look at News for
Cooper, Sports Therapist at the University of Teesside took a look
at my left Achilles after pulling out of the Wensleydale Wedge at
the end of November with a stiff Achilles that was reluctant to
warm up. It has been niggling me a little and with the major challenges
of next year felt it better to get it checked out now rather than
continue running on it and have problems when more important races
are looming. It is not as bad as my right Achilles from earlier
in the year and after having a scan by Sports Medicine Doctor Martyn
Speight in Otley a couple of small areas of degeneration have been
identified. I will now be taking a month off for rehabilitation
to ensure it will be strong enough for next years races. It is thought
that having two weeks off after LEJOG probably shortened the Achilles
and my return to long runs has caused the problem.
Other news for this month was the phone call from Jack Adams of
the Lands End to John O’Groats Association who confirmed that
after nominating me for the The "Charlie" Hankins
Memorial Trophy (Awarded to the person, or persons who
in the opinion of the Committee displays courage, fortitude and
determination while completing a journey between Lands End and John
O'Groats or vice versa by whatoever means) I will now be awarded
this trophy on January 20 th 2007 at a dinner in Torquay.
have run the Kilburn Kanter and Burley Bridge Hike in very similar
times to previous years and so confident that there are no adverse
problems as a result of LEJOG. My left Achilles is beginning to
niggle again after a quiet period and am hoping it will not get
worse, I may take a few weeks out to give it time to strengthen
and Rotherham 50 may now be in doubt.
I dropped out of a 5km race at Guisborough due to asthma after a
good spell with no breathing problems, had not anticipated this
but my bedroom had just been painted (Bill was getting bored on
the sick and very mobile now so had to give him some work to do)
and put this down to breathing in the paint odour for three days.
I have started plans for next year and looks very likely to be Libyan
Challenge 190km in March, Tipton 12 hours track race in May, World
23 Hours in Canada in July and the Spartathlon in September.
Other good news to report is the invitation to three local sports
awards, the Local Heroes one for the Northern Echo on 30th November,
the North East Sports Awards by Sport England and the BBC on 3rd
December and the Evening Gazette Sports Awards on 11th December.
I am really looking forward to all three and getting more excited
about these than I was for finishing LEJOG, hopefully my new World
Record will be rewarded and feel the glory I should have felt at
the finish of my event. Running Fitness have done a good double
page spread on LEJOG based on the shoes I tested for them (they
did quite a few miles as you will see) and MyRace, a running magazine
for Scotland (you can get a copy at www.myRace.co.uk) also did a
good double page spread based on an interview conducted over 500
miles into LEJOG. I am still awaiting Guinness World Records to
verify the record at present, they appear to be working well behind
their 4 week schedule anticipated to get the response, but am happy
the paperwork is more than adequate for their requirements.
running at the beginning of the month and felt nothing as a result
of my long run, quad is completely healed now and have really enjoyed
getting back to weekly racing again. I have deliberately kept the
mileage down at present but have three races above 20 miles on three
weekends I am looking forward to in November and have entered the
Rotherham 50 in December. Bill is recovering very well after his
second hip replacement after an initial very sick period after the
As you will
all have read by now by LEJOG World Record
Attempt was very successful and took over 17 hours off the world
record, finishing the 837 miles in 12 days 16 hours and 23 minutes.
I still feel as though the whole event has not sunk in, I expected
to be feeling on a high for many weeks after but this has yet to
happen, initially the tiredness and sore feet took over and was
just in recovery mode. Its a couple of weeks since finishing now
and the tiredness has gone, my feet are probably just a bit sensitive
as opposed to tender now, I did go out for a half hour run on Friday,
exactly two weeks after finishing and the legs are fine. Still going
to try to take it easy (TRY!!). I am itching to get running again
but will keep the mileage down.
The paperwork is almost complete to send off and will be recognised
with an official certificate after verification has taken place.
Many thanks go to the local media for covering the event, in particular
the Evening Gazette and Northern Echo, ITV Tyne Tees done a wonderful
job too. At present I am just finishing off my own diary of the
event which will be put on my website shortly as will many of the
photographs taken on route (many
taken by crew member Alan Young). The crew did a wonderful job in
looking after me and although it was me who had to do the running,
this could not have been achieved without such a world class crew
so my thanks go to them for giving up their free time to be part
of this event.
My van has now had ATTEMPT struck through and HOLDER written on
courtesy of GT Graphics and will use the van until the end of the
year before getting the livery removed - may be it will help me
to recognise what I have achieved. One last comment is that the
date for Bill's left hip replacement has come through on 9th October,
his right hip replacement last year was a massive success and hoping
that he will have lot more mobility once he has recovered from this.
