Sharon tackles 1,000 miles - it's the ultimate challenge
Northern Echo 07-03-03By Mike Amos
A whole new meaning to sleep walking, ultra athlete and former Teesside
bus driver Sharon Gayter has embarked upon the craziest event of
her life. This one endureth for ever.
known by her husband as the Wicked Witch of the South but for six
years Britain's top woman ultra runner, is back on the buses, too.
She is one of
six clinically chosen competitors - 170 applied - in the Flora 1000
Mile Challenge, which began outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
was not thought to be in attendance.
are strictly limited to one mile an hour, it's probably the hardest
slog on earth. That she is also asthmatic may help explain the long
odds offered by Ladbroke's.
brutally explained, the Challenge involves running or walking a
mile in each of 1,000 successive hours, culminating after almost
six weeks with a Sunday morning stroll on the London Marathon -
not so much going the extra mile, as staggering the extra 26.
creeping into my thoughts more. I hadn't realised it would be so
hard," says Sharon, good stuff in a little bundle.
to the Marathon start line on April 13 means previously covering
38 circuits of the course - with a maximum hour and a half sleep
at any time by covering miles back to back.
The others include
the chap who completed last year's London Marathon in a 120lb diving
suit, the man who holds the world record for 24 hours on a treadmill
and a woman who beat Frankie Dettori in a flat race.
Even now, however,
they are simply following - somnambulating - in Captain Robert Barclay's
the same challenge over a half mile course at Newmarket in 1809,
having wagered 1,000 guineas that he could do it and accepted another
£100,000 - around £40m today - in side bets.
he would die in the attempt; Barclay carried a pair of pistols at
all times to help ensure that no bad losers tried to pre-empt that
Eight days after
finally putting his feet up, he set sail for the Napoleonic Wars.
Sharon and friends
will earn around £10,000, grabbing what sleep they may in
a specially equipped London bus which sedately will follow their
She plans to
walk during the day, run - to allow more snatched sleep - at night.
it's said, include delusion, mental exhaustion massive mood swings
and generally going bananas.
lives in Guisborough with husband Bill and assorted dogs - children
would have interfered with training - left the buses after being
beaten up, took a sports science degree and now lectures at Teesside
Her warm weather
training in Australia earlier this year was partly funded by supermodel
Elle MacPherson, to whom Sharon had acted as masseur during filming
in Middlesbrough. "She couldn't believe I hadn't a sponsor,"
she says. This is day six, 37 to go. It may not run and run, but
she hopes somehow to stumble to a conclusion
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