(C) Jeremy Hemming, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge at the Tower, London (November 2002)
(C) Jeremy Hemming, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge at the Tower, London (November 2002)


Sharon steps up the pace for Euro glory
Evening Gazette 05/09/02 By Eric Paylor

Sharon Gayter has left no stone unturned in the battle to ensure that her stamina levels are high for this weekend's European 24 Hours Championships.

The Guisborough athlete has competed in no less than 50 competitive races this year - and treated virtually every one as a training run!

Now she is as fit as she has ever been for her bid to win her first Euro 24 Hour medal at Gravigny in France.

She revealed: "I haven't taken part in a major race since May, but I've been pretty busy.

"I've been competing every single weekend this year and run as many races as I could find.

"I would have preferred a major race as a warm-up, but I couldn't find a 100k race or a 12-hour run anywhere in Europe.

"There were events planned for Sheffield and Edinburgh, but they were both cancelled.

"It's the longest spell of training I have ever done - but I've trained while I have been racing."

Sharon has competed in 21 races in the past 11 weeks - including eight marathons.

She runs marathons for fun, while experienced marathon runners take part in only two or three a year!

And Sharon races to win. In fact she was first woman home in five of the marathons, and second in another two.

Last month she finished second overall in the Lyke Wake Race, being beaten only by one male competitor.

She even extends her prowess to walking events - having recently been first woman finisher in the Saltburn Victorian Walk race.

Now everything is ready for Sharon's tilt at the Euro title.

She said: "It's going to be tough because there are four or five really top runners.

"But I am ranked No.2 in the world. So I am confident that I have the ability to win a medal.

"I am as fit as I can be and, although I will be a little nervous before the start, I am as confident as I can be."

Sharon, who is the only British woman selected to run in the 24-hour event, completed her build up by running in New Marske Harriers' Autumn Coast Road run on Tuesday.

And she has already completed her plans for the big race.

She said: "I am very controlled and I don't expect the race to start until after the first 16 hours.

"I have set a target of 100k in nine hours and hopefully around 170k at 16 hours.

"The last eight hours can be really tough because you need to change your kit, you've got to eat and drink, and you tend to lose more time than earlier in the race.

"But I am determined to try to break my PB, which is 217.5k. If I can do that then I should be among the medals."

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