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.
years since then have been very traumatic and I thought I would
never be an ultra-distance runner again," admitted the New
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.
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,"
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.
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
"My performance was better than even I could have expected,"
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
"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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