(C) Jeremy Hemming, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge at the Tower, London (November 2002)
(C) Jeremy Hemming, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge at the Tower, London (November 2002)

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Gayter faces toughest test yet
Darlington & Stockton Times 27/12/02

GUISBOROUGH'S British number one women's ultra marathon runner Sharon Gayter faces her biggest challenge yet when she goes into unknown territory in the Flora 1,000 Mile Challenge in the new year.

The 39-year-old super fit athlete has been pre-selected for the epic event, which asks six competitors to run the 1,000 miles at no more than one mile in every hour, spreading the race over six weeks.

It also means Sharon's sleep pattern will be wrecked during the event, which is being described as the toughest endurance race ever staged in this country.

Sharon, who has taken a year off work as a sports lecturer at Middlesbrough College to train for the event, stressed: "I haven't a clue if I will be able to deal with it."

The competitors will live in a London bus for the six weeks, where they will eat, drink, shower and try to catch up on some sleep. Sharon said: "I don't really know what to expect, or how I will manage on the bus.

"The running won't be a problem; I run 20 miles a day anyhow. But when you can only run one mile in every hour, it's going to be difficult to fit your sleep around it."

Sharon could earn a maximum of £11,000 if she completes the course and then finishes as first runner in the Flora London Marathon, which concludes the 1,000-mile event on April 13.

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