Andy Douglas

Inverclyde AC / North Highland Harriers

PB’s –14.28 5k, 29.46 10k, 49.56 10M, 65.38 HM, 2.25.47 M

Power of 10 Profile

Achievements –

2 x WMRA World Cup winner (2015 & 2019)
8 x World Mountain Running Championships representing GB (2014 to present)
7 x European Mountain Running Championships representing GB (2014 to present)
6 x British Mountain Running Champion (2014, 2016 to 2019, 2022)

World Masters Mountain Running Champion (M35) 2022; European Masters Mountain & Trail Running Champion (M35) 2023
Home Countries Cross Country International winner (2016)
Scottish National Trail Champion (2014)
4 x Scottish National Cross Country medallist (2nd 2012 & 2016, 3rd 2018 & 2022)

I first joined my local athletics club, Caithness AAC, when I was 11 and tried my hand at almost every athletic discipline in the book before finally realising my strengths lay in distance running. During my time at Glasgow University I began to develop an interest in running longer distances, and towards the end of my time there I was mainly competing in 5km, 10km and half marathon road races.

Having finished university I spent a gap year working and travelling around New Zealand and experiencing a wide variety of road, trail and mountain running. Coming back to Scotland in late 2009, I teamed up with Sophie who would coach me from that point onwards. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 became the main goal and I set about training for marathons in an attempt to achieve the qualifying time that would reward me with a place on team Scotland.

Whilst I made some progress in achieving 10k and half marathon PB’s that would indicate that achieving the standard would be a very realistic prospect, a number of injury set-backs over the years meant that ultimately the goal would not be reached. However, the persistent injuries forced Sophie and I to think of more innovative approaches to training, and this took me in the direction of off-road running and specifically competing in hill and mountain races.

Starting with a good endurance base from the years of road running, and with a bit of pace over the flat surfaces, the transition to hill running was pretty seamless and I was fortunate enough to have almost instant success in being selected to compete for GB in European and World Championships at the first time of asking in 2014. I am still a regular on the cross country circuit and occasionally compete on the roads as well, but having now the greater success on the hills and mountains that is where the main aims and goals lie when I discuss my plans with Sophie each year.

We work very well as a team and Sophie’s experience and expertise in endurance training has helped immensely in my transition to mountain running. She has always adopted a flexible approach with me taking into consideration my other responsibilities in day-to-day life. This is ideal for me and I believe my longevity in the sport is testament to what our successful coach/athlete relationship is built on.

Together we continue to push the boundaries of training and continue to learn and develop our approach to try and achieve better outcomes year on year.

Michael Cayton
Salford Harriers
PB’s – 14:47 5k, 30:27 10k, 70.02 HM

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Achievements – 6th Place and First England Counter – International Snowdon Race 2019

3 world Junior Mountain Running championship representing England – 1997 – 1999

English British Junior Mountain Running champion 1998

“I represented England Athletics Team at both Mountain and Cross Country between the 1997 – 1999 and went on to represent England Senior Team in 2000 before taking time out of running.

In 2015, I decided to start running again to gain some fitness and fell in love with the sport once again.

Sophie has been coaching me since 2019 and in this time I have found that her approach is refreshing and flexible which allows me to fit my training around my family and career.

I found our initial discussions very motivating and open and allowed me to discuss what I wanted from running and my weakness that allowed Sophie to tailor my training plan to suit my personal needs, that included a mixture of disciplines, including speed work, hills and gym work.

Sophie’s attention to detail is second to none and an example of this is she saw a picture of me running and noticed that my form was impacting my performance and the need to work on my core, which was included within my training plan. These little things can make a massive difference when trying to achieve your goals.

I could not recommend a better coach than Sophie, she has excellent knowledge, a thirst to learn and wants the best for her athletes.  Another thing that I like about Sophie as a coach is that she always tries the sessions before to ensure that each session is planned to help develop each runners goal.”

