Sophie Raworth has revealed she feels ‘claustrophobic’ reporting on the coronavirus pandemic because everyone is having to live through it.
The BBC newsreader, 52, found the ongoing coverage about the pandemic more taxing than any story she’d covered before because she couldn’t switch off from it at the end of each shift.
She told Runner’s World UK: ‘It was the first story I’ve ever done where it wasn’t something you could escape. After all, it’s affecting your life as much as everybody else’s.
‘This has been like no story I’ve done before. At work we live and breathe it, there’s no escape whatsoever. I did start to feel really claustrophobic. Everybody’s world is just that bit smaller.’
Sophie found that going running helped her to get through the difficult months covering the news, with the fresh air and countryside, as well as not having to see other people, helped her to ‘not think about anything at all’ while she was exercising.
A keen runner, Sophie says running ultramarathons – which is a foot race longer than the traditional 26 mile marathon, including her six-day, 156 mile Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert in 2018 – has also given her the skills to cope with such an overwhelming story.
She explained: ‘What I learned then – and recently, with Covid, I have tried to apply it to life more generally – is that when everything seems to be terribly overwhelming, just take small steps.
‘Some of those sand dunes, I’d look up and think, there’s just no way I will get up there. But then I’d think, no, look down. Look at your feet. Take small steps. Just concentrate on them and you will get there eventually.’
During the pandemic, Sophie also started running to and from work in order to avoid public transport as much as possible, which she described as the ‘weirdest experience, utterly bizarre’ to see central London without any cars or people.
Read the full Sophie Raworth interview in the January 2021 issue of Runner’s World UK, on sale from December 3.