Heroes of Running Awards 2009

Your chance to nominate outstanding individuals (across six different categories) who make you exceptionally proud of your sport


Posted: 12 January 2009

Last year's winners, from above clockwise: Mick and Phil Curry; veteran Ron Hill; cancer survivor Keith Passingham; rising international star Steph Twell

Each time we lace up our shoes, we explore new territory—not just on the road but within ourselves. When we dig deep inside to find that finishing kick on spent legs or push ourselves miles further than we ever thought we'd go, we're uncovering hidden strengths. Thanks to the simple act of moving forward, we can reach beyond what we thought was possible and accomplish great things.

No one demonstrates that better than the Running Heroes honoured by Runner’s World and Aviva in 2008 — they were seven people who achieved something or gave back in a monumental way. Among that group there was the astonishing father and son running team, the incredible veteran who hasn’t missed a day of running since December 1964, the rising star who could one day emulate Paula Radcliffe or the woman who used her network to inspire a new generation of women to take up the sport. You can remind yourself of their inspirational stories here.

They are the first of what we hope will be an annual honour roll. The search for our 2009 Heroes of Running starts now and once again we’d like you to help us by nominating runners who have inspired you over the past year. These runners might be known only in your local area, such as the little appreciated but always dependable coach who turns out to pass on his wisdom week after week, year after year or it could be an apparently ordinary runner who has overcome extraordinary personal circumstances to continue to run. Young or old, ordinary or extraordinary, who the person is, is less important than why they have inspired you and why we should recognize their contribution to running.

Searching for a hero

How to nominate? Browse the categories below and then email us via the links below.

There's a short explanation under each category to help you along, and please be sure to include the following details in your nomination:

• Name of the individual you are nominating
• A brief synopsis of why you are nominating them
• Your name, email address and daytime phone number (you will only be contacted if we need further information about the person you have nominated)

Please note that there is a 300-word limit per nomination. The closing date for votes is Friday March 6 2009.


The Categories

The Jane Tomlinson Inspiration Award

The award for the individual who fills us with awe and admiration bears the name of one of the most inspirational figures in running, Jane Tomlinson, who lost her long battle with cancer in 2007. The winner of this award should display many of the same qualities as Jane - selflessness, determination, the desire to defy the odds and leave a lasting mark on the sport and community. It could be anyone who has inspired a new generation, overcome mental or physical hurdles or pushed themselves to new limits. We want you to help us decide who this will be emailing your nominations to The Jane Tomlinson Inspiration Award. We'll then draw up a shortlist of individuals for whom you'll be able to vote in March.

We also invite you to nominate individuals in any of the following five categories:

The Philanthropist
Running makes a huge contribution to making the world a better place. This award recognises an individual who through their personal efforts embodies the charitable and philanthropic side of running. Email your entry

The Rising Star
This will be a young, athlete who is packed with the potential to become a future World or Olympic medallist. Email your entry

The Veteran
This is a lifetime achievement award for a veteran runner with decades of running under their belt and whose commitment has never wavered. Email your entry

The Survivor
Someone who won't be beaten by circumstances, whether they've learned to run after serious injury or refuses to be beaten by illness. Email your entry

The Mentor
Someone who has shown a lasting commitment to bring new people into running, or helped coach large numbers of runners. Email your entry


Aviva is proud to sponsor the ‘Heroes of Running Awards’, working with Runner’s World to recognise and honour those individuals who continue to make a difference through their running exploits. With seven categories rewarding outstanding achievement at every level of the sport, the 2009 awards are once again set to showcase some of the best running talent that the UK has to offer.

Aviva has been the team behind UK Athletics since 1999, with a significant amount of money invested in developing the sport from playground to podium; you may know us as Norwich Union – we’ve changed our name but not our commitment to supporting runners and athletes, whatever their ability.

Through our work with UK Athletics we are aiming to get 15 million children active by 2012, and we also support talented athletes at the elite level of the sport through our sponsorship of the Aviva GB & NI Team. At Aviva, we recognise the needs of athletes both on and off the track, and by providing funding towards coaching, training camps and the organisation of world class events we’re making it easier for them to achieve their dreams.

With the 2009 athletics season starting at the end of this month, we are looking forward to some great performances from Aviva GB & NI Team, and the international track and field stars. The indoor season kicks off in Glasgow with the Aviva International Match on 31st January, where the British team will take on global stars such as Olympic hurdles medallist David Payne and his fellow American and current world indoor hurdles champion Lolo Jones. Following that, the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships take place in Sheffield, where athletes will compete for their position in the GB Team for the European Indoor Championships in Turin this March. The last event of the Indoor season is the Aviva Grand Prix at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena. Millions of fans will enjoy the action, both in the stands and watching at home on the BBC. And with Olympic champions such as Tirunesh Dibaba, Natalya Dobrynska, Christine Ohuruogu and Pamela Jelimo in action, which promises to be an event to remember.

We look forward to another great year of athletics both on home soil and abroad.


Terms and conditions

No purchase necessary. Closing date for receipt of votes is Friday March 6 2009. Voting forms will not be accepted from employees of any company eligible for voting in any of the awards categories. Previous award winners will not be eligible in this year's nominations.


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