Sonia has been a very classy athlete for many years, having run for Scotland as a senior: in the World Cross-Country Championships; five times in the World Hill Running Trophy; and three times in the European Hill Running Trophy. In 1996, Sonia won the Scottish Hill Running title. She has been a World Masters Champion in Mountain Running and both Outdoor and Indoor track. In Scotland she has won the Masters Cross Country title in 1996 (W35), 2001 and 2003 (W40), as well as Team gold with AAAC in 1996. She has helped Scottish Masters to secure several team medals in the annual 5 Nations CC International. Naturally she has won umpteen Scottish Masters titles on the track, indoors and outdoors. She is a speedy, elegant runner who has overcome several injuries, competes brilliantly, thoroughly deserves every success but is always modest and friendly.
NAME: Sonia Armitage
DATE OF BIRTH: 27.10.60
CLUB(s): Aberdeen Amateur Athletic Club, Cosmic Hillbashers.
OCCUPATION: Chartered Physiotherapist
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?
I always ran everywhere as a youngster. As a teenager, was a competitive swimmer, so had good basic fitness. I then got into school cross country running, doing well in local races, which led to being approached by a member of Aberdeen AAC to ask if I would consider joining the club. That was back in 1975, and I have not looked back since.
HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?
My Grandad; my Dad’s Dad, was a great sprinter, who competed at Powder Hall. My other Grandad, my Mum’s Dad, was a great footballer, who was briefly goalie for Celtic FC, then later went on to play for Cowdenbeath FC. In AAAC, Hunter Watson and Mel Edwards have had a marked influence on my running; then especially in the years running in Masters events, Terry Kerr has been a great help to me. However, above all, I have always had wonderful support from my husband Dave, himself, a very successful hill runner and orienteer.
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?
I get so much from the sport; firstly, there is the obvious physical benefit; then of course, mental relaxation, which I always enjoy, no matter how fit I am. I have always enjoyed the competitive challenge. Running in Masters events has allowed me to continue enjoying first class challenges continuing on from my senior running career; the standard of running in Masters women in this country and around the World is incredible. I also love the social interaction with like minded people both locally and internationally. I have met so many wonderful people through my athletics career. I have been very fortunate to enjoy my athletics with Dave and our two daughters, Hilary and Rachel.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?
a) as a younger athlete
To gain selection to run for the Scottish Senior Cross Country Team to run in the World Cross Country Championships, in Paris, in 1980.
b) as a hill runner
I have had many good runs in the Scottish Senior Hill Running Team, running in both World Trophy and European Trophy races; including finishing 13th in the European Trophy at Snowdon, and 3rd team at the World Trophy in Malaysia in 1999. It was very exciting finishing 24th in the World Trophy race when it took place at Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in 1995 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd. Another memorable run for me was the International Snowdon Race in 1998, which was my first international race back, following suffering a pulmonary embolism in February 1997; I finished second in my fastest time ever, in 1.22. Lastly, but not least, one very special run has to be winning the W40 race in the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Poland, in 2001.
c) as a Masters athlete
My best ever Masters performances, I would have to share between three. Firstly, winning the W40 race in the World Mountain Running Championships in 2001, as I mentioned above. Secondly, my W45 1500m gold medal at the World Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships in Clermont Ferrand, France, in 2008. Thirdly, W45 gold in both the 800m and 1500m at the World Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships in Kamloops, Canada, in 2010.
2013 Scottish National Cross Country Championships in Falkirk; the first time in my 38 years of running that I have voluntarily pulled out of a race! I simply didn’t have enough energy for the race that day. I think a mixture of getting up very early for the journey to the race, and also being fairly busy as Aberdeen AAC Women’s Cross Country Team Manager. Too much for an old lady!!
WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I really just want to stay healthy and enjoy running as long as I can, in both track and hill running. Maybe complete 1 or 2 more Mountain Marathons with my husband, Dave.
OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?
I enjoy many other sports such as cycling, swimming, cross country skiing, occasional wind surfing. However, my main passion outside of running is music; in particular, my saxophone, which I play most days. I enjoy a mixture of music, including classical, jazz, contemporary, and popular.
WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?
Running has allowed me to see some of the most beautiful areas in Britain and around the World. I have also met many special people throughout my career, both here and all over the World, which I would not have wanted to miss for anything. However, most importantly, I met my husband, Dave, through my running!
CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?
Generally, I do 6 sessions a week. These include usually 2 interval sessions, which are sometimes on the track in Aberdeen, or on a football pitch near home, or fartlek on the trails near home. I have a longer run at weekends with Dave, which is very often on the hills. Occasionally, I go out on my bike as an alternative to running. In the winter, when conditions allow, I sometimes cross country ski instead of running.