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big race for the month was the Amagney 12 Hours in France. Unfortunately
the race course was quite hard and weather conditions very cold
and windy. The route was 1.76km with two very steep climbs and one
very steep drop. We arrived the night before and thought it would
be a tough course to break any records but I was here and just had
to do my best.
After setting off at 12km per hour as planned this only lasted for
4 hours by which stage it was so cold I had to stop and put on extra
kit. I now had three long sleeve tops and a jacket on top of this
along with hat and gloves. My hamstrings had also started to stiffen
up with the cold and hills and came in for Bill to give them a quick
massage. This did the trick and slowed the pace just to finish.
I easily won the womens race but well below the British record.
I knew everything had to be perfect for the record to go and with
the tough course and poor weather was not too disappointed, I achieved
the maximum possible under the conditions and was satisfied with
my performance and am confident with the right course and good conditions
the record is within my reach. There is news coming through of a
12 hour race to be held in England next May, is this is correct
may be I will have another attempt then. Got lots of short races
over the Christmas and New Year period so will do those and then
get back into a serious training programme for the new year.
I must apologise to everyone that has emailed me at sharongayter.com
whom I have not replied to. Unfortunately my email for sharongayter.com
has been blocked for many months. It has only just been unblocked
and had assumed that emails were being returned to senders. This
was not the case and am slowly responding to over 1300 emails so
that people do not think I am ignorant for not replying.
After only achieving
plan B in the Czech Republic last month I have recovered well and
even done a couple of races already. The Burley Bridge Hike was
just three weeks after the 24 hours and managed a reasonable time
for the course and a steady run in the Leicester Marathon the week
after following a very hard week of training. I have now decided
to take on one last long run before the end of the year and that
will be in France on 4th December. I will be running in my second
ever 12 hour race, although I have two good goals for this race
they are going to be tough to achieve and so will not be too disappointed
if I do not achieve them. I am optimistic about a good race with
my two goals being to get the B standard for the 100km which is
8 hours 50 minutes and hopefully beat 8 hours 48 minutes which is
the best performance by a British female this year and may be go
on to challenge the British 12 Hour record as set by Eleanor Robinson
with 134.08km. Watch this space!
was the month of the big race, the combined World/European 24 Hours.
The final few weeks of my build up were superb, winning all three
of my last races which were around the marathon distance, I was
particularly pleased with the Lockwood Bounder 23 miles in which
I ran 25 minutes faster than last year and also broke the course
In the World
Challenge the route was the worst I had ever competed on. The very
small loop of just 1.3km had twelve 90 degree bends, had obstacles
such as drain covers, kerbs, uneven ground to contend with and was
also quite undulating. My big weakness is continually running around
corners, disrupting the rhythm of running and straining my ankles.
Considering the course I ran well but had hoped for a higher placing
and was disappointed with my 16th place in the World and 11th place
in Europe. The good news was that I retained my British Number One
status for the eighth consecutive year and still attained the goal
of over 200km (ran 202.6km). I also have the back-up of a team with
the minimum three athletes required. I led my team home to 4th place
in Europe and 6th place in the World. Considering most teams above
us had five or six athletes in the team our three did very well
and hope for a medal position next year.
more about the World Challenge
becoming a Centurion on 24th August and coming down with a slight
cold I was having doubts about competing in the World 100km three
weeks late on 11th September.
off my bike a week before the race while out cycling in the moors
with Bill, the handle bar badly bruised my left quad and left me
unable to train for a few days. The final decision came when Bill
was rushed into hospital by ambulance after a visit to the doctors
on the Tuesday before the race. Although he came out on the Wednesday
evening I decided to have six weeks of consistent training before
the World 24 Hours in the Czech Republic.
of selection from UK Athletics has finally been received after a
few problems with funding and the good news is that a womens team
of 3 athletes has been selected. I have also given up the Sports
Massage business and decided to return to Teesside University to
start my Masters in Sport and Exercise this month.
my main event for the month was cancelled (12 hours at Faversham)
I went on to achieve another of my goals from a list of "events
I want to do one day". This was to become a Centurion. To do
this you must walk 100 miles in less than 24 hours. The event was
at Colchester in Castle Park starting at 2pm. The weather was dry
and warm throughout and perfect for walking. Although I had very
limited walking training for this event it was good to do a long
event after the disappointment of Faversham. My time was 22 hours
and 42 minutes and was third lady to finish - second British lady
to finish to take a silver medal in this National Championship event,
I also took Centurion Number 1006. This was also a selection race
for the Robaix 28 hour event in France where the first five males
and females get selected to walk for England. This was not one of
my goals as my main priority for the year is the World 24 Hours
had a really good start to this month. After doing the Otley 10
I flew out to Prague the next day and onto Brno for the Saturday.
From 4th - 10th July I ran at least 43km a day for seven consecutive
days in the Moravian Ultra Marathon.
Accommodation was basic - just an air bed and blanket for sleeping
on and a classroom floor. The event was based at Lomnice with a
different trail route every day. After getting lost on the first
day I finished in third place, after that I got used to the navigation
and won the remaining six marathons to be the overall ladies winner.
