Loughborough alumni, Robbie Brightwell and his wife Ann Packer are saluting the start of 2012 as an Olympic year with a 60-mile run on January 2. The run, which is meant to take approximately eight hours, begins at 7.30am in Much Wenlock and will conclude in the couple’s home town of Congleton in Cheshire.

Much Wenlock, a small town in Shropshire, is widely credited as the birthplace of the Modern Olympic Games after the Wenlock Olympian Games which were set up by Dr William Penny-Brookes in 1850 were a major influence on the first Games held by the International Olympic Committee in 1896 in Athens.

Much Wenlock has also been recognised by London 2012 organisers, having the official mascot of the London 2012 Olympic Games named after it.

Robbie Brightwell MBE, who is a former British 400m record holder, captained the GB team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and ran a 44.8 second split to help GB to the silver medal in the 4x400m. Brightwell, who graduated from Loughborough with an MSc in Human Sciences in 1970, is one of only 21 former students to be part of the Loughborough Sport Hall of Fame alongside the likes of Seb Coe, Clive Woodward and Steve Backley.

Ann Packer MBE, whose building is in the East Park of campus, also won a medal in the 1964 Tokyo Games in the 800m. She began the run from Much Wenlock on Monday morning with the Mayor of Much Wenlock and Councillor Lesley Durbin from Holy Trinity Church where Dr William Penny-Brookes is buried. The run will include 16 different runners, with each runner completing four miles.

The run aims to celebrate Much Wenlock’s role in the development of the Modern Olympics which begin in London on July 27 while the Paralympics will commence on August 29.

The couple, who presented the BBC East Midlands Disabled Sports Personality of the Year award at Loughborough University told Label back in November; “[We’re] delighted to be here to present the prize. Paralympians are an inspiration to all of us…everybody works hard to get that high in their sport and no-one works harder than the paralympians.”

Loughborough University will be the official preparation camp for Team GB in the run up to this summer’s Olympics in London.


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