(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)

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Race of her life
Evening Gazette 10/10/03 By Eric Paylor
Guisborough stamina star Sharon Gayter is preparing for one of the biggest races of her life - with a far from ideal preparation behind her.

The British No 1 is competing in the inaugural world 24 hour championships, which start in Uden in Holland tomorrow and run into Sunday.

But it was not until Tuesday this week that her selection as Britain's only female runner in the event was confirmed.

And that was after having to travel to Nottingham for a blood test.

Sharon, pictured above, said: "To be honest, the last two weeks have been a nightmare.

"I had been told to prove my fitness and was going to run in the Loch Ness marathon, but then UK athletics wouldn't let me because they said it was too close to the championships.

"Instead they insisted I had a blood test, because they were worried that I had not made a full recovery from the Flora 1000 miles race.

"But I had a problem pinning down the person who was taking the blood test, and had to wait for the results.

"If this had happened a couple of weeks ago, there wouldn't have been a problem. But this has destroyed me.

"I didn't know if I would be running or not.

"I'll still go there and do the best I can but I don't feel that I'm as focused as I should be."

Sharon, who warmed up by competing in the Pinchinthorpe Plod on Sunday, is still confident of achieving the 190k criteria in the world run.

In fact she has laid down a schedule of 200k, which she feels confident of reaching, though this still falls well short of her PB of 217k.

Sharon added: "If I could reach 215k I think I would be among the medals, but I don't think I am in that shape.

"But, under the circumstances, if I can run well enough to stay as British No 1 for the seventh consecutive year, then I'll be reasonably satisfied."

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