Sharon warms to her task
Evening Gazette 23/01/03 By
Gayter has supermodel Elle MacPherson to thank for some valuable
training Down Under as she prepares for the greatest mental
and physical test of her career.
top 24-hour runner, from Guisborough, is heading off to Australia
for warm-weather training to complete her build-up for the
gruelling Flora 1,000 Miles Challenge.
suffers from asthma, so she is grateful for Elle's help in
sponsoring her vital trip to the other side of the world.
She said: "I
cannot breathe in this cold weather. I had to drop out of a race
at Scarborough recently because it was bitterly cold, and that's
most unlike me.
doing a lot of training indoors on a treadmill, but that's unsatisfactory.
hard work and hard training, and I can't get that at home."
with sponsor Elle happened by accident.
Elle and her fiance
Arki Busson were filming in the Teesside area before Christmas and
sports masseur Sharon was called in on a professional basis.
"They were amazed that I didn't have a sponsor and so they
have paid for all my winter kit and shoes, gym fees, races and are
financing the trip to Australia."
her training to be tip-top because she knows that she must take
the Flora 1,000 seriously.
Under normal circumstances,
stamina ace Sharon would take a 1,000-mile race in her stride.
But this event
is different. In fact, it's something she has never previously faced
in her career.
For Sharon and
her five competitors must run no more than one mile every hour,
which means that the sleep-deprived race will take place over six
She has already
taken part in a five-day trial, running only one mile every hour,
and discovered that the Challenge will be more difficult than she
could ever have imagined.
"I'm probably more worried about it than I was before.
couple of days were very easy, but then it just got harder and harder
and harder and I was unable to run by day four.
I am used to running lots of miles, this was so different.
is no time to recover and it is just monotonous.
never seemed to be time to just sit down and relax and I was forever
She added: "The
running was harder than I imagined but the sleep deprivation was
not as hard as I thought.
four I had completely changed my strategy and instead of running
all the miles, I walked the daytime miles from 10am-9pm and then
ran all the night-time miles to maximise my sleep."
that she will be able to manage on six hours broken sleep a night,
though she will be sleeping in a coach in London and does not know
what outside influences and noises may make the sleep very broken
plan now is to walk during the day to save energy, while running
at night in order to fit in more sleep.
She said: "By
day five of my trial I seemed to be able to cope with the new strategy
but was not able to compete in the races in between that I had planned.
I was supposed to run the Captain Cook race at Great Ayton but as
I was so tired and would have had to walk it and finish last, there
was no point.
difference between going out and doing a 20 miles run and running
24 miles spread out over the hours is the recovery time.
do a long run, you have the rest of the day to recover, but when
running two miles at a time and never getting more than 90 minutes
rest between runs, there is no chance for the body to recover.
pleased that I did the trial because it has completely changed my
hope this gives me an advantage over the other runners."
starts on March 2, and culminates with the six competitors going
on to run the Flora London Marathon - though Sharon insists that
she will be walking it!
Sharon is hoping
to attract a little more sponsorship in order to acquire a new van,
which is a crucial back-up for ultra-runners.
She added: "My
previous van was sponsored by Reg Vardy and I have just returned
will need another one after the London Marathon and hopefully I
can attract a sponsor."
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