Sophie Dunnett, Mike Cayton and Andy Douglas

Qualifications / Courses


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)

UESCA Ultra Running Coach (2022)

Fitness Training Scotland Active IQ Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing (2023)

EIQ Certified Nutrition Coach (2024)

First Aid at Work, UHI NWH (2023)

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


Qualifications / Courses 

BTec National Diploma in Exercise Sports Science (2000)

UKA Leader in Running Fitness (2023)


Qualifications / Courses

UKA Leader in Running Fitness (2023)

200Hrs Yin Yang Yoga Teacher Training (2024)

Awards / Nominations 

Nominated Performance Athlete of the Year, Scottish Athletics 2016 & 2019

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. 


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.


I started working with Sophie in 2009 and that was my first, and has been my only since then, formal coach/athlete partnership. I feel like I’ve always been a goal-driven individual wanting to set my own path in terms of what I want to achieve, but I understand that these things are never accomplished alone and that’s why its so important to have someone like Sophie whom I can trust to help guide me when its needed. What I’ve learned from Sophie, and what I’d like to think I can too bring to the table, is an empathetic, individual-driven approach to the athlete/coach partnership. I know that the way Sophie and I work with each other as a coach/athlete team is not the same way Sophie works with her other athletes, which takes into consideration

everyone’s varying life-circumstances, personalities and abilities. For me the key to striving to be the most effective coach is to empathise with someone’s roles and responsibilities outside of running, and then figure out a way to build a training programme that works around this. There’s no standard template, or copy and paste training sessions, but a realisation that training demands need to have varying degrees of flexibility around an athletes’ day-to-day life.

I worked in a busy, occasionally stressful, finance job between 2009 and 2024, and during that time I have had my most memorable running achievements. I am all too familiar with the work/life balancing act and the difficulty often faced in planning and being dedicated to a training programme. Sometimes I’ve got it right, other times I haven’t, but I do feel I have bagged a lot of experience that I am excited about passing on and helping others achieve their running goals, whatever they may be.

I completed my UKA Leader in Running Fitness in 2023, and I am due to undertake my Athlete To Coach Programme licensed by England Athletics in October 2024. I am also a qualified yoga teacher specialising in yoga sequences suitable for runners of all abilities.

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


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


I can just about remember the first time my Dad took me to my local athletics club, Caithness AAC; I must have been around 11 years old. Distance running wasn’t something that immediately grabbed my interest, I just wanted to try everything, even if my abilities at various different events were (to be generous here) somewhat modest… I loved being part of a club, the social interaction, but also that it was a sport that I could be in control of the outcome. Onto University and I began to appreciate that distance running was likely my calling and although still very much enjoying the outside-of-training social aspects, I had a desire to improve and what I considered at the time, a pipe-dream of representing Scotland.

A few years later, and not long after I started being coached by Sophie (2009), I was selected for my first Scottish international vest in the perhaps not-so-glamorous Dunfermline Half Marathon which was part of a Home Countries Road Running International series at the time. Following that was several years of mostly cross country and road racing with a step up to the marathon; during that time winning a number of Scottish international vests and national medals in those disciplines. There were difficult periods where preparations for the marathon didn’t go to plan, and I found myself in 2014 at a bit of a crossroads in terms of where I wanted my running career to take me next. I discovered then I was more at home in the hills and mountains and from there grew a passion for mountain and trail running.

Sophie and I worked together to adapt my training and over the course of the next decade I represented Great Britain at 7 x European Mountain Running Championships and 8 x World Championships, along with winning 6 x British Mountain Running Titles and 2 x World Mountain Running World Cup Series. Additionally in the past few years I have began to delve into the ultra running scene and have completed the Icelandic 55km Laugavegur Trail Race (winning in 2021, runner-up in 2022) and Scafell Pike Trail Marathon (runner-up 2021, 4th in 2022).

To see my running journey, check out my Power of Ten profile