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.  England Athletics provides qualified Run Leaders with insurance cover that includes being able to cater for runners aged 12 years old and above. Any Run Leader holding a LiRF qualification will not be insured for runners under 12 years of age.

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!!

Simon Staples - Club Coach

I have run over 220 official marathons, 46 of these being ultra marathons with distances of up to 100miles. I have 55 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 also hold the Guinness World Record for running the fastest half marathon pushing a triple pushchair.      

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!!?   

Jo Woods 

If anyone had suggested to me, aged 18, that over 30 years later I would be running marathons, I'd have died laughing - at school one of my best years was the year I got out of PE totally!  But in my twenties, I decided that if I wanted to eat cake at the rate I do, I was going to need to do more than take fitness and weight for granted.  So I started to run - very slowly and for very short distances.  Over the years, I got a bit better and went longer and then I started to be challenged by friends to do more.  I'm not very good at saying no, so here I am now with even an ultra done.  Oddly, I still don't really see myself as a runner, I still see the teenage girl who wasn't very active.  One side effect of running, that I never expected, is that it would help me with anxiety and mental health issues.

I joined MVR because I wanted to be part of a group again, rather than be a solitary plodder.  It took a while of being on Facebook and watching the mad achievements of some, before, at a very wet Surrey Hills Challenge, three years ago, I actually was brave enough to say hello!  Then MVR FOMO starts to take over... Seeing what an amazing job the run leaders do and how much time commitment it can take, I decided to become a run leader so that I can help out.  I love seeing new folks on the runs and often challenging them to do a little bit more than they think they can and seeing how good they feel when they do.

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.

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 in 2019 through MVR's help after many run group sessions with so many great people and have progressed with more marathons and ultras including a self-supported 100 miler along the South Downs Way with Danielle, things that I never saw myself achieving.  I've also completed 20 half marathons in 20 days solo as well as recently 10 marathons in 10 days with my ultra running sister, Danielle.  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 ...

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 64 that I come roughly halfway 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

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, I 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 completing my first marathon, is down to MVR.  I wanted to be able to give back the support I have been given, so here I am!

Paul Woodhouse

I was inspired to start my running journey after watching the London Marathon in 2019.  Until that time, I had only run several half marathons.  I then joined MVR.  Since then, I have attended as many club runs as my work shifts allow.  Since being at MVR, I have grown in confidence.  I was able to run my first marathon at Portsmouth at the end of 2019.  I also run to help my mental health which I believe is important.  Regular exercise is a great way to re-focus and forget about the daily worries.  I am pleased to support the club as a mental health first aider.  More recently, I have trained and now become a qualified personal trainer.  The original intention was to improve my own fitness, however, what I have learned has allowed me to be able to offer support to others who could benefit from encouragement. 

My experience with MVR has given me the confidence to get involved with Surrey Police Athletics Club.  I have represented them in a number of National competitions.  I regularly attend the Reigate Half Marathon as part of the Emergency Services Challenge. 

In 2021 I am planning to complete a challenge I set myself in 2020 - to run 20 marathons.  My eventual goal is to join the 100 Marathon Club over the next few years.  I have self-funded the additional training to support MVR. 

Alison Jackson

I have never been sporty and despite the odd attempt to take up running I was heading for 40 and a couch potato.  Then dad was the latest member of his family to have serious heart surgery, it was the wake up call I needed. Not knowing how to start I’d jog from one lamppost to the next then walk to the next, run etc. Eventually I got round the block and a friend and I entered the Race for Life. My running fate was sealed when I decided I had to do a marathon before 40 and, failing to get in to London, I headed out to Berlin. By now I was hooked and running became my therapy time. Then I met someone who recommended Mole Valley Runners. Watching on Facebook I saw how supportive and pro-active the club was and eventually took the leap to come out for a run with the club - just as lockdown 2020 hit! The support and encouragement I got from what were strangers at the time was beyond my comprehension. MVR have at their very heart inclusivity and support, and I’m hooked! 

Since joining MVR, with their support, I completed the virtual London Marathon and was encouraged to set 2021 as my challenge year. Again with the encouragement and support of MVR I have virtually run the South West Coast Path, and took on my first Ultra Marathon, Goring Gap 50k. I have run the hugely challenging North Downs Way Marathon and will be running the Shere 42k Marathon as an MVR team.

Becky Copus

I began running properly back in 2013 whilst living in Colchester, Essex. I joined West Mersea Hash Harriers - for those who know hashing is an ex-pat activity where you run to a pre-set sawdust trail which has lots of false trails and by exploring and calling to the rest of the group, each member is kept together regardless of ability. It’s great fun! 

I quickly found that running in a hashing group allowed me to explore around Colchester and out towards the coast. I got to see lots of places I’ve never been to before.  The club also tended to set routes from a pub - so we would socialise afterwards.  Around the same time, I also started Parkrun - if you visit Colchester, have a go at some Parkrun tourism as you get to run around the historic castle and grounds.

Running for me is about three things:

  • The challenges: anything goes e.g. better form than last time, hillier route or quicker segment.
  • The outdoors: the scenery you can immerse yourself in, capture via a quick snap and the fresh air.
  • The people: sharing jokes, how your day / week’s gone or just talking routes, races and kit!

In 2015, I joined a group of Adventurers in a field in Surrey after a summer of camp outs and walking. This is when I met Elise Downing, author of Coasting, and heard of her challenge to run the coast of the UK. Around the same time, I met out of the blue, a friend I’d worked with on the Isle of Wight years before; she, along with some other friends we met over that weekend, were keen to run with Elise from Emsworth back to my university town, Portsmouth. The 16 very windy miles ruined me, as I’d only ever run 10km at most! By the end, although smiling away, my right leg wasn’t happy at all.

A year or so later when I was considering my own challenge - I opted for cycling, not running, in Canada and a route from Winnipeg city to Halifax on the east coast over just over 4 weeks and a friend's wedding on route! Having not ridden a bike since university, it was a challenge - cycling solo 80-120km each day.  A great challenge.

Just before I flew off to Canada, I relocated back to Surrey as I was starting a new job in September. I spent the following year or so in the gym trying to get run fit again, as I had lingering sciatica that just wouldn’t go away following my coastal run. Never up your run mileage that quickly! I would try to run on and off with mixed results. Physio and sticking with group PT and spinning helped over time.

I joined MVRs in June 2019 and did my first half in April 2020. I love the club as it really does welcome all. In 2020, I was aiming to run 12 half marathons, but the pandemic scuppered this. I’ve just re-started this challenge and have also been running for each of the full moons each month. I love running - it’s food for the soul. I hope to see you on a run soon.