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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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
Guildford
Surrey
GU1 4JN

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!

When?

Bank Holiday Weekend
Sunday 25th May 2014

7 – 9pm

Where?

The Stoke Function Room
Stoke Road
Guildford
GU1 4NJ

Cost?

£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
or
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…

£1,164!

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
SignFirm.com
HammerJacK

Blood, Sweat and Cheers!

We left for London on Saturday morning and headed straight for The London Marathon Expo. The marathon weekend starts as soon as you walk through those doors to the famous London Marathon theme tune – ‘The Trap’ by Ron Goodwin. We queued for a few minutes, before it was time to sign on the dotted line. With my running number in hand, we made our way to the Parkinson’s stand to meet Bill and the team. On my way out, I passed an Adidas stand selling sunglasses. I wouldn’t say I’m much of a big spender – I like my gadgets but I don’t waste money. Did I need a pair of sunglasses? Well, as soon as I put them on I was sold, and as I work outside, I felt they were perfectly justified!

We checked into the Ibis City London Hotel in Tower Hill. Instantly, I spotted other marathon runners. They almost give you that look as if to say ‘he’s running it’. It adds to the whole marathon experience, mixing with other people and sharing stories from races of the past. Our initial impression was that the hotel was very good. The room was clean, it had good facilities and breakfast was being served from 4am! I was keen, but not that keen.

I laid out my kit and checked I had everything ready and in place. Everything was good except for my Garmin, which started reverse charging. It seems this is a known problem and luckily after a few hours on charge, it managed to sort itself out. To say I was relieved, would be an understatement.

Ready for action!

Ready for action!

I always eat my last main meal a few hours earlier than usual to give my body time to digest before the morning. We booked a table at Zizzi, Tower Hill. I didn’t want to stuff myself full, so half a garlic bread and a bowl of spaghetti bolognese was more than enough.

Hmm... Pasta, pasta or more pasta?

Hmm… Pasta, pasta or more pasta?

I woke up at 5am – even though it was an hour earlier than I’d planned, it was by far the best nights sleep I’d ever had before a marathon. I suddenly felt slightly nervous… I had been completely relaxed in the weeks during and even the night before. There was no doubt that this was down to training. I had trained harder than ever this year, running further than I’d ever managed on my own and had been strict when it came to food and drink. I wasn’t scared or worried, I just wanted to get there on the start line and finish with a new PB.

We went down to breakfast… which was a disaster. There was no porridge and no edible bananas as they were green. I made do with a couple of slices of toast and a coffee. Good thing I’d packed a couple of bananas just incase! You would have thought the hotel would have provided the perfect start for their guests, especially as some of them were from overseas! Embarrassing to say the least and not only that, but at £9 a head, it was a disgrace!

The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

We jumped on the tube at Tower Hill and made our way to the DLR. On route we met Mark who lives in New York City – he’s in my marathon film, wearing the blue jacket as we head for the escalators. He ran Boston Marathon last year and finished 7 minutes before the bombs were set off. I can’t imagine how it would have felt to be so close to such a tragic event.

Mark from NYC

Mark from NYC

I arrived at the runners village and found some space to organise myself. I finished sorting out my bag making sure I had all my running gels and drinks before putting my stuff onto the lorry. A few minutes later I realised I had left my headphones in the pocket of my jacket, which was now in the bag! I struggle to run without music at the best of times, let alone during a marathon. Thankfully, the staff were able to find my bag and I was able to get them.

On my way to Greenwich Park

On my way to Greenwich Park

The time had come. I was on the red start line with my GoPro in hand. I had been filming all morning, as you’ll see in my marathon video. Mo Farah had just been announced and the race was about to kick off… 3, 2, 1 go! We all walked forward, slowly making our way towards the start. 10 minutes later, I crossed the line and started my Garmin. I’ve since found out that it took over 20 minutes for the last of the masses to start the race!

I was one mile in. I felt confident, the sun was shining and there was a cool breeze in the air. The residents from East London had lined the streets to cheer us on, I’d often hear ‘come on, Lee!’ I captured many of these moments on my GoPro. Incase you haven’t heard of a GoPro before, it’s a small camera that’s mainly used to film sporting activities and is often referred to as ‘the world’s most versatile camera’. I had planned to give the GoPro to Lauren at Mile 6, however it wasn’t causing me any problems and I wanted to film as much as possible.

