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Within 6 weeks of completing JOGLE, despite trying not to do much running and taking things easy, I ran 10 events of 5-10km. Although I am recovered from the initial sleep deprivation and my feet have recovered from the battering they took, there is still an underlying niggle and reluctance to run and I plan to take most of October away from running.
I have cycled much over the last 2 months and will continue to cycle. This will also give me a chance to catch up on many other jobs that have been neglected in the build-up and post JOGLE.
Following on from such an epic achievement and with social media and tracker devices making this a public event, the inevitable happens and there were many media interviews to deal with post event. I was back at work the following week and have managed to fit in all the requests, which are still coming in. There were BBC and ITV interviews, radio interviews, magazine articles, newspaper articles, boggler and podcasters all wanting a story. These were all fitted in within the month.
After the initial media influx came the requests from schools and various groups that request my presence to motivate and inspire. There are formal requests for after dinner speakers. Then there comes requests from others about the route and that they want to do a LEJOG or JOGLE. The one thing that I do not help with is the planning of a route. My route was planned for record purposes for me, it is certainly not the safest of routes and would not recommend others to follow what I did. I was given a warning by the police at one stage while running along a busy road. If this was not so time restrained I would never follow this route – so please do not ask for details of it.
At 7:30pm on Sunday 21st July 2019 I set off from John O’Groats with my team for the Guinness World Record attempt to run to Land’s End. I arrived at Land’s End on Friday 2nd August 2019 at 6:36pm. My goal of achieving a sub 12 day performance was on course until day 10, when sleep deprivation got the better of me and fell asleep on a grass verge. The sleepiness was hard to shake from that point onwards. The ultimate goal was to break the world record and this was achieved with 12 days 11 hours 6 minutes and 7 seconds.
I am the only person to have broken the record running in both directions LEJOG and JOGLE.
Despite completing a recce of this event just 2 months prior to the attempt there was several obstacles placed in my way such as footbridges being condemned in Preston, building sites appearing where the path was, road closures due to accidents, scheduled road closures that I was aware of that were not completed on time and some very adverse weather. I experienced the hottest day of the year in Penrith, some torrential rain and flooding, but also had some amazing times with my crew that work tirelessly for me to achieve this goal.
The crew of Trevor and Linda McDermot and Izzy Wilkinson somehow found the time to create a facebook page for JOGLE to keep you updated with photos, videos and blogs of my progress along with the tracker to follow the dot that was me on my journey. They completed a detail log of the entire journey and had as little sleep as I did. Despite all this they claim this was the best holiday they have ever had and can’t wait for the next one.
Trevor and Linda, purchased their own campervan prior to this “holiday”, paid for much prior to and during the event and have still yet to ask a penny from me. These are people that work for a living the same as me. They are more generous than I could ever be and will be in their debt forever. There are numerous things that this couple did to simply make me feel special and put a smile on my face, some of which will of course be added to the book on this journey.
Izzy Wilkinson stepped in at late notice after another experienced crew member had to withdraw with health issues. With little guidance from me Izzy found all the worst possible moments to be alone with me, at the bridge closures, road closures and even the time I fell asleep. Izzy cycled, drove and even walked with me, always cheerful and simply the most perfect person to have next to you when things go wrong, probably from years of experience as a Police Traffic Officer!
Eleanor Robinson was there as my friend and fellow international athlete of many years. The most experience ultra-runner you could find and a world record holder of 1,000 miles. This was a record Eleanor never had the opportunity to break. Eleanor was to cycle with me on the first two blocks of each day, but as crew were slim on the first 3 days Eleanor did a little extra. Eleanor was with her partner Dave, who was only there to support Eleanor and not me. Dave had the biggest campervan of us all. Eleanor cycled, run and walked with me for sections every day and took the opportunity to arrange visits to friends some afternoons.
Dave Jones, an experienced Centurion dedicated a few days to supporting me in his own VW van and did most of his support on the last block at night in darkness. This was great to give some of the other crew and particularly my husband Bill, time to catch up with sleep and preparing things in advance of my arrival for sleep.
At 7:30am on Sunday 21st July I will set off from John O'Groats to attempt the Guinness World Record running to Land's End. I have until 11:15pm on August 2nd August to complete this.
Over the last 2 years I have been planning, running and cycling the route. The distance is 822 miles with over 33,000 feet of climbing. I will need to average around 70 miles per day to achieve my goal of sub 12 days.
Having lost several friends to mental health recently, my chosen charity for this event is MIND (Redcar and Cleveland).
You can donate to MIND here:
Updates will NOT be made on this webstie but will be made on my facebook page and twitter account @SGayter.
There is a LEJOG page on this website with a little more detail. My thanks must go out to Mark Love of A Buckler Demolition, Chia Charge (www.chiacharge.co.uk) , UltraMARATHON running store (www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com), Northern Runner (www.northernrunner.com) and Lesley-Ann Interiors and Gifts for their support with my challenge.
WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT – 21ST JULY 2019, 7:30am.
It is finallally time to announce the big challenge that I have been preparing for and planning. The end to end route John O’Groats to Land’s End or the other way around (JOGLE or LEJOG) has been in the limelight recently with a couple of very real challenges going on for the men’s record. But for me it is time I put this one to bed. In 2006 I broke Sandra Brown’s record of 13 days 10 hours and 1 minute running the same direction of LEJOG. My plan had always been to break 12 days but I ended up with 12 days 16 hours and 22 mins. Upon finishing I said I now know how to do this better but I never want to do it again. But let’s just say time has passed and as this was my first world record I would like to have one last crack at this while I am still able. I am going to run it in the opposite direction of JOGLE.
