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1 February 2008 PR 08/12

University duo gain Leicester Mercury Sports Award

University husband and wife duo Bob and Angie Budge have been presented with the Leicester Mercury Sports Event of the Year award in recognition of their hard work reviving the Leicester Marathon.

Both keen runners and active members of Birstall Running Club, the pair took on the responsibility of organising the marathon when husband Bob decided the City needed a major running event.

Bob, a technician in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences and Angie, who works in the University’s mailroom, have raised more than £60,000 for charity since resurrecting the marathon seven years ago.

During the first six years the marathon was held at Mallory Park and Desford and raised around £8,000 a year from entries alone. Last year, following feedback from participants and a gradual decline in numbers at the rural sites, the Budges decided to move the event to the city centre.

The duo teamed up with LOROS Chief Fundraiser Christian Weikert-Picker to make the city centre race a reality and it took months of hard work and many meetings to get the go-ahead from the Leicester authorities.

“In the first six years the marathon was organised mainly by our running club, Birstall RC, and help from a small group of people,” explained Angie. “But we needed more people if we were going to bring it into the city.

“Bob and Christian attended meetings with the City Council, waterways officials, police and other key partners and after what seemed an age it was agreed that it could all go ahead.”

Bob and Angie spent many hours measuring the course which involved cycling in heavy traffic as well as walking through the city’s parks and waterways. Birstall RC member Mick Newston coordinated the 300 marshals and Angie processed the 2,000 plus entries for the marathon and half marathon.

In spite of some ‘last minute problems’ the marathon was a great success and thanks to event sponsorship from Kirby and West the Budges raised over £15,000 for local charities LOROS and Rainbows.

Because of the hard work put in by the Budges, the marathon returned to the city centre for the first time in more than 20 years which saw it names the Leicester Mercury’s top sports event.

“We were all very pleased to hear that the Leicester Marathon had been nominated for the Leicester Mercury Sports Event of the Year,” added Angie. “Four of us attended the awards ceremony and we were over the moon when they announced we had won it.

“This award can only improve things for the future of the race and it shows there’s a need for a city marathon in Leicester. It is also recognition of the hard work that Bob and the team have put in behind the scenes to get this City Marathon underway.”

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Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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