Run Leaders

Dedicated Run Leaders

All our run leaders are qualified with England Athletics and every run is led by one or more of the leaders. 

They have all completed or are about to complete their Leadership In Running Fitness (LiRF) course and are all 1st Aid trained, DBS checked and have completed safeguarding training.

Unfortunately, Dame Kelly Holmes is not one of our leaders but did visit our group in 2018 and run with us for her #joininjune campaign and it was amazing!!

Mole Valley Runners have been nominated for the following catagories at the Regional England Athletics Volunteer Awards:

  • Athletics or Running Club or the Year
  • RunTogether Group of the year
  • RunTogether leader of the year (Michelle Taylor)
  • RunTogether leader of the year (Paula Lakhani)
  • RunTogether leader of the year (Debbie Watts)
  • Athletics Coach of the year (Debbie Watts)
  • Volunteer of the year (Debbie Watts)
  • Volunteer of the year (Michelle Taylor)
  • Volunteer of the year (Paula Lakhani)

Tracy Evans

I began running five years ago, completing the NHS Couch to 5K program. This was an amazing and accessible approach to running, for somebody who was once sport- phobic. I began to push the distances, reaching 10K, and then half-marathon and I have recently completed a marathon and a 40-mile ultra! This was unthinkable 5 years ago and running is now an essential part of my busy week; it provides me with an outlet for stress and headspace to think. I have made good friends along the way and have enjoyed completing my ‘Leadership in Running Fitness’ Course. Leading runs for Mole Valley Runners has been a real highlight for me and it is wonderful to inspire and encourage  everybody at different stages on their running journey. 

Jo Woods


Sophie Briers

At breakfast with friends on New Years Day in 2018 I decided my NY resolution was to return to running.  I needed to add cardio into my exercise regime and this would be easy to fit around the children and work. I had been following the Mole Valley Runners page on Facebook and turned up a couple of weeks later at Bookham Common. I hadn’t run for quite a few years so was a bit sceptical of my abilities, but the group were great and really welcoming.

In the past I had always run on the roads but I fell in love with being out in the woods and on the trails. I had the running bug.  I soon started entering races and over the last 18 months or so I have completed 5ks, 10ks and half marathons, I am currently training for a marathon. The group are so supportive through the many highs and lows of running and I have made some great friends. By becoming a run leader and mental health champion I am giving back to the group that have supported and encouraged me on my running journey 

Lucinda Lighting

My love and enjoyment for running started at school, progressing to joining Sutton & Epsom Harriers and has steadily increased, with the occasional hiatus, all my life. Now happily and easily I run a half marathon most months, clocking up on average around 100km a month running around the glorious Surrey Hills and countryside.

New to the area in June 2018 I joined MVR and immediately loved the welcoming, friendly and non-competitive atmosphere. If I fancy a long steady, or a short fast run there is always someone to hook up with. Running with the group has opened new friendship circles, got me trying new sports and activities and got me out and about exploring my new surroundings.

Running is so good for your health and soul I really could not be without it in my life!

Danielle Harris

I can put on a pair of trainers and just go - I need nothing more! Simple and uncomplicated. I’m just relying on my body and at the same time improving both my mental and physical health .
Being outside in all seasons makes me feel connected to the world and nature. No matter how bad my day has been I know that if I go for a run, especially with MVR, my day will always get better.
Sometimes I love to run on my own and just clear my mind, almost like meditating. Other times I love, and need, the social aspect of being with others. MVR has enabled me to meet some fabulous people.
Running helps to de-stress me and expel any anxiety I might have. Running has helped me cope with some really difficult times that may otherwise have broken me

Paul Woodhouse


I’ve been running for a little while. I started off with a ParkRun and have progressed to a Half Marathon. I joined Mole Valley Runners in 2018. With the support and guidance from the club I have signed up for my first Marathon in 2020. I passed the LiRF (Leader in Running Fitness) this year. I’m looking forward to running the Thursday night Norbury circuit. Finally, I’m currently studying for Level 2 & 3 with Lifetime Fitness to become a Personal Trainer.


Becci Ware

I hated sport. For as long as I can remember I wrote sick notes, feined injuries, anything to get out of exercise at school and long after. It was a fear of failing I realise now. After a really bad case of flu 5 years ago I was determined I was going to get my fitness up. With the encouragement of a friend I signed up for a half marathon - with the reward it was in Amsterdam and I could holiday after! I did it but training was hard solo and I injured myself along the way. I took nearly a year off to recover and on my walks at Bookham common stumbled across a lively, smiley group of runners. I googled the Mole Valley Runners and finally after weeks of deliberation I finally plucked up the courage to message them. It felt like asking to be in a team at school again and I was terrified. Paula welcomed me at plodders and I realised instantly I didn’t need to be worried. Everyone there was so kind and supportive my whole outlook changed. My confidence in myself and my ability to now try new things including just completing my first marathon is all down to MVR. I wanted to be able to give back the support I have been given so here I am!

