I’ve just got home after my first race since Paris, earlier this year and I loved it.

Today I ran for Guilford based charity, Oakleaf. I first heard about Oakleaf through a networking event, run by The Bestof Guildford. Oakleaf is the only mental health charity in Surrey working as a social enterprise to provide vocational training for those suffering from mental health issues. They offer training in horticulture, upholstery, IT and print finishing, enabling people to acquire new skills and ultimately return to work. They also offer a range of Social Inclusion Activities that cater towards building confidence, physical health and wellbeing.

I was taken on a tour of Oakleaf by Deepti. Deepti is the Events and Marketing Executive and plays an important role in securing much needed resources enabling Oakleaf to continue to provide help to those that need it.

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Deepti and Lauren

I was amazed by the buzz and the atmosphere of the building as I was shown around. I was particularly interested in the upholstery service. The skill and attention to detail here is second to none. I have seen examples of their work and I have to say, this is a service that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Not only is their work outstanding but you’re also helping to fund a charity that’s giving so many people opportunity.

Check out the video below to learn more, it’s an interesting watch.


To The Race

You may have read about the drama’s on Saturday… If you didn’t here’s a snippet from Facebook.

Earlier this year I signed up to run The Great South Run for local mental health charity Oakleaf… For as long as I can remember it was always the day after Jacks Wedding as per my diary. So here we are, a little hungover and tired but ready and raring for my first race since Paris.

I opened my race letter in the car on the way, and read ‘remember the clocks go back an hour’ hmmm, and ‘congratulations on your place in the Great South Run on Sunday 25th October 2015’



Uh oh – wrong day, never mind. I’m so glad it turned out to be today as I know I would have really struggled yesterday

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

So, here we are on Sunday, we arrived nice and early. We met up with Deepti to say ‘hi’ and pick up my running vest. I headed to the start line and got ready to run. They started a little 5 minute warm up, which is always a good laugh. Lots of stretching and jogging on the spot to cheesy music.

Selfie! Lauren is going to love this.

Selfie! Lauren is going to love this.

The temperature was rising. It was a hot day and not just for October either. The sun was shining and after 2 miles I had to take off the t-shirt I had under my running vest. I wasted about 3 minutes but it was well worth it.  I felt pretty good throughout the race. There was plenty of water and Lucozade Stations to keep us hydrated and energised. I felt it pretty tough up to mile 4. I hadn’t really done enough training for this, which I know is bad, but I’ve been focussing more on lifting weights to build strength and burn fat. I could feel my legs were getting really tight too, so I stopped every couple of miles for a good stretch.

It was a really good course – not too many hills and there was plenty of support along the way. I loved the music, especially the percussion bands. They’re amazing. Thank you.

The last 3 miles seemed to fly by. Although my fitness levels were down, my endurance seemed to kick in. I just wanted to enjoy today. For a 10 mile run, I thought the atmosphere was amazing. As I ran down the final stretch, I heard Lauren on the left. I waved and carried on, there was about 100 meters to go! I crossed the line in 1:39 – a very average, but realistic time.

I did it!

I did it!

Thanks again for all your continued support. I’ve received lots of donations from various people and I really appreciate them. If you or anyone you know has been affected by mental health, please take a look at Oakleaf. If you’d like to donate, please follow my link below.

Donate here

Right, I’m off to Zizzi’s!

The Bolt!

It’s the day after ‘Bolt Round The Holt’ and what can I say, it was without a doubt one of the toughest races I’ve ever ran. I’ve had some experience running off-road, mainly during bootcamps, but nothing compares to the 13.1 miles of hills and uneven ground I had to endure yesterday.

I woke up bright and early, showered and had breakfast before leaving for the race. We arrived with plenty of time to spare so after I collected my race number and timing chip, we went to say hello to some friends who were volunteering to help with the event.

Ready to race

Ready to race

After a quick warm up, I made my way to the start line. I was surprised with how few people there were running the half marathon distance… maybe there was reason for this, maybe I was about to find out! I was excited and looking forward to getting the race underway. I was on the start line, surrounded by other runners all eager to get going. The race began and everyone shot off… standing right at the front probably wasn’t the best idea. It also became apparent that I hadn’t done my shorts up tightly enough, they were literally falling down at the back which probably gave the runners behind a full view. I had running gels weighing down my back pocket too which added to problem. I stopped, did them up and carried on.

