Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend

Anni Townend in Conversation with Sophie Harvey Sherwood, 7 year old Runner

June 01, 2021 Anni Townend
Leaders in Conversation with Anni Townend
Anni Townend in Conversation with Sophie Harvey Sherwood, 7 year old Runner
Show Notes

‘Never give up, keep going and always have fun’ advice from a 7 year old runner

For the 20th Leaders in Conversation Podcast episode, Anni talks to the amazing Sophie Harvey Sherwood, a seven year old girl from Glasgow who is running to celebrate inspirational women.

On the week of International Women’s Day (08 March 2021), Sophie joined her dad Scott Sherwood on his Just Running It challenge, a 365 mega challenge in which Scott aims to run 10km every single day for a year in aid of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

As part of a school project on inspiring women, Sophie decided to dedicate each of her daily runs to a  woman role model, starting with Courtney Dauwalter, America ultramarathon runner. Courtney has broken many records, often beating her male competitors to the finish line, in races of 100 miles and more. 

“Because I realised how far she ran, I was like, why don't I give it a go? See if I could run that much one day,” explains Sophie.

Starting with a gentle 1km for her first run, Sophie has already increased her distance to over 3km and has a target of reaching 10km by the end of the year. Her efforts have attracted the admiration of the running community, including her idol Courtney who messaged Sophie with her well wishes on Instagram. The pair agree that feedback was “really motivating”.

A lesson in determination, perseverance and teamwork

Setting out on any endurance challenge, particularly one that lasts a whole year, is not without hurdles. However, Sophie and Scott have a unique mantra “to keep going”. They discuss with Anni the importance of perseverance and not giving up, supporting each other along the way.

The challenge has naturally given them some special bonding time, which Scott says has created a real sense of team. He also reveals how running alongside Sophie as a new and much younger runner, has reignited his passion for running and showed him new perspectives. 

“I think I think it's given me a newfound sense of adventure in a world that I've lived for my whole life,” he explains.

More Inspirational Women  

Anni talks about the inspiring women leaders she has met and they delve into the women  carefully chosen by Sophie for her school project. The list includes designer Coco Chanel, English paleontologist Mary Anning, wartime nurse Mary Seacole, women’s right activist Emmeline Pankhurst and scientist Marie Curie, who Sophie says “would be working on the vaccine if she was still alive”.

And of course, she talks about her supportive Mom who has taken up a Just Washing It challenge, which Sophie beams is “really fun”.

Running for a better future

The duo share a passion for the environment. Something that Scott, as VP of Engineering at Wood Mackenzie, a leading research and consultancy business for the global energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, has no doubt passed down to his daughter. 

They’ve recently been nominated to be the ‘running Mayor for Glasgow’, part of an initiative that aims to encourage people to use active travel for short commutes or errands. They have also been spurred to take part in a run and litter picking challenge. 

She may be running for charity, for the environment and in the name of inspirational women, but Sophie thinks the biggest benefit is “getting to see the nature and the fresh air when it comes out”. As a hardy Scott, that even includes running in the rain.

Discover more, donate and connect with Sophie and Scott

You can follow their progress and discover more on justrunningit.com which has links to the pair’s YouTube channel  and their fundraising page.

You can also follow Scott on Instagram and Twitter @scottcsherwood