Thanks go to all you people out there that sponsored me, although
it appears many of you do not like to give through justgiving.com
I have had some generous donations sent in cards by friends who
know my address, with particular thanks to Redcar Running Club,
Pam and Mike Atkins, Gerry Orchard and Julie Bushell, Ella Towers
family Ann, Robin and Holly, Ian Johnson (mechanic), Lynda and Trevor
Russell (and friends), Paul and Debbie Hoskin, Peter Braney, Ronnie
Sherwood to name just a few. The total is getting near to £1500
Well the big
day is nearly here, the press coverage is non-stop, newspapers,
radio and even ITV have done a programme (see latest
media coverage). I did my last two marathons runs in the first
two weeks of August, just steady runs in the Walden, first lady,
second overall and the Hanging Stone Leap that starts on my doorstep
at Guisborough, first lady and sixth overall. The last three weeks
no long runs, just a few short races and absolutely no race the
last weekend, that’s hard by my standards!!
My van is now
brightly coloured and sponsor money even being handed to be in the
street by total strangers, what a response!! A lot of councillors
seem to have their work cut out for this, it is hoped that councillor
Dennis Axford will start the event at Lands End, various councillors
may run part of the event with me, including Willie Rennie, as asthmatic
runner just north of Edinburgh. John Green has the job of official
finisher (at may be an unsocial hour) at John O’Groats. Mike
Amos from the Northern Echo may even be able to make the long trek
north to witness the world record.
As for me, I
am not sure whether it is nerves or excitement, this event has been
so long in the planning, postponed from July and is finally here.
As much as I am really looking forward to this I know it is going
to be a long painful event. I cannot predict what will happen, it
is into the unknown. People ask me what pace will you be running?
I have a schedule but how do I know that I will stick to it –
I have never done it before. Many people are comparing it to the
Flora 1000 Miles, there is no comparison, this is far, far harder
– three times the daily distance with around the same amount
of sleep – 5 hours.
I have updated
the schedule again and combined the route with it so it is easier
to track my progress. The times are also going to change after the
first day, in July I was blessed with long daylight hours, now the
darkness is creeping in earlier and earlier. As a result of this
my daily schedule will start an hour earlier at 6am, this means
I should finish the third block of running in daylight at 8pm and
just have the last block to run in darkness.
It now remains
for me to say enjoy following my progress, please make this effort
worth my while by sponsoring me at www.justgiving.com/sharongayter
for Asthma UK. Many of you out there have probably witnessed me
falling by the wayside while having an asthma attack in races, there
has never been a single year that it has not affected my running
or racing, I need to keep motivated and know there is someone out
there that will benefit from all this pain I will go through, thanks
for all the words of support and hopefully they will be fulfilled
by a new WORLD RECORD.
on the LEJOG page.
The trial has
been completed and the WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT
from Lands End to John O’Groats is starting at 07:00 on Sunday
3rd September 2006. It’s been a very hard decision after sustaining
an Achilles injury earlier in the year but after a very hard four
weeks of training the decision is made.
At 7am on a
very wet Sunday 9th July I set off from Moffat on a trial run for
LEJOG. The plan was to practice the running strategy of four hours
of running followed by a one hour break and cover approximately
20 miles in the four hours. After four blocks of running I was to
get 5 hours sleep from 02:00 until 07:00. This routine of running
worked very, very well. It was nice just to think about the four
hours I was running and not the real frightening distance of 837
miles, but it did feel like a very long day.
What I found
didn’t work well was my eating strategy, I thought after four
hours of running I would take on a significant meal, this didn’t
happen and was only able to eat half a bowl of pasta or rice and
was unable to eat a meal before going to bed. I soon learnt that
I would have to eat during the running segment and put this into
practice and this worked well.
The first day
of the trial took in a long climb out of Moffat on the A701. After
the first 20 miles I was initially surprised at how tired I felt,
I expected to feel reasonably fresh, but a look at the last few
weeks of training was the reason behind this, it had only been two
weeks since the Verdon Canyon Challenge, which had taken far longer
than expected and the week after had run the Osmotherley Phoenix
marathon and had felt very tired towards the end of the race, so
in general was not recovered enough to tackle another long event.
But this was not about times or distances it was about practicing
The next day
I was very stiff to start with and after walking for half an hour
tried running, it wasn’t so bad and soon got into the routine
again. It also became obvious that my plans of 80 miles a day for
the first 4 days were not realistic and so have adjusted the schedule
accordingly, but the plan is still for a 12 day finish to allow
over a day for any problems I may encounter.
