(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)


24 hours& 136 miles
Evening Gazette 16/05/02 By Eric Paylor

Ultra runner Sharon Gayter has booked her place in the European 24 Hours Championships - and set a personal best in the process.

The college lecturer from Guisborough erased any lingering doubts about her overall fitness when recording a stunning 217.5 kilometres in the gruelling race at Apeldoorn in Holland.

This relates to around 136 miles, and was the fastest run in the world so far this year.

However Sharon's world's best 24-hour time lasted less than a day - for it was beaten the same weekend by a runner in Russia, who compiled 217.9 kilometres!

Even so, stamina queen Sharon is delighted to be the current No.2 in the world.

She said: "I needed to run only 190k to qualify for the European Championships, and I was way above that.

"The distance bettered my previous best of 212k which I ran in 1998.

"It is also the best run by a British athlete over 24 hours in the past two years, including the men, so I've got to be happy with that."

Sharon finished clear ladies' winner in Apeldoorn, while she was fourth overall - finishing behind two Germans and a Dutchman.

It proved beyond doubt that the niggling problems which followed her ankle injury suffered in a nasty road accident two years ago are now firmly behind here.

Sharon said: "To be honest I have been fitter, so hopefully my best is still to come.

"The ankle held up well, though I did have problems with my calf nine hours into the race.

"And I wasn't too happy with the conditions. It was drizzly and miserable. I prefer to run with the sun on my back."

She added: "The British selectors insisted that I should prove my fitness when I felt that I really didn't need to.

"So I feel that I have made a massive point."

Sharon is now planning to run in one major warm-up event before challenging for the European Championships in Gravigny in France in September - where she is likely to be the sole British runner.

She added: "I'm looking forward to the Europeans because I feel that I can run well and I know that I can win a medal if all goes well.

"I have won silver team medals in the past, but never an individual medal."

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