other. She has since become the parkrun's original pompom princess; volunteering with gusto and pompoms (which permanently reside in her car boot as so many situations require emergency pompoms). She was honoured to join the core team in early 2020.
It was whilst at parkrun that she started toying with the notion of joining a running club, and becoming one of those proper runner, type people. She'd seen a few clubs represented there, but of all of them the BADGERS looked like they were always having the most fun. She takes a while to push outside of her comfort zones and finally took the leap in 2019. She has regularly attended the club training sessions since joining and realised how much more she could develop and grow as a runner with such incredible support and knowledge around her. Her first league event was the Desford 5-mile race, and she was completely hooked. The level of inclusivity and support overwhelmed her, and she's run every league race she can since. She took part in her first cross country season in 2019 too, after a reliable source said they thought she'd enjoy the muddy chaos of it all; they weren't wrong.
When the opportunity came to represent the club and hopefully build on the work the previous captaincy did to get more ladies running in both the road and cross-country leagues, she jumped at it.
She believes that if the girl who persistently "forgot" her P.E. kit can find the joy in running, then anyone can