(C) London Marathon, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge, December 2002
(C) London Marathon, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge, December 2002


Also look at News for

December 2009

2009 was yet another amazing year, a fantastic new pb for 24 hours with 226km that kept my GB ranking secure for another year and saw me rise up the World Rankings to finish with a brilliant 4th best in the world on the IAU rankings. A double gold medallist at the Commonwealth 24 Hours on home soil and a run around the Badwater Ultramarathon ticked the box that was left blank in 2008. A visit to the Grand Canyon and the book finally got written, to be released shortly. There was only one major injury for the year that was both frustrating and annoying as it dashed my hopes of the World 6 Day Record and scuppered plans for extremely long races for another year to strengthen my bones. The recovery from that saw another record set – a jigsaw puzzle record called “Life” which will be ratified shortly and will give the link when this arrives.

I have now started a 20 week training program to lead me through to the World 24 hours in May, 5 blocks of 4 weeks of training and racing every weekend. The last few races of this year went to pot, not by me but the weather, the Loftus Poultry run had no choice but to postpone with -7 temperatures and thick snow and ice but was surprised by the cancelation of the Witham 5 on Boxing Day, the weather near Cambridge was clear and Boxing Day felt mild at 6 degrees as we went for our usual Christmas visit. Back home the snow and ice still cover the pavements and gardens and the North York Moors are white, so training is on the treadmill in the garage at present.

I managed a run around the Albert Park Santa Run, in full Santa dress with snow and ice and enjoyed the wine and mince pies after, even got a photo in the Gazette. That was the night of the big snow fall and just about made it to the party that night. There are a few plans for 2010, nothing too big for the first half, but hopefully something bigger for the second half. I did have one surprise envelope dropped through my door while away for Christmas, a very nice cheque from the Rotary Club of Guisborough and Great Ayton. I did a talk for them a few weeks ago, along with being spoilt with an excellent meal and their members kindly donated a cheque which is enough to fully fund my first outing abroad to Slovenia this year. This was a very kind gesture and will help enormously to achieving some of my goals this year. Best wishes for a happy, healthy and successful 2010.

November 2009

After working hard to get the book completed I have finally admitted defeat and relaxed the pressure and this will finally be published and ready for sale in February next year. The final bits and pieces are taking time to complete and a few more people are involved with this and as usual with me it has to be as perfect as I can get it. The last two months have been very hectic for many reasons but I have finally got back to some running again and feel much better for it. The main problem is going through checking numbers and captial letters, does World Record have captials, does Gold medal want a capital or little letters, numbers are a great issue, coming first or 1st, finishing in 3 hour 30 minutes or three hours thrity minutes and with 20 or twenty miles left are all creating issues. I have ready many sporting autobiographies who all detail these issues differently, so for me it's just a case of deciding what I think looks best and being consistent throughout. Then deciding what needs putting in the appendix, with over 900 races I am sure this is far too much, so may be just the major races acheived for each of my international racing year (all 16 years of them). And then it is picture time, how many photos to put in as these all cost extra.

I have settled into working at Teesside University now, finally got a locker so that I can run to work and home several days a week (approximately 11 miles each way) which easily adds up the miles. I have continued racing every weekend to maintain fitness but will not begin another serious program until the new year. I have had a mixture of races, some good, some disastrous such as Thirsk 10, running really well but the cold, damp wet weather got to me and the Asthma took control and ended the race shortly after 7 miles unable to breathe properly and continue (thanks to the marshalls there that were extremely efficient in keeping me warm and getting me back to the finish safely without the need for an ambulance). Back onto medication twice a day and have performed well since then.

I had a great run around the Halloween Park Run 5km at the end of October, just an excuse for a slow run really but won the fancy dress prize dressed as a skeleton, Bill was dressed as a demon, hopefully I may get a photo on this page soon, Bill lost the camera along with his wallet, but thankfully a kind yound lad found them and they were returned intact. I have done several more talks this month, I even had a trip to Solihull for the 10th Anniversary for the Mannatech European Convention, the surprise here being put in a hotel for the weekend where the athletes were staying for the Vets Cross Country and had a pleasant run out with the Welsh runners on the Sunday. Also it was a privilege to be at the Tees Active Awards inducting the young athletes with great potential for the future.

October 2009

Training had been quiet this month, I am not in any program at all due to other commitments, just running short races at weekends and a couple of off-road events done so far. The big races are all done for the year so will probably be good to take a break from hard running and racing. I am now working on the Foundation Degree for Middlesbrough College but all my lessons are at Teesside University. It will be a while before I plan next years races, the next probable big event may be the World 24 Hour Challenge in May in France, depending on UKA selection and funding of course. Also on the cards is being part of a relay team called JOGLER, that's John O'Groats to Lands End Relay. It will be good to see it the "other way around" and not have to run the whole way.

I have been doing a few more talks, I got invited back to Sedgefiled Harriers and quite liked some of the stats based on what I had done in the last 12 months. From 1st October last year to 30th September this year I had run 83 races, done around 1490 miles of racing, averaging 18 miles per race, but the one I liked the most was dividing miles races by number of weeks in a year. That figure came out over 28 miles of racing per week and that's not including time out for an injury!! I always do end of year stats which will come out different but this is the average miles that Bill now runs per week.

