Meet The Team
Here you can find out who the wonderful volunteers that are is involved in running BADGERS.
Put a face to a name and learn a little about them all.
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' (X5), and both 'Male Road Runner of the Year' and Male Cross Country Runner of the Year'.
He has been a key part of the men's teams success, being a vital points scorer in the teams that won the LRRL Div 2 (2017), Div 1 (2018 - 2022) and DRXC Div 2 (2016/17), Div 1 (2017 - 2022). 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, 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.
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.
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.
She ran a marathon!
Membership Secretary, Merchandise Manager 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.
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!
After a failed football career in the NDSFL Adrian began running in 2013 to help pass the Territorial Army entry fitness test. Whilst the football was never his strong point he always found he was one of the fastest and fittest on the pitch, which helped, in part, to make up for his lack of footballing talent.
Whilst training, friends convinced him into entering the Spartan Obstacle Course Race in September 2014 at Cliff Lakes, Kinsbury, which was his first race experience. It was then in November after an OCR race around the local Merevale Estate that he was lured into joining the BADGERS, by the then Men's Captain, Carl Holyoak after meeting him at the event. Since joining the club Adrian then went on to become the Men’s team Captain for 3 consecutive years 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 24-hour race with a team of 7 BADGERS in 2018, setting a course record of 36 laps in the process, which still stands today.
Adrian's favourite running discipline is trail running, where he has competed in distances of up to 55km with elevation gains in excess of 3200m. Successfully winning two trail marathons and achieving podium positions in many others. His ultimate running dream was achieved in the summer of 2022 when he competed in the OCC race of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc event, running from Switzerland to France across the Alps. Whilst taking part in the event was his dream, he wasn't happy with his result, so he is planning to return to the event and better his time in 2024.
Adrian is known in the club for his glass ankles, the winner of 'best legs 2021' and his inability to handle a hangover.
Founder, Lifetime Member and Coach
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.
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. Still running marathons, with a PB of 3:31:55 set in Chester 2018, Matt’s ultimate goal is to duck under the 3:30 barrier!
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 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.
Rachael joined beginner BADGERS in late 2013 for a bit of fun but then Danny decided it would be a great idea to sign her up for a half marathon 5 months after she started BADGERS! Rachael was not at all convinced that she could go from not running at all to running a half marathon in just 5 months, but she was determined to give it her best shot and decided to raise money for charity as a way of not giving up. Rachael went from successfully completing the beginner BADGERS programme, to completely her first 10k race to then completing the half marathon in 2014. Following that, Rachael got the running bug and went from strength to strength, and in 2015 she held 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.
Having gained so much from being a member of BADGERS, not just with fitness but with her confidence and the social aspect of the club, Rachael wanted to give something back and became a run leader in 2016, as well as Ladies Captain for 2 years. Rachael regularly represented the club, competing in the league road races and cross country and continued her running journey until she was 30 weeks pregnant in 2019.
Since having her beautiful daughter, Rachael's priorities changed and running was put on the back burner for a while but she still supported the club and slowly returned to running in 2021. Rachael continues to be a run leader for beginner badgers and enjoys cheering fellow badgers in at races when she can.
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
Dave started running in 2014 after a friend dared him on the New Year’s Eve that he could not complete a 10K obstacle race. The challenge was set and 4 days later he attempted his first training run. Unfortunately, he found he couldn’t run from one lamppost to the next. So he downloaded a Couch to 5K app and bought a pair of trainers.
10 weeks later and his first race was completed. There was a real chance that his running career would end as quickly as it began, but somehow it continued. As time went on Dave wanted to run with people, improve his running and vary the routes, so in the November he joined Badgers.
Joining the Badgers was the crucial step in his running career. His running continues to improve and continues to get PBs even though he is now into his 50s.
Within the club Dave is famous for bringing cakes made by his daughters to the Cross Country races and for organising 6am social runs. “Although I joined badgers to run with people, I never expected to make so many friends.”
Men's Vice-Captain & Run Leader
Carl was never one for sports at school, he never felt comfy about his appearance and preferred to just blend in.
In 2017 things started to change back home for Carl, his dad was ill and the illness started to become more apparent. His dementia was taking over and Carl now had to become the parent to his father. This change was a great struggle for him, becoming very stressful at times.
In the summer of 2018, Carl stumbled upon a charity running event called Running Down Dementia, It was a running distance you set yourself, so he wanted to give it a go in order to raise funds to support others in his situation. At the start Carl's confidence was low so he would walk when he saw someone, but the thrill of the run kept him going. After a few months his confidence had grown substantially and he didn’t care if people saw him, he would keep on running, eventually getting his distance to 10k. Sadly his Achilles tore just before the end of the challenge but he managed to finish the distance at the end of September that year.
Whilst Carl was recovering from his achilles injury he kept bumping into Badger member, Jo Hardy, who invited Carl to join the club one evening for a run. As much as he wanted to at the time he had to decline due to his on-going injury and his confidence in feeling like a 'runner' having only run on his own. After his achilles had healed Jo asked Carl again to come along for a club run, this time taking her up on the offer in January 2019. The warmth he received on his first session was amazing and he kept coming back for more, eventually joining the club as a full member in 2019.
The club has helped Carl's confidence grow in so many ways, running several marathons and even a 40-mile ultra, distances he never thought possible. He remembers his first race as a Badger being a XC league event, a muddy run across fields, all thanks to Yvonne Faulkner–Grant. From this, he caught the racing bug and has gone on to run in places he had never even thought of visiting. He credits the PBs he has achieved to the Badger roar at the end of the races and the help and support leading up to those moments.
Sharon's running did not start until she was 42 years old. She had lost a significant amount of weight and had a challenge thrown at her by her sister-in-law, which was to complete Gelt Gladiators 5k obstacle mud challenge. Sharon had been at the very start of her fitness journey and had only ever run on a treadmill in the gym up to this point, so had to head outside to start training properly. It was also her sister-in-law who introduced her to parkrun which she had never heard of before.
From parkrun Sharon found out about Badgers. It took her a little while to get her head around joining a club, thinking it wasn't for her, and thinking she wasn't ‘good enough’. After meeting some Badgers though her thinking changed and she hasn’t looked back since joining. The support received is amazing. It makes such a difference. Sharon loves the wholehearted support shown to everyone, by everyone. This is what she loves - if you can support and encourage as you go along, you never know who you are influencing.
Sharon's proudest running moment, her first Half Marathon at Leicester in October 2015 and finishing in under 2 hours (approx 1:57). Her parents and husband and children were all there at the end - it was such a great feeling to be greeted by them. Also her 1st marathon, finishing in 4:24:24, after hitting 'the wall' at mile 17, this is still an achievement she is very proud of.
Sharon's current parkrun PB is 23:44, completed a few years ago now, but having struggled with a few different injuries over the following years, this is a time she is aiming to achieve once again and then improve upon.
Whatever your running goals are - aim for them, you may impress yourself!