Emma Dunnett
North Highland Harriers
PBS – 37.58 10K, 1.23.36 HM

Power of 10 Profile

Achievements – 1st Scottish Junior Road Race Championships 2010, 1st Celtic Cross Country International, Antrim 2010, 2nd Junior Home International Mountain Championships, Ireland 2010, 1st Scottish National Cross Country 2011, 1st Scottish Interdistrict Championships 2011, 15th Virgin London Mini-Marathon 2011, 28th World Mountain Running International Youth Cup, Slovenia 2011, 28th World Mountain Running International Youth Cup, Glendalough Ireland 2012, 3rd National 4K Championships 2012, 1st Scottish National Trail Championships 2014, 7th Karrimor Trail International, Keswick 2014

“I have been in the most unique and fortunate position to have Sophie, my Mum, as my coach. As a junior athlete, I saw this as a great advantage to me as I got the expertise from an experienced coach coupled with the understanding of how I worked best as an athlete, as Sophie knew me the best. I started running at the age of eight, and began structured training when I turned twelve. Since then, under the influence, encouragement and support from Sophie, I have achieved twenty-seven Scotland caps across all endurance disciplines; cross-country, trial racing, hill racing, road racing and track, within the space of four years.

Training was structured, which suited me perfectly. The training programme Sophie devised had plenty of variation to keep training interesting, and I was involved in the whole process. I understood why I was doing certain sessions, what I was gaining from these sessions and therefore, even at a young age I could determine what races I would be aiming to peak for.

I had always had success in the North Leagues, competing against other athletes from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire and along the East coast. My first sign of success further afield, competing against the North, East and West District athletes, was at the Interdistrict Cross Country Championships, which takes place in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh in January each year. I crossed the line in silver medal position, aged fourteen and completely unaware of what I had just achieved. Having Sophie with me every step of the way made it even more special. Her support does not stop after training has been devised, she is there each step of the way in preparation towards your goals and aspirations for both training and racing.

For a short time, I experienced another coaching structure. A set up I had sourced out myself to refresh my training. This was after I had been out of structured training and racing for some time due to injury. However, this new set up lasted for roughly nine months before I once again, was taken under the wing of Sophie. The best decision I had made, as five months down the line I achieved a personal best of 1:23:36 in the Inverness Half Marathon.

Sophie’s understanding of a successful coach-athlete relationship is one that has been developed over a long period. Sophie as an athlete herself, understands the importance of this relationship and the ultimate success of both training and racing that you can achieve through fine-tuned athlete-coach dynamics.

Although I do not race as competitively as I did as a junior, and my focus with running has altered as I have moved into the seniors, I retain the same support as I have always had from Sophie and together we focus on training to maintain running as a sport that I love and thoroughly enjoy no matter what level I aim to participate at in the future.”

Matt Knowles

Lancaster and Morecambe Athletics Club / Edinburgh Uni Hares and Hounds

PB’s – 5k – 14.52min

Achievements – 5th World Mountain Running Championships, Argentina, 2019, 2nd Scottish University XC Champs, 2021, 7th European XC Trials, Liverpool, 2021, 1st U20 East District XC Championships

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“I started running competitively at age 13 for Lancaster and Morecambe AC, a track focused athletics club. By the age of 15 I had drifted from the track to the hills where I started fell racing competitively. I first competed for England Under 17’s in the 2018 Junior Home International Championships which kick started my competitive mountain running. After racing in the U20 race at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2019, I started preparing for the transition from the junior age categories to the seniors. 

I approached Sophie in February 2021 to assist with this transition as well as to provide more specific off-road coaching. My goals for the season revolved around racing for GB in the 2021 European and World Mountain Running Championships and Sophie immediately got to work setting a training programme to incorporate effective but interesting hill specific sessions. The transition from working with a single coach at my club to working with both my former coach and Sophie was well communicated and efficient. Sophie’s wealth of coaching experience, particularly with hill running and longer endurance events was hugely beneficial, even more so for a young and inexperienced athlete like myself. As a competitive runner herself, I find that Sophie is able to understand the difficulties that come with training and racing which allows us to communicate well as we’re always on the same page. 

Sophie’s sessions have always been engaging, well thought out and they progressively load from week to week. Sophie is excellent at talking about why a particular session is useful. A good example of this would be changing my hill sessions to continuous reps including fast downhill recoveries as I was preparing for mountain races with undulations and laps. Whilst Sophie’s sessions are interesting and keep you on your toes, they are tough and she isn’t afraid of squeezing every second out of your legs! I would highly recommend Sophie as a coach and look forward to another season working with her.”