It has been a busy time as the Commonwealth 24 Hours was the finishing chapter in my book, being proof read to be at the publishers shortly and so hopefully out before Christmas. Next month I should have a clearer date and will hopefully have a page on my website so that you can purchase it directly from me. It will of course be available on Amazon too and selected book shops.

September 2009

Well itís 15th September today as I write this, Billís Birthday and three years to the day since I set that LEJOG record and some very interesting news came through today about this record, but more on that next month. This month, or more precisely, this week is the Inaugural Commonwealth 24 Hours where I am representing England. There have been a few interviews concerning this and as you can see on the IAU website (www.iau.org.tw) it lists the current top athletes in both the 100km and the 24 hours and England looks set to bring home a few medals. There is a team event as well as individual medals for these events Ė the top 3 to count for the team, in 24 hours it is the top 3 distances that will be added together, not places.

The official website is at www.cumbriacommonwealthchampionships.org but although the event is chipped I have not been informed if the website will update on the race as it progresses. The 24 hours starts at mid-day on Thursday 17th September and is on a 1005m loop around Fitz Park. We went to Keswick just over a week ago to look at the course and it is a very pleasant one alongside the river on one side, somewhat weaving path and a little narrow in places but as there are only 44 athletes (22 men and 22 women) this should not create too many problems. I am in fit and confident mood, my last month of training has gone exceptionally well, three marathons in 4 weeks, lots of shorter races, my last marathon for training was the Wolverhampton Marathon on 6th September, the goal was just a steady 3hours 30 minutes and did just this, reaching half way in 1 hr 44 minutes and finishing with 3 hrs 29 minutes, so spot on and didnít even feel like I ran a marathon. The taper has worked well and managed to knock over 30 seconds off the regular Albert Park 5km event last weekend on wonderful fresh legs, havenít felt this good in ages so really looking forward to an excellent performance that should retain my status at GB No 1 for another year.

The Spira Striker has been reserved for this race, one of the heavier shoes in the range but a really good solid shoe and wore this in the Wolverhampton Marathon, I also have the Stinger lined up for the last few hours if needed, these are my racing shoes and will give the edge if needed. I have several goals, gold obviously the No 1 goal but I feel I am condition to break my pb of 219km.

Commonwealth 24hr race report:

The event at the Commonwealth was a great success, both the ultra distance events of the 100km and 24 hours and the two mountain events. The weather was very kind to us all and am sure the spectators that turned out in force enjoyed every aspect of the whole festival of running. As for me, it was just as successful, a gold medal, a fantastic new pb, ranked no 3 in the world at present and GB no 1 for the 13th year. Nothing to grumble about here, more details as to how the event went are in the report. England also took the team gold medal along with new pb's for Vicky Skelton and Marie Doke, full results are on the Commonwealth website. The men did pretty good too, Chris Carver leading the men home to a silver medal with his new pb in 5th place, closely followed by Jim Rogers and Pat Robbins on his first event.

Commonwealth 24 hours - full report (Download 720kb)

Winning Commonwealth 24hr gold

Above: Sharon takes individual gold and team gold at the Commonwealth 24hrs
Below: The medal ceremony

Below: Sharon with the two gold medals

Sharon with the gold medals

August 2009

A good solid month, some long races at weekends, lots of short races during the week. Although the tenderness in the feet is fully recovered the skin still continues to peel off like sunburn. I can only assume the feet got so hot that the skin was actually killed off - I did also wreck two pairs of shoes running the Badwater Ultramarathon. I can't say that they actually melted but parts of the soles came away from the rest of the shoes. I just don't think trainers are designed to run across tarmac with road temperatures around the 200 degree mark.

Just one last long run to do now and its off to Keswick for the Commonwealth 24 hour event that starts at midday on Thursday 17th September around Fitz Park. The loop is just a fraction over 1km, very little information has been forthcoming about the event and very limited kit for the race too, there is still no information on what cover will be provided and some draconion rules insisting that we stay in bunk beds in a 5 and 6 bed dormitory the night before the race. This is just not conducive to getting a good nights sleep the night before and challenge any of the 24 hour runners to get in the top bunk after the race, stairs are more than enough to cope with!! Apparently we are not even allowed to book our own accommodation at our own expense before the race, although we are allowed move out of the Youth Hostel and find our own accommodation after the race. I am guessing most of the females are bringing their partners so I can only assume a few rules will be broken.

July 2009

Well as you can see below I finished the race in fantastic style, it really was a most extreme race, far hotter than I can put into words and really just a phenomenal experience that the body really can cope with such conditions that the environment throws at us. There is a long and short report but for those for whom this is just too much reading the event was 135 miles long, had around 12000ft of climbing and is run in the hottest climate ever at the hottest time of year. The only suffering I had was about four blisters – but they were big ones, the worst covering the entire bottom of the heel on my foot, downhill running was extremely painful and that was after just 40 miles.
I had just the most excellent crew ever, my wonderful husband Bill and my three new Canadian superstars Barb, Isabelle and Mary, all great runners/cyclists and adventure racers, Isabelle and Mary will both have their entries ready for that two week window next January, I didn’t put them off!!

