Circuit 6 days
9th-15th February 2009
Darlington Building Society
Well it is all
over now and I have unpacked and had time to sit and contemplate
the last week. It has been one of the most amazing weeks I have
ever experienced and although the outcome was not what I wanted
there are just so many positive things that came from this small
event. Being local it meant that many people could come and see
me and witness the attempt or even run a few laps with me. The local
media were incredible, coverage on TV and even front page news just
for starting. The messages both in support before the event and
flowers to cheer me up after abandoning the event can’t help
but lift my spirits.
To the runners that did so much in keeping me company
and the officials that travelled so far just to make this a success,
I send my deepest thanks. Although this was a small event Croft
was the most perfect venue ever for an ultra distance event and
with the renewed interest in the Six Day Race it looks likely that
the event will be held again but with a bigger and better organisation
behind it. I did most of the organising myself, not ideal when you
are trying to keep focus on the goal of the World Record, but having
said that it had no impact on the final outcome.
was cold as expected, and yes, we even started on a snow covered
track, but it looks like I was heading for a stress fracture in
my left shin and withdrew before it got too serious. With just 45
hours run and 166 miles, easily within schedule the injury was worsening
and the prospect of another 4 days of running, or more probably
walking turning into hobbling would have seen me fall behind schedule,
not achieve my goals and end up with many weeks sidelined with injury.
I was not here to waste people’s time, it was a record or
bust, bust was the result. Anyone who would have pushed more would
be sure covered by his life
I am feeling
frustrated but content, I came to the event fit and confident and
can take away some valuable lessons, both in organising and in scheduling
my own race. I will be out for a few weeks to assess why I broke
down and to try to avoid such problems in the future, probably just
too much running as usual, but that’s what I do and why I
run. Running is not a chore, it’s what I love doing, a day
in the hills is sheer pleasure and feel lucky to be so fortunate
to be able to run the way I do.
I now have the
World’s Largest Jig-saw puzzle to look at and contemplate
while I rest and recover, just 24000 pieces – that husband
of mine does have his ways of keeping me at home. As usual I will
be back, stronger and fitter just like last time, and there are
many more races in me yet, so keep tuned.
as it happened:
news is that Sharon has had to pull out of the world record attempt
with a stress injury to her shin. This was reported on BBC's Look
North programme tonight.
A full report from Sharon will follow as soon as she is recovered.
After just 2
hours rest last night Sharon has endured another cold day at Croft
Circuit. At 5.30pm she has come in for a rest and pasta meal, and
has 7 hours more running ahead of her before the allocated 3.5 hours
Sharon has been
joined by Peter Rowley (Darlington Building Society Chief Executive)
and friend John Fluke for support today.
Above: Peter Rowley, Sharon and John Fluke at around 5pm on Day
Sharon is still
slightly ahead of her planned schedule with the following distances
(124 laps or 140 miles)
She is however feeling tired and is disappointed not to be feeling
better than she is. In comparison with the Lands End to John O'Groats
challenges she describes this as harder and more intense.
Above: Bill at race headquarters
Below: John Fluke and Peter Rowley
The race is
underway, started at 10.00am this morning by Tanni Grey Thompson,
with ITV and several newspaper reporters present. The six runners
who started the race were a little concerned to arrive and find
the track covered in light snow, however it did clear after 2 hours
thanks to some good weather.
Sharon is feeling
comfortable and is slightly ahead of schedule with 80kms finished
by 7pm. She plans to sleep from 3.00am to 5.30am before returning
to the track for Day 2. Peter Rowley, Chief Exec of the Darlington
Building Society is visiting this evening and running a few laps
Bill is providing support and keeping in touch with telephone updates
- check back tomorrow for the latest!