Claire Bruce

Metro Aberdeen RC

PB’S: 5K – 17:04 10K – 34:45 HM – 75:54 MARATHON – 2:54:30

2018 – 3rd place Scottish half marathon championships
2023 – 1st place North District Scotland Hill Running Championships
2023 – 1st place Scottish Mid Trail Championships
2023 – 3rd place East District Scottish XC Championships
2024 – 3rd place Scottish Half Marathon Championships

Scotland Selection: 2022 Half Marathon at Antrim Coast Half Marathon

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I first started running in 2014. I was coming to the end of my time at university and realised I had very little to speak about in job interviews so I entered a marathon. I didn’t end up running in the marathon as an old football injury came back but I caught the running bug from the training I had done. From then I joined Metro Aberdeen Running Club and ran my first races in 2015.

I regularly attended club training and was coached by one of the club’s coaches for a couple of years where I went onto break 40 mins in 10k by 2016 and 90 minutes for the half marathon in 2017.

Fast forward to 2022 I felt like my running had begun to plateau and I was looking to try and reach the next level. I reached out to Sophie and we had an initial discussion to learn a bit more about each other – I find it really important that the athlete / coach relationship is open and collaborative. It is important to me that it is a two way relationship and from the call it was clear that that was part of Sophie’s philosophy too. Sophie will always listen to your thoughts on what she is proposing and will either tweak your plan accordingly or clearly explain why that’s not a good idea at that point in time.

Under Sophie’s guidance my running has progressed achieving PBs over 5k, 10k and half marathon, being selected for my first Scotland vest on the road, and winning my first national title on the trails. I believe Sophie is unique in that her experience does not just lie in one discipline of running but extends to road, hill, trail and cross country and she manages to get the best out of you over all disciplines over a short period of time. This was exemplified for me in 2023 when we had a focus on hill running in summer where I managed to win the north of Scotland championships race in only my 3rd hill race, before moving back to the roads where I used the strength gained from the hills by running over a one minute pb in the 10k, before moving onto the trails where I won my first national title and culminating with my first individual district cross country medal in December. Over that period of time Sophie meticulously planned out my training so we could achieve a good result in each of these disciplines. As part of that planning process Sophie also made accommodations for my work commitments and factored in the fact that I also had to find time to study for professional qualifications during this period too.

Sophie has a knack of drilling down on the non-negotiables in your training programme and also knows how to structure your plan to get the best out of you. You know when the plan comes through that it will be well thought out and individual to your own needs with each session serving a purpose. She takes the time to really listen to you as both a person and an athlete and is able to create balance with them both.

I feel like we have only scratched the surface on what will hopefully be a really exciting journey and the more we work together the more we are learning what does and doesn’t work!

Claire Dunn
Metro Aberdeen Running Club

PBs: 5k – 23.28min, 10k – 50min, HM – 1.48hr, M – 3.44hr, 50k – 5.10.04hr

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“I had thought about getting a coach for a while and a few of my friends highly recommended PET to me. After following PET on social media I could see why my friends said Sophie was the coach for me. Hills and endurance is what I love to do and I also follow Sophie’s Moto of trusting the process.

After having our second baby I found it hard to coach myself, even though I’m fitness coach. So I decided that it was time to have a coach and I didn’t think twice about going with PET.

Sophie has removed the thought process of working out how to train smart. I know my training plan is not generic, it’s written for me to fit around my life whilst working towards what I’m looking to achieve.

My training in the early stages was managing postnatal rehab whilst building strength and fitness levels so that my journey back to running was done safely, which was very important to me. I knew I could trust Sophie with my training in the fact that when I communicated I needed less impact at times then she would work around this by adapting training to suit. Once I was able to add sessions in this put me out of my comfort zone, but at the right level. I would never have done some of the sessions that she has set me but now that I understand the sessions and can see improvements in my running I’m up for doing the work (sometimes with gritted teeth, but always smiling once they are done).

Over and above Sophie’s great coaching, she is very approachable, great on communication and has the perfect balance of being empathetic for when you need to rest but also very good at holding you accountable.