I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the event and felt that
this was one of my best events to date. A fuller report of the event
is given elsewhere???? On returning I did a couple of short races
but had some pain in my right groin which restricted training but
also made me rest after the event.
Fitness has picked
up very well this month with some consistent high mileage training.
The only disappointment has been not reflecting this fitness in races.
I have struggled in a few of the shorter races and would have broken
pb's at 5km had my breathing not restricted me.
At the beginning of the month I had a steady run round the Thirsk
10 and was pleased with a season's best for 10 miles. On the Thusday
before the West Highland Way I was leading an off road 5km race until
the last kilometer where I had to walk due to asthma.
The West Highland Way is a 95 mile trail run but started even earlier
than last time I competed. The 1am start created several problems
for me, nearly 3 hours of tripping and stumbling in the dark and straining
to see so early and getting wet feet made my feet blister quite early.
Blisters are usually something to be suffered and do not drop out
with these but was aware by the end of Loch Lomond (around 40 miles)
that my ankles were unusually stiff. After the steep drop from Crianlarach
I was aware that coming down hill I was scrunching up my toes to avoid
the blisters being squashed by the ends of my shoes and this was creating
the stiff ankles. At Tyndrum, Bill made me sit and discuss whether
or not to continue, I had not even contemplated pulling out at this
stage as the rest of me felt fine. I still had nearly 40 miles to
run and was constantly feeling my left ankle in particular. As this
was just an enjoyable long race and not significant to the international
scene Bill thought it best to pull out and not end up with an injury
that may put me out for a few weeks just for the sake of finishing,
reluctantly I had to agree and so pulled out to conserve myself as
my next big event was just two weeks away in the Czech Republic (7
marathons in 7 days).
The ankles recovered quickly and was able to compete in a 10km race
the following week, but again had problems with asthma half way into
the race. The asthma is worse in short races when breathing is taxed
most but the gentler running in long races does not stress my breathing
so much and so am still able to perform in these events.
has been a upsetting month for me, after the demise of the World
24 hours I had opted to take the invitation to run in the Surgeres
48 Hours in France. Unfortunately most of April was spent not training
due to asthma brought on by a cold and some intermittent training
that followed. On 9th May I pulled out of the Fife 50km after running
8 out of 14 laps due to tendinitis in my left ankle. Althought the
injury is not serious and am now back training again I have made
the decision to withdraw from the Surgeres 48 hours. My fitness
suffered from having several weeks off with asthma and having a
small injury just weeks from such a major distance race has forced
me into this decision.
I have now planned my next race after this disappointment and had
to choose between the West Highland Way 95 miles on 19th June or
the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km in Cardiff the following week. I felt
that the West Highland Way is a much more enjoyable run and no pressure
to perform such as the pace that would be required for the 100km
and have therefore decided to run the West Highland Way.
The World 24 hours has now been scheduled for October 23rd in the
Czech Republic and so there is no pressure to regain my fitness
and can compete in some of the ultras I love to run in.
was to take three weeks to get over the cold and asthma with the
aid of further strong medication from the doctor. I was unable to
run the Bungay Marathon and struggled to finish my local Bydales
10, unable to control my breathing. After five days of further medication
I was able to finish my first real ultra of the year, the Woldsman
50. Despite a couple of short detours navigating my way around I
was easily the first woman home in 8 hours 36 minutes, confirming
I had not lost too much fitness.
The bad news
for the month was that the World 24 Hours was not going ahead at
Apeldoorn due to lack of sponsors. After getting over the initial
shock of this news I took up an invitation to compete in the Surgeres
48 Hours race in France. This will take place on 28th -30th May
2004 on a 300m cinder track. Many the of the world's top athletes
will be there, athletes like Edit Berces and Irina Reutovich, who
have dominated the top two places in 24 and 48 hours for the last
was another consistent month of hard training and racing. The biggest
challenge was to be the Compton 40 at the end of the month, but
awoke on the morning of the race with a sore throat and eventually
pulled out at around 25 miles coming down with a cold, this was
to get progressively worse and my breathing deteriorated badly with
month saw the start of serious racing . My first race back was the
Ferriby 10, I thoroughly enjoyed the race and couldn't believe how
much I had missed racing over the last couple of months, it was
good to be back. A squad weekend was held at Loughborough for plans
for the year and the only poor run I had was at Draycote Water 35.
I had not planned this as one of my races but was expected to run
a road ultra to prove fitness for selection, I wasn't ready for
a long run as had not run a marathon yet
this year and so pulled out early on and preserved myself for consistent
running rather risk injury early on in the season. The following
two weeks saw steady progression in the Sleaford ½ marathon
and the first off-road marathon in snow at the Myrtle Meander (and
a win over the men!!).
started with a twenty week program to take me through to the World
24 Hours in May, mileage started from just 50 miles per week with
both speed sessions and hill sessions every week, by the end of
the month my distance was up to 80 miles a week.