This week’s Friday Feature is Sophie Goodall-Smith. Best described as a someone with seemingly boundless enthusiastic energy, Sophie has kindly shared her running memories with us.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a local and grew up in West Sussex in Storrington, West Chiltington and Steyning. I have a tiny family – my mum, her partner and a brother and sister. We were surrounded by pets growing up (dogs, cats, guinea pigs and a rabbit) which has given me big love for all animals. Hedgehogs (and dinosaurs) have always been my favourite animals! I spent a lot of time playing outdoors as a child and my favourite places are still the countryside, woodland, on the Downs or by the sea. This also gave me a passion for our natural environment which led me to my career working in the environment sector.
When did first start running?
In the year 2000 – starting with one lap of Steyning town centre.
How many years have you been running for?
About 20 years!
What made you start running?
After starting a new job in 1999 working long hours and commuting to London every day, I needed to burn off my stress, so decided to try and run round the block late after work one day. The next day I ran a bit further, then a bit further, and then quickly realised that running was this amazing stress relief for me and then I actually started quite enjoying it.
When did you join the Hedgehoppers and why/what made you become a regular?
I joined in 2017 after I moved to Portslade and had spotted the Hedgehopper running tops at WSFRL events (I was previously a member of Steyning Athletic Club). I carried on coming back as the Hoppers are so lovely and friendly I really enjoy their company and our runs together.
Best thing about being a Hopper?
The brilliant people and the fantastic team spirit and camaraderie. And the cake!
Favourite running memory i.e. that WOW moment?
Running over Tower Bridge during the London Marathon with no traffic and the crowd cheering in 2010 – wonderful!
What’s the longest distance you’ve ever run?
Favourite running event and why?
The Great Wall marathon in China in 2015 – a tough steep hilly course in high humid temperatures with 5164 steps along the uneven wall, and through mountain villages. But it also had the most stunning views ever, amazing support from the local villagers and a great atmosphere from all the other runners from all over the world.
Please tell us one thing about yourself that people may not know?
I used to be a pool lifeguard at Wadurs in Shoreham-by-Sea when I was 21-22. I used to lifeguard for the naturist group on Sunday evenings in the winter – a hilarious and unique experience to lifeguard for 50 naked people swimming round Wadurs pool!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
One of my favourite quotes is from Mahatma Gandhi ‘ you must be the change you wish to see in the world’.