The first cheering point - mile 6

The first cheering point – mile 6

I was still feeling fresh as I approached Cutty Sark. Lauren and the first Parkinson’s cheering stand were coming up. I couldn’t wait to see them all. The noise was getting louder as we neared the charity stands. I could see the Parkinson’s flags up in the distance. I moved over to the left so that I could get a good shot on my camera as I ran past. If you look closley, you’ll see Lauren a bit confused as to why I didn’t stop and give her the camera – I was having too much fun filming and didn’t want to miss out on any golden opportunities.

Mile 6 - Amazing support!

Mile 6 – Amazing support!

At mile 7 things took a slight turn for the worse. I felt some pain in my right ankle… I ignored it, hoping that it would pass. It was now clear that we were in for a hot one. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky – good thing I bought the sunglasses. I had fallen into a comfortable pace of around 9:20 min/miles. It was slightly slower than I’d wanted for this early on, although I thought if I could keep this up, I was in for a new PB for sure.

I had reached the halfway point in 2:02. There was still a long way to go and it wasn’t getting any cooler. The pain in my ankle was getting worse. I wouldn’t call it an “injury” it was more of an ache, like you’d expect to feel after 20 miles, as opposed to just 7. I was landing my foot slightly differently to to avoid the pain, which could have been a bad move as it could have lead to further pain or injury elsewhere.

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

Mile 16 was the most mentally challenging point of the race. It had been 10 miles since Lauren cheered me on at the first Parkinson’s stand and I was 10 miles away from finishing. Another problem had developed over the last few miles. I looked down at my vest to see a huge patch of blood. My plasters had fallen off of my nipples, which had resulted in some chaffing. This is a common problem for runners… you will see the blood in some of the photos. I was more concerned about the pain in my ankle and there are far worse places to chafe, so it was really no issue.

I kept telling myself ‘eyes on the prize’ and to ‘battle through the pain’. I had just turned on my music when I heard someone screaming ‘Come on Leeeeeee!’ in the background. I looked over to the left and saw Hannah, Lauren’s brothers girlfriend with her mum. It really helped and gave me the boost I needed. A few minutes later, I passed Lauren and her family all cheering as I ran through the streets of Canary Wharf. Shortly after, I started feeling weak. I felt a tingly sensation in my finger tips and legs. I walked for a few minutes an washed an energy gel down with some water – I instantly felt better. Making that pit stop and refuelling was key and it carried me through the next couple of miles.

Mile 19 - Canary Wharf

Mile 19 – Canary Wharf  - Amazing!

I had just passed mile 22 – this is where the race really starts. I had 4 miles to go, my legs were killing and I had to dig deep. I kept saying, ‘just one foot in front of the other’ and ‘you can do this’. I was so close to finishing, but I knew this was make or break. If i was going to get a knew PB, I has to keep on going, no matter what. I passed the final Parkinson’s stand at mile 25. I was well on my way to securing a 4th London Marathon medal. I started filming the crowds of people and thanking them for their support. This gave me a huge adrenaline rush and carried me through to those final 385 yards. I turned the corner, waved to Her Majesty and ran towards the finish line. I had done it… my 4th London Marathon and a new PB – official time 4:23.

Crossing the line in 4:23 - a new PB!

Crossing the line in 4:23 – a new PB!

The medal was placed around my neck and I smiled. I had done it – but I felt sick. I sipped at the cold water I had been given from inside the goody bag and slowly made my way towards The Strand Hotel. It was a long and slow walk, but eventually I started feeling better and made my way down the stairs. I walked in to a round of applause and cheers – it was amazing! Thank you. Lauren’s mum Jackie passed me a lemonade and some biscuits and I went off to have a massage, followed by a shower. It felt much tougher than the last two marathons, nothing will compare to that of the first when I got injured early on. I think the heat played a massive factor this year but all in all, it was a brand new PB and an truly enjoyable experience.