We’ve not been training for long but it’s safe to say over the last 7 months I have come back to running stronger. I’m back racing 50KM’s and back running in the hills. Looking forward to continuing to work towards getting me running further and faster.”

Scott Garson
Orkney Athletic and Running Club
PB’S 20.20 5K, 41.35 10K, 130.00 HM, 107.43 10 MILE, 3.27.08 M, 2.23.47 30K, 4.15.15 50K

“I was never a runner or particularly athletic in my youth but tried my hand at the usual team sports. I especially enjoyed football and was proud to represent my home island of Shapinsay both as a league team and in the Parish Cup. I started running in 2013 as a way of losing weight as my metabolism had sadly decided to retire early. I immediately felt I had more energy and better about myself. Running was quite sporadic but I kept building up the miles.

I ran a few races over the next few years mostly over half marathon distance getting my pb down from almost 2hrs to 1.42.27 for the Hoy Half 2015. 2016 saw Orkney gain its own and really quite hilly marathon The St Magnus Marathon. I decided that I would give it a bash and achieved my initial goal of a sub 4hr time with 3:55:10.

Now feeling like an accomplished runner I decided along with my lifelong friend Willy Gibson to try an ultra in 2017 and entered the Ultra Tour of Edinburgh 50k. Finishing together in 6.36.42 This was a fantastic experience and led on to us completing the Ochil Ultra 2018 and Highland Fling in 2019. Many beginner mistakes were made along the way but the seed was sown and I knew I wanted to keep competing in ultra marathons.

Unfortunately, 2020 saw the arrival of Covid-19 and no racing was possible. I had been successful in the ballot for the 2020 Highland Fling so decided to run a short trail loop near my house on ‘Fling Day’ completing 69 loops for 53 miles of a virtual Fling in 10.23.43. Later in 2020 with restrictions lifting Willy suggested we run all the Orkney Mainland sections of the St Magnus Way. This turned out to be 57 miles taking us 13.33.59 and was the first time it had been run in one day.

I went into 2021 at a bit of a loss. With Covid-19 still around I had no firm running plans. I decided my main goal was to run 2000 miles in the calendar year. I struggled for motivation for the next few months. I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong but realised I had become too focused on the end result. I wasn’t enjoying running as it had lost its purpose day to day. I also felt a burden trying to plan out my running and keep improving, I had plateaued.   

I heard of Sophie through word of mouth from athletes I knew locally who were coached by her. In late April 2021 I plucked up the courage to email her, she replied saying unfortunately she was full but was intrigued by my situation as I run ultras but live on a tiny island. We had a further phone conversation and she agreed to take me on. A training plan soon followed and immediately I felt less burdened and more focused.

From that point forward, I have made steady and at times quite dramatic improvements. My training planner is populated a month in advance and any races I have entered (or been encouraged to enter!) are added as a more distant goal. I have regained focus, motivation and regained my love for running. It has meant training hard in hard sessions and easy in easy sessions. This sounds simple but is something I had struggled to do myself. My weekly mileage has increased but my overall fatigue level is less.

After starting 2021 with no firm racing plans Sophie’s influence meant I had many start lines. This has greatly improved my race craft and developed me as a runner. Overall this has also allowed me to enjoy my preferred longer distances, to race and compete rather than simply completing them. I placed much higher than my usual mid pack finishes too. Highlights were 17th at the Speyside Way Ultra with a 50k pb 4.33.20, followed 2 weeks later by 3rd in The Harray Half Marathon in a pb 1.30.00, then finishing the season with 30th (10th Vet) in The Dava Way Ultra with a 30k pb 2.23.47, a marathon pb 3.27.08 and another 50k pb 4.15.15

It’s clear to see Sophie’s approach has transformed my running. Her easy going and flexible approach allows me to fit my training around other commitments and also Shapinsay’s lack of hills and space. She is never pushy and has allowed me to find my own path whilst gently encouraging me along the way. She has also developed a club feel by connecting her athletes through pre race chat groups and training groups on social media. This is very beneficial for someone training mostly alone. I now believe in myself like never before and most important of all I believe in the process!”

