Sophie Dunnett & Mike Cayton

Sophie Qualifications / Courses

Level 1 Assistant Coach, Scottish Athletics (2002), Level 2 Event Endurance Coach, Scottish Athletics (2002)

Coaching Children and Young People, Sports Coach UK (2003), Good Practice and Child Protection, Sports Coach UK (2006), Fueling Performers, Sports Coach UK (2007)

Sports Psychology Training, Coaching Highland (2008), Certificate in Foundation Studies in Exercise, James Watt College (2008)

Level 3 Performance Endurance Coach, UKA (2010)

Level 3 Theory Endurance Coach, UKA (2016)

Supporting Athletes with Eating Disorders, Scottish Athletics (2018), British Athletics Safeguarding in Athletics (2020) Emergency First Aid, Orkney College UHI (2020) Awards / Nominations – Sports Scotland Highlands and Islands Performance Coach of the Year 2013 Nominated Sports Scotland Performance Coach of the Year 2013 Nominated Performance Coach of the Year, Scottish Athletics 2015, 2016 & 2019 Awarded British Empire Medal, New Years Honours List 2021 Sophie – Coaching History I started coaching in a junior track and cross country club in 1987 when I returned home to the North of Scotland from University.  I did not set out to coach at the level that I currently do but I developed as a coach, as my athletes developed.  Along the way two things were fundamental to my ability to nurture and support my athletes; one was my continual knowledge development through the various coaching qualifications I have undertaken and two was the mentoring I was provided with from some of the best coaches and team managers in Scotland and the UK who have informed my beliefs.  As part of that cycle of development, I have been Head Coach at North Highland Harriers (NHH) since 2010. I am as comfortable supporting a club level athlete working towards personal best times as I am my GB athletes focused on performance on the international stage, and can adapt my style and technical coaching delivery to suit each.  I travel with athletes the length of Britain and Europe, and have team managed for Scottish Athletics which took me all over Britain with the International cross country and track teams.  I work with athletes on a one-to-one basis and you can access some of their running bios on the Testimonials page. Most of these athletes are coached online and at a distance, both within the UK and abroad.  I make regular trips away to coach groups of athletes on a face-to-face basis and to coach / crew at events they are competing at.  Sophie – Running achievements Well this won’t take long 🙂 In short I am a much more accomplished coach than I am an athlete but my running achievements have allowed me to coach from a technical and experiential perspective as opposed to just being able to read all the right manuals. I am not an exceptional athlete trying to tell you how I did it.  I am someone who has grown from an mediocre club level junior, to a reasonable standard club masters athlete over cross country, trails, road and ultras.  I have competed over every distance from 800m to ultras and duathlons and love the structure of a 10k as much as I thrive on the uniqueness of off road or bespoke distance or multi-day events.  My biggest achievement was as a member in the winning National Cross Country team as an Under 11 (honest they used to race U11 juniors at Nationals back in the old days). My worst race was a marathon but boy did I learn how not to do it which I will gladly share with anyone taking on this event for the first time.  I have coached an athlete to a 2.25.00 marathon which proves that you don’t always have to be able to do it yourself to coach it. I returned to training to compete in 2017 following a wonderful 24/7 commitment to two of my athletes over a number of years and am now chasing what I like to affectionately call OAP Pb’s.  Being a Master50 athlete has its advantages including a lovely pottery mug and a District 10K medal. I have also completed a number of trail and mountain ultras, again placing due to racing in the Masters age groups 🙂  I say all of this to emphasis my mantra to running, ‘Believe in the Process’.  As a coach and athlete, I am in a wonderful position of living by my beliefs and testing out theoretical hypothesis in real time.  I can draw parallels between coaching theories and application and have a real insight into the highs and lows of endurance running.  I am on the same journey as my athletes in fine tuning the process to get the best performances. To see my running journey, check out my Power of Ten profile Mike – Coaching History I have been fortunate to have been coached by Sophie for the last 2 years.  In this period my running times have improved drastically and we have developed a coaching relationship that is open but structured at the same time which allows me to achieve my goals but fit my training within family life and work commitments. As well as being coached by Sophie, she is also mentoring me as I work towards my own British Athletics coaching qualifications, I have gained years of experience from my own running and from Sophie through our coach/athlete relationship. I am always striving to better myself as an athlete and part of the process for this is reviewing the areas I need to develop to be a more rounded athlete and discussing how to areas to turn them into a strength. I am looking forward to passing on everything I have learnt to allow other runners to work towards achieving their goals. Mike – Running Achievements I started running at junior school but never really got into training until I was 17.  I was fortunate enough that I had guidance from a coach at the local running club and with their assistance I represented England in 3 Mountain Running Championships and a cross country European race. I went on to become the British and England Fell running champion in 1998. I also represented the England Mountain running team in 2000 at the International Snowdon Race. I fell out of love with running in the year 2000 and didn’t return to training until 2016, mainly to lose weight and get fit and that’s when the running bug struck again.  I didn’t have any guidance at that time and was continuously getting injured and ill and I felt as though I was not achieving my full potential. That change in (2017) when I started to work with a couple of coaches that worked on my (fitness), With their advice, help and guidance I started to see vast improvements, which culminated in representing England at the International Snowdon Race, where I finished 5th Overall (Part of the World Grand Prix Series) and the first English finisher. However, I knew that to progress and achieve my goals I would need to work with someone who could provide me with the coaching input with a structured and individualised training programme and training methods to allow me to get the returns for my training commitment. This is when I approached Sophie and we continue to work on getting the best results over various endurance disciplines.  To see my running journey, check out my Power of Ten profile