What made you decide to enter the Big Marathon Challenge (BMC)?
I have completed four marathons – London twice, Paris once and Dorchester Marathon in 2017. I have also completed one ultra, but I feel I have never really pushed myself and got the best possible time. When I saw the competition, I saw a real opportunity to achieve a fast time. I’m looking forward to the coaching. I know it will be tough juggling the training with my full-time job, but I’m excited by the challenge.
Tell us more about your running?
I’ve been running for 10 years. I started when I first qualified as a solicitor, as I wanted to counterbalance all the time spent sitting at a desk. I also felt it would help me cope with the stress of my job. And it’s worked! I love the time I spend outside and, since having my son, I have appreciated being able to run with him in a buggy and get my head around being a parent.
Are you fundraising for charity?
I will be raising money for the MS Society (mssociety.org.uk). My brother suffers from the illness and it has been hard to see him become debilitated by the condition. It has made me appreciate my physical ability and I’ve seen how important the work of the charity is in raising awareness of the illness and helping those who suffer.
How did you feel about being selected for the challenge?
I was in total shock that I had managed to win such an awesome prize and then equally terrified athaving to really push myself to achieve a PB. Once the shock wore off, I was just really excited to meet the other winners and Richard, and to start thinking about the goal ahead.
How was the recent BMC photoshoot?
It was surprisingly hard to have my photo taken so much without feeling self-conscious. However, the Women’s Running and ASICS teams were lovely. I was relieved that the kit wasn’t pink! I’m loving the thermal winter tights and long-sleeved top now the weather has turned cold.
What are you hoping to achieve on race day?
I am keen to test myself and see if I can get a personal best of 3hrs 30mins (my current PB is 3hrs 53mins). When I saw the competition, I saw a real opportunity to achieve a fast marathon time. When I was pregnant, so many people told me I wouldn’t be able to do as much when I had a child. Time is limited, but I have found myself to be more motivated. I still want to achieve goals and be a role model for my son.
Richard says: “Sophie is very determined and keen – despite having a demanding job and looking after her little one, too, she makes time for training. She has a very positive attitude. My biggest advice for her is to do some structured training and be more consistent. In the past, she’s not done so much threshold work or hill work and we’ve included that in her training. She’s looking for a very big improvement in time, so it’s a big jump. That said, in the past she’s not done a lot of training and her training has lacked structure.
“I’ve given her strength work to do and advised her that, before she increases her volume too much, she needs to get strong. She has some equipment at home too, so she can make sure she’s doing strength work for at least 35-40 minutes twice per week.
I have given her specific exercises to work the posterior muscles, such as glutes and hamstrings. I’ve also given her exercises like reverse lunges and made her strength work more specific to running. It’s also a case of ticking the boxes with the threshold running sessions. She’s used to running long distances already, so it’s just getting her running faster over that distance.”