The first real challenge came as I ran up the first hill – it was a killer! I had barely ran a mile and I felt knackered! I’m used to warming up gradually, running at a steady pace on the flat until around 25 minutes in. This was full on and intense from the start. The race was set over a 1k lap followed by 4 x 5k laps, this meant I was going to have to run that hill another 4 times! I tried not to think about that and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other until I was warmed up.

Lap one

One lap down

One lap down and three to go. I was feeling confident as stuck to a 9 min/mile pace. I started to overtake a few of the 5k runners, which gave me a small confidence boost. It was at around this point that I realised I had changed something on my Garmin. I wasn’t able to see how far I had ran, although luckily, I was still able to track my pace.

Things got easier during the second lap. My muscles had warmed up and I felt in control. I looked up and started enjoying it a bit more. It was great to see so many familiar faces along the route too. Notably from BNI Guildford. It always gives you that little extra push as you run when someone you know shouts your name. I was just over halfway through the race. I felt good and set my sights on that sub 2 hour finish.

Two laps down

Two laps down

The third lap was without a doubt the most enjoyable. I was leaning into the hills, making my legs and gluteus work hard. I had a good supply of running gels and sweets to keep me going, I think they made all the difference really. I ran passed Kim Ronaldson, a friend who runs First Aid Development. The organisers had asked him to marshall a boggy area of the course incase anyone needed medical assistance. He asked if I was enjoying it, to which I replied, “yes, but its the most mentally challenging race ever!” he replied, “don’t think of the mental bit, just keep running!” That really helped.

‘One foot in front of the other’ is something I often say to myself when I’m finding a race or training run tough. It definitely works.

One more lap!

One more lap!

There was one final lap to go. Lauren had been cheering me on at each lap point, but on the final one she wasn’t there! Had she gone home? I hope not, otherwise it would be a very long walk back to Guildford! Thankfully, she hadn’t –  I saw her standing up ahead with Kim, both of them shouting, “go on Lee” which was brilliant. Lauren gave me a running gel and I carried on with only about 2.5 miles to go.

Lauren and Kim

Lauren and Kim

There were also a few downhill areas of the track, which were very welcome on that final lap. I was around one mile away from the finish line. I looked at my watch, I had around 11 minutes to run it in if I were to get a sub 2 hour finish. I kept going, ‘one foot in front of the other’ I saw Dave Nyss up ahead, this meant only around 500 metres to go! I had 4 minutes before I hit the 2 hour mark. I looked up at the hill and back at my watch, 3 minutes left! I gave it everything. I had nothing left but I gave it all that was possible. It felt like the worst minute of my life at the time, but when I reached the top and ran passed the supporters cheering us on, it was one of the greatest.

I went for the sprint finish, although when I watched the video back it looked more like a light jog. See the short video below. I finished in 1.58… not my fastest half marathon but I was pleased with it as it was unlike anything I’ve ran before. Hill’s are definitely going into the new training plan from May.

I’d like to say a big thank you for the support around the track from Pauline, Dave, Dene, Caroline, Richard and Kim. Also a special thank you to my partner Lauren, I probably don’t say it enough but she’s always there to support me, not just on the track but during all of my training too. It takes up a lot of our time and I appreciate the support.

Finally I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nerissa Deeks @ Guts Fighting Bowel Cancer, who organised a fantastic event. Guts are a local charity who have achieved great things. Their goal is to improve bowel cancer survival rates through more effective screening, detection and treatment, and by raising awareness of the disease. I’m hoping to find out more in the coming weeks as I want to do more to help.

Nerissa Deeks just after handing me my medal

Nerissa Deeks just after handing me my medal

Races are never meant to be easy, and looking back it was well worth the pain. Here’s to next year!

Surrey Half – Spoiler Alert – I did it!

I’m still buzzing after running in yesterday’s Surrey Half Marathon!

Sunday: I woke up at 6am and started my usual pre-race ritual. A quick shower, breakfast, coffee followed by a couple of Rennie’s… heartburn is the last thing anyone wants during a race. My friend, Iain, picked me up and we headed to the start line.