Guinness World Records have updated some of the rules that include tracking systems that were not available years ago, along with short recordings of the attempt that are needed every hour. There will be two independent witnesses on duty at all times detailing my progress and gathering the evidence. My husband Bill will be there with me, but his job will be to look after my personal needs of food, rest and clothes etc and will have nothing to do with the evidence gathering, although he may bike behind me for some stretches.
Much of the biking with me will be completed by Eleanor Robinson (and friend Dave), another great world record breaking ultra-runner who holds far more records than I do. I have Alan Guy with me who has painstakingly gathered the evidence for four of my previous Guinness World Records including end to end in Ireland. I have Trevor and Linda McDermot, race-walking officials that have also witnessed previous world records with me, such is their commitment they have even purchased their own campervan to support me (better than mine too!). They are well known as parkrun directors at Catterick Parkrun, and if you ever run there when the gurkhas are taking part you will see the logistical issues they have when numbers swell enormously. I then have various people supporting and witnessing for sections of this and thanks must go out to Dave Jones, Murdo McEwan, Marion and Peter.
There are many others that are supporting in many different ways – Mark Love (from A Buckler demolition) has donated funds that will buy equipment such as signage, fluorescent tops, cameras and extras that are needed. Northern Runner who will be providing my Altra shoes for the attempt. To Ella Towers and Azrini Wahidin who will be dog-sitting Baxter.
In July I will detail that daily schedule for the planned 822 miles to run. I have prepared my own maps and been over every single mile of his in the last few weeks. My route will follow some off-road sections and cycle paths, canal paths and minor roads parallel to the main roads, which I am avoiding as much as possible. There will also be a tracker device carried so that you can find out exactly where I am at any stage of this event. There is a LEJOG page on this site which will detail this too.
Although recent runners attempting this have appealed for runners to run with them, I am a very quiet, self-motivated, internal person that likes to be at one with my thoughts and concentrate on the job in hand without big distractions. Having runners with me on busy roads is a hazard and a worry to me. I would dearly love all those that want to see me, please do come and say hello and sign the witness book, or cycle behind me.
The Severn Challenge was the main event of the month. An event that runs from the source to the mouth of the River Severn as a stage race with distances around 26, 45, 60, 60 and 26 miles. The navigation on this proved to be quite challenging as overgrown paths often disguised where the actual path went and did a little over the allocation of mileage and wasted much time trying to find my way. Not an issue in real terms as I was not racing this one, it was merely a training exercise to run 60 miles back to back on legs that had done a good few miles already. The other thing I wanted was to sleep for 3 hours to mimic my next challenge. The event delivered exactly what I wanted and Ultra Running Ltd provided individual pop up tents for sleeping at campsites that were very unique.
I finished the event probably far too slowly and relaxed but was easily able to continue racing the following weekend injury free, just a little tired. My time was 56 hours 54 min, second behind a great performance by Thomas Loe (but many hours behind him).
The bigger plans were now looming and the programme written to take me through to the big challenge that had been on the cards for some time. Behind the scenes work has been going on for nearly two years and crew in place once I could confirm I had the confidence that I knew my fitness was good enough to take on a big event. I had one more event to do that would give me this confidence that was to take place in May, and so April was simply following my programme, building up the mileage and mainly racing over shorter distances.
I did not take long to recover from Athens and was back out running the same week and racing that weekend. Mainly races of shorter distances but I did have some problems with my asthma that did restrict me in some races and a course of steroids was needed to take control of this.
At Athens 6 day race the weather was unseasonal and we had some very stormy weather, thunderstorms and strong winds much of the time. There was some sunshine too. The course had changed from previous too, with an incline out of the stadium and bits of uneven course. The good news was that there was an indoor stadium for supplies and sleeping in, given the weather this was a great relief.
My main goal was to learn about how lack of sleep affected my pace, and that was more important to me than my overall distance. I did have two British V55 goals that I thought were possible and these were easily achieved. The new British V55 record for 48 hours is now 221km and the British V55 record for 6 days is 580km.
It is the 17th January as I write this. The first two weeks of the month I continued high mileage and I am finally tapering ready for the Athens 6 day race that starts on 28th January and finishes on 3rd February 2019. Although I have a few goals (and records) penciled in for this one, it is going to be a bit of a practice session so things may go pear shaped. I am frequently told I sleep too much in longer races (I am talking 6 days and beyond here) as I have gone 50 hours without sleep in a race previously. Although I usually rest for a few hours on the first couple of days, I rarely actually sleep, just toss and turn waiting for the clock to tick, so this time I am not planning on resting and will continue. The lesson to learn is whether or not the rest is important for me to continue at my race pace. Not something anyone can tell you, just go out and practice and experience it for myself.
So if you want to follow my progress there will be a live championchip board detailing progress of the runners. There is a big festival of running taking place, from 24 hour races up to 1,000 miles. The 6 day race I am taking part in joins the 1,000 mile and 1,000km runners in their last few days. They are races for the future for me. The tracking details will be on the website www.dayrunners.gr if you want to follow my progress.
I previously ran here in April 2011 when the weather was rather hot, some 750km that was (and still is) the British road record. The British V55 record is 524km and would like to think I am capable of that for starters.