(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)

 


Gayter has world at her feet again
Northern Echo 23-05-02

ULTRA-DISTANCE ace Sharon Gayter is second in the world 24-hour rankings just two years after a serious road accident threatened to end her running career.

The gritty Middlesbrough College lecturer has bounced back after doctors told her that her badly-damaged left ankle would never stand up to the rigours of long-distance racing.

"The two years since then have been very traumatic and I thought I would never be an ultra-distance runner again," admitted the New Marske Harrier.

Gayter had been forced to pull out of the European 24 Hours Championships and had been disappointed by her times in two 100km races.

But she decided to switch to the triathlon and race walking last year, cutting down her demanding training schedule and one-a-week marathon programme in a bid to gradually strengthen her ankle.

"This year I decided to have one last go at it - my ankle had been rested by doing less mileage and was strengthened by the race walking," said Gayter.

She was delighted by her return to ultra-distance racing, breaking Eleanor Robinson's course record in the 42-mile Doncaster Doddle by 20 minutes and winning the National 100Km Championship in a time of eight hours 53 mins.
But the big test came in the Apeldoorn 24-hour race in Holland, where she had been forced to drop out after 14 hours with ankle problems the previous year.

Gayter earned automatic selection for the European Championships in September by passing the 190km qualifying distance and she went on to reach 217.5km - five kilometres further than her personal-best, set in 1998.
"My performance was better than even I could have expected," she admitted.

On the same day the winner of the Russian 24-hour Championships ran 217.9km and Gayter found herself second in the world rankings, only 400 metres behind the leader.

Gayter is the only British athlete with the European 24-hour Championships selection criteria and she said: "I now have the confidence to train harder for this event knowing that my ankle should hold up to the strain.
"My target will be to improve on my performance in Apeldoorn and come home with a medal."

Gayter runs to work every day from her home in Guisborough, a round trip of 22 miles, and races most weekends - she has competed in 24 events since January.

* The Commonwealth Games Federation have launched a new website to pass on information to fans, administrators and media in this summer's event in Manchester.

The website, www.thecgf.com, provides an overview of the Commonwealth Games since its inception in 1930, with the option to search for information by sport, country, year, individual athlete and medals.

CGF chief executive Mike Hooper said: ''This new site reflects our position as one of the world's top sporting events and can be easily accessed by sports fans, administrators and journalists alike anywhere in the world.''
The new website has also been designed to assist media coverage of Manchester 2002, which starts on July 25 and involves over 4,000 athletes from 72 nations competing in 17 sports.

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