Darren Oag
North Highland Harriers
PB’S – 5k – 17:15, 10k – 35:20, Half Marathon – 76:42, Marathon – 2:51:37

Power of Ten

I first got a little taste for endurance running in 2020 when I signed up for the Inverness half with my partner for a bit of fun….
Once life settled in 2021 I got back into running again, after a spell of muddling through some form of training myself I decided I wanted to take things a lot more seriously, so I contacted the P.E.T team!

Shortly after Mike and I arranged a phone call to discuss my running goals and how we would achieve them together. At this time my only goal was to be a sub 3 hour Marathon runner.
My goal was achieved which was really just the beginning as Mike has continued to develop me, pushed me on and taught me to focus on the process. Its not always been straightforward and constant PB’s all the way, when I’ve had a few rough patches Mike has been there to pick me up. That’s when you need your coach during the rough patches!

There is no doubt Mike’s attitude to his own personal training has had a huge effect on me over the years and has changed me from a person who liked to run into a committed athlete who wants to get the absolute best out of myself. Each year I’ve been part of the P.E.T team I have achieved new PB’s that I didn’t think was possible when I set out on this running journey.

Colin Barnett
Orkney Athletic Club / Orkney Runners
PBs – 18.36 5k, 38.03 10k, 1.29.04 HM 

Power of Ten

Achievements –  2018 – Highland Fling, 60th – 9.27.25hrs. T2019 – Triple Crown – Highland Fling, 38th – 9.07hrs, West Highland Way, 27th – 20.17hrs, Devil O the Highlands , 10th – 6.55hrs

“I took up running in 2016, from being a complete non-runner.  It was my way of dealing with life issues that had challenged me for years and that I was unable to control.  Running was initially about me running short distances, early in the morning before anyone would see me. Despite running being tough, the feeling of fulfilment was instance and the mileage I covered increased as I got stronger and fitter.

In 2017 I entered my first race, the Kirkwall 10k finishing in 47.45min.  I was over the moon and this marked the start of me seeing myself as a runner.  Fast forward to 2018 and I completed my first ultra, the Highland Fling.  In 2019 I complete the Triple Crown; Highland Fling, West Highland Way and Devil O’ The Highlands in a single year but I still knew there was more to learn so that I could improve on my performances rather than staying at the same level.  

Sophie started coaching me in November 2019, after she came to Orkney for a weekends Ultra training camp and it was like an instant weight was lifted off my shoulders.  From this chance meeting, I know have a structure to my training, I have focus to the sessions and although not able to race currently, I know that my fitness level has improved significantly from the times I am recording in training. As well as the benefits to my physical health, I have also gained a confidence and belief in myself.

Before having Sophie as a coach, I did not do many quality sessions, but instead trained with a focus on volume.  I did not do any faster paced sessions as I was working towards ultras so believed it was all about miles.  I now love speed work, with a great mix of hours in the hills, flat and hill rep sessions.  I know that balancing the quality of my training plan has contributed to my current fitness level.  I have also learnt how to use my garmin and the lap function:-), how to pace sessions and how to recover well.  Sophie builds in flexibility to all of her plans and responds quickly to all of my ……….many questions.”

Ali Young
 Club: Ross County AC

Current pbs: 800m 2.07.1min, 1500m 4.20.1min, 3000m 9.37.62min, 5k road 15.57min

Power of Ten

I originally approached Sophie in late 2022, after hitting a wall and beginning to plateau with my own training. Sophie is the first coach that I’ve had and she has been able to offer me so much advice and knowledge which I wouldn’t have been able to gain by myself.

Like most athletes I am very competitive and with Sophie’s help I have been able to set new PB’s in every event I’ve competed in. My most proud being taking my 5k time from 16:42 down to 15:57 and I still feel that there’s plenty more to chip away at with her guidance.

Sophie’s training is both enjoyable and challenging and she makes sure to fully explain every step and is great at adapting training, especially at short notice.

Through our time together I have found her advice and knowledge invaluable. Not only has she helped me become a stronger athlete physically, but I feel even more so a mentally stronger athlete. I’ve learnt how to not only deal with injuries but also see the positives in them and see growth in my resilience.

She is very understanding, especially when listening to my lengthy post session voice notes and giving her feedback!
I really couldn’t recommend a better coach.