Sophie hopes to inspire next gen of female athletes after 71 mile run
A YOUNG Moray woman is hoping to inspire the next generation of young female runners to come through in the area after a series of impressive feats.
Sophie Ranson (23) from Lossiemouth has just completed her third ultra marathon after running 71 miles from Fort William to Invernes, starting at 1am, in a time of 16 hours 16 minutes and 57 seconds.
Sophie started running when she moved to University as a way to keep fit and, after an inspirational meeting with a long distance runner when living in San Diego, began running long distances a couple of years ago. Now she says the "crazier" the race, the more attracted she is to it.
After she was eased into the ultra marathon lifestyle with the small matter of a 38 mile trek around the Alps in July 2018, Sophie completed her second ultra in Kielder, England, in April – running 31 miles.
And after completing by far her longest run yet, she wants to encourage other young women from Moray to join her.
"If I can, then anyone can," she told the Northern Scot. "It's all about your mindset.
"I met a woman when I was starting out who told me she ran 65 miles and I thought it was crazy. I could not believe people did that.
"But it's possible. The type of people who run ultras are diverse but I very rarely see younger girls and I don't know why.
"I want young girls to realise it is possible. Even if one young girl from Moray felt inspired to pick up a pair of running shoes after reading about a fellow woman runner such as myself – that would be amazing."
The 23-year-old, who moved to Lossiemouth from West Sussex aged 14 and now lives in London, says Moray folk should need no inspiration to run, given the scenery on our doorstep.
The former Lossie High pupil tries to come back to Scotland as much as possible, and says it's the most beautiful place to go running – with availability of paths on the doorstep.
"There is no excuse when you're in Moray and the Highlands," she said. "The trails are great and running is fantastic for feeling empowered and it's good for your mental health.
"I'm quite a big feminist and, while running isn't the answer to everything, anyone can do it and it really does empower you."
Sophie will spend the foreseeable future running around Paris rather than the Scottish Highlands as she seeks a Masters in Environmental Policy.
She added: "I have seen so many places I would not have otherwise seen and met people I otherwise wouldn't have met.
"I think it's a great way, as well, to stay connected with nature and to get people looking after our environment."