After the trial
we took the ferry from John O’Groats to Orkney and had a few
days cycling the islands and visiting ultra friend William Sichel
who lives on Sanday.
Back home now and although the trial was a great success it has
knocked me back into reality. This is a world record attempt and
they don’t come easy, it is going to be far harder then expected
(not that I expected it to be easy), but the time is right and although
I am probably a lot more fearful of the event now I know there is
a chance of failure, but if I don’t go for it now I probably
never will. The LEJOG page should be updated
with the final plans now and the schedule I am planning.
One final piece
of news for the month, I got selected to compete for Great Britain
in the World 100km in Korea in October, part of the conditions for
selection are that I cannot run an ultra race within 8 weeks of
the event, LEJOG has now forced me to withdraw from the event (rightly
so on this occasion as I don’t think my recovery would be
that good after just three weeks!). I had left my name in for selection
just in case I was unable to run LEJOG and had another race to aim
This was a
great month, finally got back to some real running and by the end
of the month the Achilles feels completely better, not even stiff
in the morning now. I started short distance running towards the
end of May and started racing again in June, an off-road half marathon,
10 miles at Thirsk and a 5km and 10km race.
Locke invited me to run the Verdon Canyon stage race in France I
found it hard to say no even though my longest run prior to flying
out was just 2 hours 15 minutes. This event was 120km over 4 days
with 7000m of climbing and very hot conditions. The first day was
a night prologue of 10km, followed by 25km that took over 4 hours,
for the next 45km race the temperature was 37 degrees and took a
staggering 9 hours to complete, by the last day of 35km the field
was reduced significantly and took over 6 hours. I was out a lot
longer than anticipated but the terrain itself was very difficult
to run over, very rocky in places, considering my lack of training
prior to this race I was satisfied to finish 6th overall and second
lady. The first lady was training for the Tour du Mont Blanc race,
I was also happy to finish in front of one of the French 24 hour
international athletes. This was very good training for my LEJOG
record attempt and am now preparing for the 4 day trial which will
start on 9th July and run from Moffat to John O Groats, some 300
miles in 4 days.
A full report
can be downloaded here: Verdon
Trail Adventure report, and the official website is www.aeria.fr
for those interested in taking part next year, on the Friday there
are also one day races of 20km, 40km, 60km and 80km, but do bear
in mind how long these races took me, they are very deceptive in
distance and take far longer than expected.
a very common injury among runners and one that I have always dreaded
as I know it can take a long time to heal. I feel I have been very
lucky in that this has only taken 10 weeks off my running (although
that was a very long hard 10 weeks), but has disrupted my planned
year. The key exercises to rehabilitation were eccentric stretching
on a step done religiously morning and night, gradually building
up to three sets of 25 and then adding a back pack with weights,
which was continually added to once comfortable with each weight.
In addition to this I purchased a small ultrasound device from www.MendMeShop.com
that I used for 5 minutes twice a day (Bill also used this on his
thumb which has been injured for some time and got better). I was
also taking a product from Neovite.com that was supposed to help
scan on 2nd May revealed 0.7cm diameter of Achilles Tendinosis,
some two months after the injury occurred. The worst is now behind
me and am just about resuming running again. I should be back to
racing again by June.
should be good by July I have now run out of time to do a 4 day
trial on LEJOG which is a vital part of my preparation, physically,
mentally and practically and therefore am setting the date of the
record attempt to 3rd September 2006. This is not just a run but
a record attempt and need everything to be in place to be 100% confident
of success. Another couple of months will give me the time needed
to practice the schedule set out and overcome any problems that
may be encountered.
The other bit
of good news for me is the new selection criteria for the World
24 Hours next year in Canada, to my amazement it has already been
announced some 14 months in advance of the event which gives athletes
time to achieve the criteria (unlike the 4 weeks given last year).
The individual A standard for women has been reduced by just 1km
to 214km, which, although fantastic new for me (my performance equivalent
to 6th place in the World 24 Hours in Taiwan was 214.5km), but not
good news for other women aiming at selection. The team B standard
remains at 195km. The time scale for achieving these distances will
date from 1st January 2006 and so my performance will still count
as there is little chance I will run another 24 hour race this year
due to other commitments (namely LEJOG).
Once last bit
of news is that any of you that read my report from Taiwan would
have read of my disappointment at being presented with a trophy
at the World 24 Hour in Taiwan for winning the open race only for
it to be withdrawn as there were not enough trophies to take home.