Lauren and I before the race

I went into the race with a p.b of 1.51, which I got at Reading Half last year. I’m a true believer in pushing yourself beyond your limits but I had to be realistic. A couple of weeks earlier I had ran a half marathon during training. I struggled to run it in under 2:10, which for a race would have been a terrible time. I’ve also had a few injury niggles, which have resulted in missing the odd training run. But this was it. I was on the start line, I felt fit and as long as there were no issues with the knee, this could turn out to be a great day.

My Garmin was on and connected to the satellites overhead. The gun sounded and we made our way over the start line. This was it, my first race in nearly a year and I was loving it! I was thinking, I really should have signed up to run a lot more! One mile down. I looked at my watch… I ran it 7:30! Way too quick, but I felt ok. I kept the pace up over the next 20 minutes, before slowing down slightly to a more comfortable 8:10 per mile.

I passed Lauren and my Dad outside The Olive Tree, in Sutton Green. I could spot Lauren a mile off in her bright blue Parkinson’s t shirt. I was feeling pretty confident that my pace wasn’t going to drop. I occasionally listened to some music when I felt like I needed a little boost.

Things started getting a little tough at around 9 miles in. It seems mental arithmetic whilst running isn’t one of my strongest points… You see, I was running along thinking I had only 3 miles to go. I was getting really excited, thinking that I was going to smash my time until the penny dropped. I still have 4 miles to go. This meant there was no room for error, I had to keep on running.

One of the greatest moments was as I ran passed the Mayford Arms. I had a mile to go and 15 minutes to spare before I would equal my current pb. In my head I had done it, but there was still some time to go. I came in, passing crowds of people, families with their children all cheering us on. It was great. A brand new pb of 1:47! Unbelievable!

1.47 - a new pb!

1.47 – a new pb!

 If anyone wants to see possibly the least exciting celebration ever, check out the video below!

New York, New York!

Hey everyone!

I’ve managed to find 5 minutes in what seems to be a very busy time right now. Yesterday was the drawing for The New York City Marathon. I applied earlier this year and kept it very quiet as I was sure that I wouldn’t get in. The odds of getting a ballot place are stacked against you with only an 18% chance of success! As you probably know, I’ve applied for 5 London Marathon ballot places and have never got in!

The drawing started on 3rd March and were scheduled to finish at midnight EST, which in English is 04:59 am GMT on 4th March. After refreshing my email most of the afternoon and evening with still no email, I went to bed at around 11pm thinking that it probably wasn’t meant to be.

Suddenly there was a tweet from the event organisers… Did this mean that the international runners were yet to be drawn?

NYC Marathon

Then there was this tweet… The draw was still open!

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 16.42.54


It was getting late and I had a meeting early the next morning, so I went to sleep. I woke up every half an hour and checked my email.

At 2am I refreshed the page… I was in!

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 16.52.22

So it’s off to Paris, Berlin and New York!

What a year this is turning out to be!

leesrunning.com Goes International!

So what’s been going on?

Lauren and I have had a hectic couple of months planning our wedding which is set for July this year. Our window cleaning business has been busy, so busy in fact that Lauren left her job last year after giving in to years of me trying to convince her that working together was a good idea! We seem to have made the right choice, as we’ve just employed two new members of staff, bringing our team to a total of four!

New Year in Scotland

New Year in Scotland

London Marathon

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a place in this years London Marathon. I had a long and detailed email from Parkinson’s, who said they are very grateful for the work and support we’ve put in over the last four years, but this time they wouldn’t be able to give me another place. The London Marathon is massively over subscribed, so much so that I’ve never been awarded a ballot place in the last 5 years that I’ve applied! I’ve always been very fortunate to have been given a charity place by Parkinson’s and I hope in future I’ll be given the chance to run it again.

Upcoming Races

This year I will run Paris and Berlin marathon instead and I can’t wait! I’m really looking forward to running Paris as I’ve heard it’s pretty much flat and quite fast paced. I’ve not spent a lot of time there either, so I’ll enjoy seeing many of the sites as I pound through the streets of “la Ville des Lumières”.


Paris! – photo taken by Parkinson’s UK

Berlin is a city I’ve always wanted to see. My friend Brian lives there and I’ve been promising him a visit for years! Hopefully, we’ll arrange to spend a couple of nights there after, so that I can soak up some of the culture… and drink plenty of their beer too!