You can help too

A lot of people have asked me how they can help. I would LOVE to see as many of my family, friends and customers at our Party For Parkinson’s on 26th April.

Full details can be found on the flyer below. It’s going to be a fantastic day of live music, local ale, bbq (including pulled pork) and bouncy castles for the kids. Tickets are on sale now at only £5 per adult and kids (under 12) go free!

To buy a ticket, simply sponsor me here £5 for each ticket and we will hold them for you on the door. We would really like to know number advance, so if you’re coming please let me know :)

www.virginmoneygiving.com/sullivan

www.virginmoneygiving.com/sullivan

Thank you

I’d like to finish by saying a massive thank you to all family, friends and everyone who has supported with words of encouragement and donated to my page. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Parkinson’s UK for letting me running 4 years on the trot!

Maybe next year will be 5?

The Weyfield Mini Marathon

I’d like to tell you about an event we held last week at Weyfield Primary Academy. A couple of weeks back I was thinking about how could we involve Weyfield again to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease. You may remember that last year, during Parkinson’s awareness week, we organised for 450 pairs of shoes to be placed in a spiral across the playground. I had an idea to hold a ‘mini marathon’ and after a meeting with Assistant Headteacher, Mrs. Mack the ‘Weyfield Mini Marathon’ was born.

We called the whole school to an assembly on Wednesday morning. I ran through a presentation explaining what Parkinson’s Disease is, how it affects people and what we can do to help. The children were incredibly focused throughout the talk, with many of them asking questions and thinking up ways in which we can help. It was around this moment that I announced that we would ALL be taking part in our very own mini marathon at Weyfield. The children were really excited and couldn’t wait to take to the field.

Who are Parkinson's UK?

Who are Parkinson’s UK?

We had organised for the children to run set distances depending on their age. We tried staggering the year groups but as soon as they got outside they couldn’t wait to get going! We had no choice but to let them all run at once. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow… Some children ran 5 or 6 laps – almost 2 kilometres!

Order, order!

Order, order!

The whole school - raring to go!

The whole school – raring to go!

We finished off the event by awarding all 350 children with a gold medal and certificate thanking them for their support.

The Winners!

The Winners!

I’d like to say a special thank you to everyone at Weyfield who helped make this event happen. It was an amazing event that I’m sure left many children inspired to help and to even run marathons of their own one day.

Recovery

A couple of days after completing run 4 of ‘The Big 6′ I felt a slight groin strain on my right. A few days passed and there was still no improvement. I booked myself in with Danielle at Optimum Fitness (you can reach Danielle on twitter, highly recommend @dssportstherapy) She was quickly able to diagnose the problem. It seems that once again, my tight glutes would come back to haunt me. After a good massage on my legs and a couple of exercises to do in the evenings I felt confident that I would recover in time for the race. With only 3 weeks away from the day, I made a conscious decision not to run another long run, meaning that run 5 and 6 would not happen. I think this slight injury was a way of my body telling me that enough was enough and it was definitely time to enjoy the taper period and let it recover.

The injury has now healed and I’m feeling in good shape. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks running much shorter distances. On Tuesday I ran 4 miles in 30:45 which was an amazing time for me – proof that the taper does work!

Fastest 4 mile run ever

Fastest 4 mile run ever

Party For Parkinson’s 2014

We’ve been really busy these past couple of weeks organising our main event for this year, Party For Parkinson’s 2014. The local ale has been ordered and the gazebo has arrived. More and more companies have donated some excellent raffle prizes too. I’ve even bought a new BBQ – get ready for some top food!

We’re also pleased to announce that ‘HammerJacK’ will be performing a live set for us. They’ll be showcasing their brand new EP – so don’t miss out on that.

HammerJacK

HammerJacK

I’ll leave you with this image…

Pulled pork and BBQ chicken - just a selection of grub that will be on offer.

Pulled pork and BBQ chicken – just a selection of grub that will be on offer.

You can buy tickets from me directly or online here at £10 per adult – kids under 12 go free!

Waiting for a train…

Sunday afternoon marked run 4 of ‘The Big 6′. After a great run out to Ash the previous week, I decided to run it again, only this time I’d run a little bit further.