This event is
run under UKA rules with a permit and is also Bronze Labelled by
the IAU. The last 6 day road race run in Great Britain was at Trentham
Gardens, Stoke, in 1984 and the ladies winner was Christine Barrett
in 676.981km. The last 6 day event on the track was at Gateshead
in 1990, so it has been 25 years since there has been such a race
in this country. Due to the lack of experience of planning races
this is going to be a small field of runners, but with an amazing
wealth of experience in the officials on this event. I am extremely
privileged to have the main three officials that all have a wealth
of ultra distance experience.
28 years experience with the Flora London Marathon, nearly as long
with the London to Brighton, refereed at many Tooting Bec 24 Hour
Races and also refereed on the Flora 1000 Mile Challenge.
experienced 6 day runner himself along with being official at many
other multi-day races, both here and abroad and could probably teach
me a lot about the event.
crewed for me on LEJOG, supported many 6 days races and other multi-day
events for other athletes, involved in many ultra distance world
records, official timekeeper and lap recorder for this event.
three experienced ultra distance men this event would not go ahead
and am incredibly humbled to have such supportive people on board.
To my sponsor, Darlington Building Society (www.darlington.co.uk),
at a time when the credit crunch is biting this company is feeding
me the life line to finance this event. Mannatech (www.mannatech.com)
are providing my vital nutritional products as they have done for
so many years now. The final thanks is to Spira (www.spirafootwear.co.uk),
just making its launch in the UK and what better way to test these
new shoes, my initial runs in these shoes have given amazing results.
I must also
thank Norman Wilson from the IAU with his patience for my never
ending questions for the official stuff all to be completed correctly
and the various contacts at UK Athletics for efficiently progressing
my queries and concerns. Andy Milroy has also been instrumental
with statistics and guidelines on race organising.
been underway for some significant time for this event to take place
(them 3 months sat out with a stress fracture were very busy thinking,
planning and consulting with Darlington Building Society) but the
last few bits of official stuff have taken time to finalise. After
a brief experience in the Monaco 6 Day race in 2007 the mistakes
have been heeded and I am back fitter, more determined and hungry
for success on a far better course.
The event is
to be run on a 1.823km (approx 1.1 mile) course around the racing
circuit at Croft, (travel details on www.croftcircuit.co.uk),
just off the A167 between Darlington and Northallerton. This is
a timed event and the winner is the person that covers the most
distance in 144 hours.
records for running 6 days on road are:
- World Men:
Yiannis Kouros (GRE/AUS) 1036.8km
- World Women:
Catherine Cunningham (AUS) 820.765km
Men: Richard Brown 833.640km
Women: Pippa Davies 730.642km
is a punishing one, the target is a new British Record and then
push on for an attempt at the World Record. 820km is around 510
miles and that means an average in excess of 85 miles (136km) a
day. The schedule is set to cover over 100 miles on the first day
and settle in around the 80 miles (130km) a day and pull this up
to 90 miles on the last day by running through the night without
any sleep, planned sleep on other nights is for less than 4 hours.
So very approximate miles/km for the days are as follows:
106 + 80 + 80 + 80 + 80 + 90 = 516 miles
170 + 130 + 130 + 130 + 130 + 146 = 836km
should be updated on a regular basis to keep you up to date on my
progress, so many thanks to Ella and Vicky for all the work they
are putting in to keep you informed.
Although I am
fit and well prepared this is a long race and Croft Circuit is an
absolutely superb venue where I have regularly run the Pit Stop
10km race. Smooth, flat tarmac, no sharp corners, no kerbs, no traffic,
no public walking dogs and pushing prams etc., just perfect for
putting the head in gear and getting on with the task. February
is not however the best of months and the North East weather may
play its part, but I am prepared for the cold, wet, biting weather
we can expect, the layers are piled up, hat and gloves. The rest
of the year is taken up with other commitments hence an early start
to the season with a bang!
I have my ever
loving husband Bill by my side crewing for me and doing his best
at feeding me and everyone else involved. You are all most welcome
to come and watch this local event taking place and hopefully the
result will make its mark in History by creating a new World Record.