Berlin – photo taken by Parkinson’s UK

I also have three half marathons booked in for along the way, including Bolt Round The Holt which is an event sponsored by GUTS – Fighting Bowel Cancer. I’ve always wanted to help a small local charity and when I came across GUTS and read that I could run a half marathon for them, I jumped at the chance. My grandad survived bowel cancer. It’s a horrible disease and I want to do what I can to help them too. With this in mind we have decided to split all money 50/50 between Parkinson’s UK and GUTS Fighting Bowel Cancer.  You can read a bit about why I’m running for GUTS and Parkinson’s UK and even sponsor me by hitting the link below.

Parkinson's GUTS logo We have a couple of exciting events to come, including our annual ‘Party For Parkinson’s/GUTS – date and venue TBC. In the mean time, if you’re looking for ways to get involved and help us please drop me an email here.


8th March – Surrey Half

22nd March – Reading Half

28th March – Bolt Round The Holt (Half Marathon)

12th April – Paris Marathon

27th September – Berlin Marathon

Have a great weekend and I look forward to updating you all again soon!

Water of Life

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to our event ‘Water of Life’ on Sunday. It was one of our most entertaining events, with lots of laughs and plenty of whisky being consumed. It was also great to see some new faces too – thank you for coming.

The evening kicked off with some history about scotch whisky, including the spelling. Within minutes I had learnt something new! Roger explained how whisky is often spelt without the ‘e’ in England, Scotland and Wales, and whiskey with the ‘e’ is more common in Ireland and the United States.

The Whisky

The Whisky












Our guests wait patiently for their first tasting











We wanted to make the evening as interactive as possible by encouraging our guests to talk openly about the different tastes that they were getting from each whisky. After a few wee drams, people relaxed and began to contribute.


Roger telling the story of the SS Politician – Whisky Galore

Nick, Ben, Mark and Jamie raising a glass

Matt demonstrating his best tiger impression… Grrrr!






























Once we’d finished tasting the whisky, we sold raffle tickets to win a bottle of Jura 10. We managed to turn a £24 bottle of whisky into £60 for Parkinson’s UK. The winners very kindly opened the bottle and passed it around for everyone to have a drink. This pretty much sums up the friendly atmosphere of the evening.


The lucky winner of our raffle!











The feedback on the night was positive, with our guests speaking highly of Roger’s educational presentation. Not only were we able to offer a taste of some of Scotland’s finest, but our guests also went away having learnt something too.

And the best news of all… we raised £350!

Jamie and I enjoying a tipple









Thank you to Ahmad, the manager of The Stoke, who lent us his function room completely free of charge. It was the perfect venue for our event – central and very accommodating.

Thank you to everyone who came and bought drinks and raffle tickets. I hope the hangovers weren’t too bad… Also a special thank you to Lauren and Laura who helped with the set up, and again to Lauren for clearing up at the end when we were, shall we say… merry?!

Thank you!

Thank you!












I’d like to finish off by saying a massive thank you to Roger for his hard work in putting together a fantastic presentation. I’m pleased to announce that due to the success of this event, we will be holding another one later this year!

Water of Life – The Lineup

We’re just over a week away from our whiskey tasting event, ‘Water of Life’.

I’ve been asked a couple of times, what whiskies we’ll be tasting on the night. I’m happy to announce the lineup for the evening. We’ve selected a few of our favourites for the evening, all single malts, but each has their differences. Roger will be going into more detail with them as we taste each one on the night.

Tickets are still on sale, click here to reserve yours today.

The Whiskies

Glenlivet 12, Aberfeldy 12, Edradour 12, Jura 10 and finally Bowmore Small Batch Reserve

Sunday 25th May 2014
7 – 9pm

The Stoke Function Room
103 Stoke Road

Water Of Life – An Interactive Evening Of Single Malt Whiskey

During a recent visit to the land of lochs and legends, my friend Roger and I had the pleasure of attending a whiskey tasting event. Roger, a close friend and keen whiskey enthusiast, has introduced me to some fine single malts over the years from his rather vast collection. During the event we stumbled upon an idea, perhaps we could hold an event of our own, for charity?

Single Malt Whiskey

Single Malt Whiskey

So here we have it…

Join us for an interactive evening of Scottish single malt whiskey. The perfect evening for anyone with even a slight interest in whiskey and would like to learn more in a relaxed, comfortable environment. Tickets are limited so please reserve your ticket soon to avoid disappointment.