Lee Hibbert

I took a couch to 5k course in Ashtead in Autumn 2017 and then ran either on my own or within a small local group. I progressed slowly to 5 miles but realised to go beyond that I needed help and guidance as had a confidence issue. I had heard of Mole Valley Runners but was wary of having to join another run group and meet more strangers. I summoned up the courage to meet a welcoming Debbie Watts and her group up on Box Hill one evening in July 2018 and was soon surprised to be amongst a happy group who had fun and loved running. I soon realised I had discovered a special Run Group that catered for everybody and there really was no i in team and everybody mixed so well and made you feel relaxed. I spent the rest of the year meeting so many new inspiring people as gave me such confidence that had slowly evaporated over the past ten years. I completed the London Marathon this year through MVR help after many run group sessions with so many great people and have progressed with more Marathons this year that I never saw myself achieving. I would love nothing more now than to help others achieve their goals as I know the way it makes you feel. My two words I always repeat are Keep Running ...

Simon Staples

I have run 180 official marathons, 27 of these being ultra marathons with distances of up to 100miles. I have 40 marathon wins with 10 of these being on 10 consecutive days at the inaugural Phoenix Running 10 in 10 racing against competitors from Australia, USA, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Belgium.    

I have ran marathons up and down a multi storey car park, out and back along Southend Pier, round and round the Amex football stadium, on a treadmill and inside a Prison to name a few!  My favourite marathon is the Mouth 2 Mouth hosted by Sussex Trail Events.  My favourite ultra marathon has to be The Serpent Trail which is 100km race within the South Downs National Park hosted by Freedom Running.

I love to run to be around inspiring and motivated people and hopefully sometimes to inspire others.  Learning from fails and enjoying the highs when a run goes well gives me a feel good factor.  I’ve met some of the most interesting people through running.  I have achieved and witnessed some amazing feats of endurance topped with mental stamina that I’d never thought possible. I love seeing the sense of achievement and emotion it gives to people when they reach their goals and being part of their journey.  I can’t really remember life before running.

Why on earth would I give this up, what’s not to love!!?   


Nina Belk

For several years I had dipped in out of running, always giving it a go when I wanted to shed a few pounds but never keeping it up. However, two years ago a friend encouraged me to take it up more regularly and I ended up giving a half marathon a bash. That's when I discovered how much running not only improves your physical health but your mental wellbeing too. Whether it's heading out to clear your head, de-stress or have a chat it was a revelation. Running was now something that I loved to do! I'm not the fastest and I don't sign up to lots of events but what I love is getting out there with a lovely bunch of people every week, come rain or shine! I have explored  more of our beautiful countryside than I ever would have had I not taken that step to join Mole Valley Runners.


Bob Searle

Having excelled at cross-country running at school, I quit the sport at 16 when it was no longer mandatory. I didn’t run again until I was 49. A couple of friends invited me to join them on a casual run near Norbury Park. I then entered a 3k fun run in Leatherhead followed by the 8-mile breakfast run in Kingston and I was gripped!

Although initially the motivation to run was to help me with my weight, I am now more interested in losing weight to improve my running. Likewise, I used to soothe my worries and anxieties by eating. Now it is by running. It seems to be learned behaviour. Instead of tackling a problem by making myself a huge cheese and onion sandwich, my head now tells me to go for a run. It is not only motivating to run; it also helps to clear my head and it allows solutions to flow into my mind. The trick is to have a good memory. I need to remember the great ideas that came to me whilst running up that hill!

My enjoyment of running hit new heights in October 2019 when I joined Mole Valley Runners and started to run with a great group of people on Monday and Thursday mornings. This was in addition to my regular Tuesday evening runs. Park runs were also started last year at Denbies. This has become the highlight of my week, followed by an enjoyable cup of tea with fellow runners. Although I am not a particularly fast runner, it gives me great satisfaction at the age of 62 that I come roughly half-way in a race of about 370 – 400 runners, most of whom are considerably younger than me.

The benefits of running can sometimes come as a surprise. I remember running through a railway station with heavy luggage to catch a train and, as soon as I boarded the train, my breathing immediately returned to normal. What happened to all that gasping and panting that I used to do? Also, I seem to have a lot of energy, I eat well without gaining weight and I sleep like a log. Not bad returns for such an easily affordable and accessible sport