“Staying active is so important to me with my condition. Otherwise, my body seizes up and is in pain.”

Name: Sophie Routledge
Age: 31
Occupation: Training administrator in demolition
Marathons completed: 5

Four years ago, Sophie Routledge (@sophscanrun) was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body and causes extreme tiredness and muscle stiffness. Her doctor recommended she start exercising and, following a chat with a colleague, she decided to give her local Park Run a try.

Having competed at county and district level when she was at school, she was no stranger to running but she admits, she was “quite slow.” Taking that into account, her progress in the last couple of years has been seriously eye-catching. She’s shaved 13 minutes off her 5K time in the past four years and can now finish the distance in 22:30.

Joining a running club has helped her progress and inspired her to tackle longer distances. This year she’ll be competing at three marathons in quick succession. She’ll start with London in April before travelling to Berlin and Chicago in September and October respectively. If she completes all three, she’ll then target Boston, Tokyo and New York; the aim being to join an elite club who’ve completed all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. She’s inspired to complete the ‘Six Stars’ by her friend David who is one of only 7,000 people who’ve done so.

Setting herself extreme challenges is something of a trend. Sophie has completed five marathons so far, including three in the space of a month in 2018 when she was raising money for SSAFA, the oldest arm forces charity in the country, in memory of her cousin Ryan who was in the RAF.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” she says of her first attempt at the London Marathon two years ago. “It was a hot year, I did three races in the space of four weeks as a challenge. The second, in Milton Keynes, was 28 degrees. I ended up walking most of it. The last was in Liverpool.”

Her time in that first London Marathon was around 5:35. Remarkably, she’s targeting a 3:40 time this time around; a two-hour improvement!

So what does she put the improvement down to? “For one, diet. And then it’s all about training. I eat more of a Mediterranean diet and it seems to have helped a lot. Staying active is so important to me with my condition. I rarely get pain now from my fibromyalgia thanks to running. Before that, I was always in pain.”

We’ll be checking in a few more times with Kieron and our fellow O.R.S sponsored runners, Ashley and Sophie, as they get closer to race day. You can follow their progress on our social channel.