Well a superb engraved glass stand with a revolving glass globe
arrived this week and now takes pride of place in my trophy cabinet
(as opposed to being put on a shelf in the garage!!).
recovery from the 24 hours in Taiwan went well, I was just left
with a little stiffness at the back of my lower right leg. Two weeks
after the 24 hours I had a slow run around the Redcar ½ Marathon
on a bitterly cold day where the temperature did not rise above
freezing. I was satisfied with 1 hour 39 minutes and although the
calf was tight for the first 3-4 miles it eased off and had no problems
with it for the rest of the race. Snow hampered the following weeks
training and my treadmill also refused to work.
problem did get worse and the tendon was very tender to touch although
not too painful to run on. After a week of rest it was only marginally
improved and so sought the advice of Sports Therapist Darren Cooper
at the University of Teesside. I was worried as just three weeks
after the Redcar ½ I was supposed to be running for England
in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km with a rather late call up. Darren
initially thought I would be able to run no problem, as indeed I
thought so myself but was just playing safe. But the injury did
not go according to plan and was being very stubborn to improve.
The risk was to run the 100km, which it was thought I should get
around ok but the tendon would be worse as a result of running this.
It was a hard decision but in the end played it wisely and withdrew
from the race to preserve the tendon for the future runs for the
It is now nearing
the end of April, I am still not running and awaiting an ultra sound
scan on 2nd May to determine the extent of the injury. I feel this
is such a small area of injury I cannot believe how time has passed
since I last ran. I have been keeping fit in the gym with cycling,
rowing and weights but am getting extremely depressed at not running
now the better weather has arrived and have now withdrawn from the
Hull 24 hours in May, a race where I had planned to get a pb for
24 hours with having such a good run in Taiwan under hard conditions
on a tough course, a local track race with no corners, full support
and no travelling should have been perfect for a good run.
The time off
running has given me the opportunity to spend time going over the
entire route from Lands End to John O’Groats, detailing parking
areas on the maps and finding cycle routes to avoid some city centres
and busy roads. The route has now been measured at 837 miles.
a quick trip to Taiwan to compete in the open race of the World
24 hours I am happy to report that I won the open race with 214.5km
and this would have placed me 6th in the World 24 hours. It was
a very emotional race without having the support of my husband Bill
and had to make a call home half way through the race as I got so
upset and lost a lot of time, but it was worth the call as I got
back out and finished strongly.
Download Taiwan Report:
text format or PDF
Well it is now
the day before I travel to Taiwan for the World 24 Hours, everything
is in place and as much as I am looking forward to the trip I am
dreading it. I am not looking forward to the long journey and now
the map of the race has been published this is also bad news. There
are many twists and turns and route is getting shorter, just 700m
now, the weather so far predicted is rain for the entire trip with
19ºC as the high.
been going incredibly well until the beginning of February (just
3 weeks before Taiwan) when I twisted my ankle at the start of the
Rombalds Stride 25 miles and was forced to withdraw. I only did
a couple of short easy runs that week while the swelling and bruising
subsided. Running the Draycote Water 35 very easily the following
week gave me the confidence that it would recover in time for Taiwan.
The trip is
only a short one, travelling out on Wednesday, arriving Thursday,
race is Saturday to Sunday and hope to be home by Monday night.
You may be able to follow my progress on the official website (www.iau.org.tw/),
but be aware that as I am in the open race and not competing for
Great Britain that my results may be listed separately.
This month started as well as the last month finished, a quick short
burst up Captain Cooks on New Years Day where I recorded my fastest
time for this course, the following week was an 18 miler called
Stape Heartbeat, which I was easily the first lady and the following
week I was the first lady back for the mixed pair trophy with Neil
Risdale in the Tandem 28 miles. Following that was a half marathon
in bitterly cold conditions which affected my breathing and was
satisfied to finish still running with 1 hour 36 mins, my breathing
usually brings me to an abrupt halt and walking.
The planning for Land's End to John O'Groats
Record Attempt has started and although I have adequate support
for the second week of my record attempt ideally I would like another
couple of supporters for the first week beginning 2nd July - so
any helpers please get in contact. There will be a page dedicated
to this on the website so you can track my progress and the planning
and route will be added shortly.
Preparation is going well for the World 24 Hours in Taiwan next
month and have already run a couple of training sessions in the
Environmental Chamber at the University of Teesside to acclimatise
to the heat and humidity anticipated in Taipei.