20 miles

I slept in slightly later than usual as we’d been in Brighton the night before to see Russell Brand – which was brilliant! I set off at around 10am. The sun was shining but there was a fairly strong breeze which helped. Almost immediately after leaving the house I could feel how tight my legs were; my calves especially. I kept a steady pace and pushed through. It wasn’t long before I’d warmed up and they felt much looser.

I was a good 6 miles in when I began to feel quite comfortable. I planned to run 20 miles and given the fact I was tired, I was going to make damn sure to reach 10 miles before turning on the spot and running home. I reached the level crossing at Ash, but was only 9 miles in. Unfortunately a train was coming in, so I had to wait around 5 minutes for it to pass. Soon enough, the barriers raised and I started running again before finally reaching mile 10 down in Tongham, Surrey. At this point I felt great. The slight discomfort in my legs had completely passed and I was running at a stead 9:30 min/mile pace.

Lee Sullivan

Waiting for a train?

I called into my nan’s house on the way back and filled up my water bottle. She had cold water in the fridge waiting for me. If there was ever a day I needed cold water, it was Sunday. By midday the breeze had died down and I was running in the sun, it was a hot one. As I approached Guildford, some 17 miles in, I started to struggle. By this point my run had turned into a slight plod, nevertheless I pushed on through and made it home in 3:20. Although my time was slightly slower than I was expecting, it was still fairly good considering how tired I’ve been feeling.

That’s it, run 4 of ‘The Big 6′ complete. Just a couple more to go and then I can rest…………….

Running on empty

My legs were very tight after running Reading Half last Sunday. I went for a very gentle 3 mile run the following day to try and loosen them up. It was quite relaxing. I managed to squeeze in another couple of runs – a gentle 5 miler followed by a much quicker one on Friday.

My plan now is to run a couple of times during the week to keep fit and concentrate on covering the long distances at the weekend. I always make at least one weekly run a fast paced one. It’s the fast paced/interval runs that have greatly improved my fitness over the years and no doubt paved the way to quicker marathon times.

Sunday

I woke up to the sun streaming through my bedroom curtains. I got up, had my usual morning shower followed by two slices of toast and a coffee. I had planned a different route through Normandy to Ash, as my usual route to Woking would be difficult due to the inaugural Surrey Half Marathon. It made a nice change to run somewhere completely different. I set off at around 9:30, holding a couple of SIS energy gels, shot blocks and Lucozade drinks.

The plan was to run 18 miles. I knew that it would be tough as soon as I left the house. My calf muscles were still aching from the weekend before and I struggled to find a steady, comfortable pace. What made it harder was that this route was much hillier than what I’m used to. I avoided looking at my phone to see how many miles I had covered until I reached Normandy… 6 miles… I felt I had ran a lot further. It could have been because I’ve driven this route hundreds of times but never ran it.

The scenic route

The scenic route

The first 6 miles were the hardest, and I’ll tell you why. At 6 miles in, you’ve been running for almost an hour. If you’re tired and struggling to find a steady pace (as I was) you feel like you have ran further than you actually have. You still have 3 miles to run before you can turn around and run home. When I’m faced with this situation I trick myself. Instead of thinking, I’m 6 miles in and I have 12 to go… I think, just 3 more miles and then I can turn around and run back… at that point, I would have covered 9 miles and would only have 9 left and because I have already ran the route, I know I can do it! It’s all in the mind.

I was running back though Normandy when I realised I had ran out of water! I’m usually good at judging how much I’m going to need, but with the hot weather, I clearly needed more. I called Lauren and she came to the rescue and met me on route. I turned the corner and passed Rokers when I saw her up ahead – my very own water station was there waiting! By this time my legs were feeling better and I had managed to find a steady 9:30 minute mile pace.

 

Lauren came to the rescue

Lauren came to the rescue

I had just 4 miles to go, the sun was still shining and I felt comfortable. I continued my run through Stoughton knowing that there was only a short distance to go. I started to think about what I was going to eat when I got home. I arrived home with a new 18 mile PB of 2:59!

Thanks for reading, if you’re looking for ways to support then please come to our event ‘Party For Parkinson’s 2014′. You can buy tickets here or from me personally. Check out our Facebook page for further details.