You will learn:

How to prepare your dram

Origins of whiskey and how it is made

Tasting contrast between difference single malts

There will also be the chance to win a bottle of something nice in our raffle!


Bank Holiday Weekend
Sunday 25th May 2014

7 – 9pm


The Stoke Function Room
Stoke Road


£20 – includes 5 drams of single malt whiskey

Reserve Your Place Today

Send £20 via Paypal to sullsims@hotmail.co.uk and I will email you a ticket
Email me with your address and I will personally deliver your ticket for cash

Strictly 18+
Photographic I.D. may be required

Party For Parkinson’s 2014 – What A Day!

I’d like to start by saying what an amazing day Saturday was. We promised a fun filled afternoon for our family, friends and the local community and if the feedback is anything to go by, we certainly delivered.

The afternoon kicked off with some live music from Weyfield parents, James and Laeeka. I’m very proud to say that this was their first gig together. They sung some great covers for us including, ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘Halo’ which went down a storm. Thanks again for your support.

Benni K enjoying the pulled pork

Benni K enjoying the pulled pork

Jackie, Daniel, David and my dad took control of the BBQ, serving up delicious pulled pork in a warm home made bbq sauce. We couldn’t sell them quick enough and I was extremely pleased with the result. We must have sold over 100, with some people coming back for seconds and even thirds! They worked really hard, thanks again.

Daniel, Ray and Jackie serving our hungry guests

Daniel, Ray and Jackie serving our hungry guests

Sharpy returned to our event for a second year, this time with his new rock band, HammerJacK! With one or two, shall we say, “tables of the older generation”, I was a little unsure how the audience were going to respond. I think the band had this feeling too, however I had gone with my gut and it turned out to be the right decision. They rocked the stage and by the end of their set there were people up on their feet dancing around the tables! Thank you HammerJacK! You can download their EP for FREE here http://www.hammerjackuk.com/download

HammerJacK rocking the stage!

HammerJacK rocking the stage!

Check out the video below to see HammerJacK in action and everyone having a good time!

David did a fine job of selling over £200 worth of raffle tickets, thank you. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of the local businesses and individuals who donated prizes. It was extremely generous of you all, and we are very grateful, thank you. Please see a list of our sponsors (and links to their sites) below.

We also introduced a bouncy castle and face painting this year to encourage a more family event. Both attractions went down very well with plenty of children taking advantage of our “£2 to bounce as long as you like” deal. Massive thank you to Laura, who helped us with supervising the children.

Daylyn having his face painted

Daylyn having his face painted

I’m very pleased to announce that the total raised was…


I’m extremely proud of the hard work that everyone put in to make this years event a true success. Thanks again to everyone who came, supported and donated. Next year we will return, bigger and better than ever!

Thank you’s

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of my family, friends, parents of the school and everyone else who came on Saturday. Thank you to Brenda and Dennis, Jack and Lorna, and my nan, Kay who donated some extra raffle prizes on the day. Thank you to my mum, Claire, Jake and Kym who served drinks from our bar and also helped massively with the stage, tables and chairs during the morning. Thank you to my 92 year old great-grandmar who came all the way from Somerset and said that the rock band were “marvellous”. Thank you to Laura, Roger and the boys who travelled even further – all the way from Stoke! Thank you to my dad, who lent me one of his bouncy castles.  Thank you to Jackie, David and Daniel for coming down from London to help with the BBQ and selling raffle tickets. A big thank you to Benni K for also getting stuck in on the morning, shifting tables and staging around the school and for spending a fortune on raffle tickets! Another huge thank you goes to our musicians, HammerJacK and James & Laeeka – you guys were awesome. Thank you to Alex at Brightwater Brewery for supplying the ale.

A special thank you goes to Lauren, who has been extremely supportive, as always, throughout this whole process. Anyone who’s put on events will know that a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes and luckily Lauren has always been there to help.

Lauren and my dad

Lauren and my dad











As promised, I said I would list all of our sponsors individually and provide links to their websites. Thanks again for your generosity.

Brightwater Brewery
Zizzi Guildford
Jamie’s Italian
Wagamamas Guildford
Yvonne Arnaud
KOKO Hair Salon
Moey Beauty
Sullivan Window Cleaning