Back home and although the feet are still a bit tender – that soft new skin underneath the blisters now needs toughening up, the rest of the legs are doing fine and within two weeks have already clocked up another 3 short races in 4 days. So one more easy week and then the serious training begins for the Commonwealth 24 hours in mid-September. Four women were selected for England shortly before I left for America.
We did have a bit of a holiday as it was such a long way to travel, we had a few days in Las Vegas, some days camping and acclimatising in the Grand Canyon – including a walk to the Colorado River and back in a day, and finally the Death Valley experience, memories of which will live with me for some time.

The only not so good news is that Darlington Building Society are having to make cutbacks and the end of a great financial sponsor, so anyone out there that wants to be associated with a success story going into the Commonwealth 24 hours ranked as No 1 – now is your chance to step on board.

June 2009

Surgeres came and went and not the best of performances yet again - but a lot of lessons learnt. It was again very hot and managed my salt intake much better this time and no problems with that side of things - I was trying a few new nutritional strategies and my pacing was slightly different. It was a huge learning curve and although the outcome was not great I came away very tired, a few niggles but nothing major. Getting used to the heat on the track was good and found some very useful new strategies here that I can take forward to Badwater, which is now only a couple of weeks away. Thanks to Sue Bruce (and husband) for sending though some useful journals on salt intake.

The heat wave at the end of June has been great, lots of hot training in the conservatory with all the doors and windows shut and temperatures up to 49 degrees, have been drinking gallons but looks like I just tip the drinks all over the floor such is the sweat rate. Have done a few off-road marathons this month and a few shorter mid-week races and been happy with all my performances. At the end of the month there was one last hard race before Badwater where I wanted to run hard and hoped for a hot day, the mist turned up and made navigation very difficult. The event was the Durham Dales 30 miles starting in Wolsingham - first news I heard was of the 30 vehicles in 3 accidents in the thick fog. The run itself is a hilly one and by half way was up to second overall and that is where I stayed, I pulled away from the second man but the first man pulled away from me as I struggled to find the path in the mist. So content I came home knowing that I was fit and injury free and ready for my next challenge.

Darlington Building Society are supporting me for this one last event - courtesy of honouring a pledge from Peter Rowley, it is great that thay have supported me so much despite the grim news surrounding financial businesses and have been very fortunate for their wonderful support these last few years. Spira have given me quite a few new shoes to try out in various sizes for Badwater - from white walking shoes, trail shoes and more of the super light Stinger. From my heat training it is actually the Stinger that came out trumps for keeping my feet the most comfortable but a bit wary as they are so light that the cushioning will be good enough for 135 miles of pounding the tarmac, so am taking the Striker and a few others just in case. And as usual will have my faithful Glycoslim from Mannatech as my main energy source during the race.

I also have to thank my wonderful Canadian crew who will support me in the Badwater Race - Barb, Mary and Isabelle, they are incredible adventure racers, cyclists, runners - you name it they can do it - and it sounds like they can perform in the heat too, couldn't wish for more. They have a great contact on Ferg, a great Canadian runner that has come second in this "must do" race. Poor Bill hates the heat so have hired him an air conditioned jeep - so guess that should keep him happy. I am treating him to a couple of days in Las Vegas too and a few days in the Grand Canyon - so we will have a bit of a holiday while out there - a rarity for us but will be his last one for some time.

No big goals for Badwater - the first goal is to finish, there are just so many new challenges this race will throw up - goal 2 is to finish in half the allocated time - so hopefully in 30 hours and not the 60 hours given, and lastly to hopefully bag a top 5 finish in the female race - there are some tough American's out there that have run this race before in amazing times. I have run 135 miles in 24 hours but not in the heat and not with the hills - if you haven't heard of the race as a comparison a couple of weeks ago I ran the Swaledale Marathon - this had 4000ft of climbing - now imagine running 122 miles in the heat and then running a half marathon with 4000ft of climbing - that is what the last 13 miles is like!!!

You can follow my progress on the race website at www.badwater.com and there are three waves of starters - I am on the last start at 10am and it starts on Monday 13th July - Death Valley is 8 hours behind us on time so by the time is is 10am here on that Monday I will already have run the first 8 hours and hopefully be approaching Stovepipe Wells.

Link to latest race updates (scroll down past search facility):

Sharon has finished the tough Badwater Ultramarathon in a fantastic time of 31 hours 12 mins and 32 seconds in the position of 4th lady and 14th overall out of the 86 competitors.

Race Reports:

Short: badwater_ultramarathon2009-s.doc
Full: badwater_ultramarathon2009.doc

Race photos (Copyright AdventureCORPS.com 2009):

Link to group start photo Link to photo of Sharon at race start Link to photo of Sharon on first leg
Link to photo of Sharon crossing the finish line Link to photo at finish with support team

Preparation for Badwater race
Photo above: Sharon preparing for the Badwater Ultramarathon

May 2009

Well the World and European 24 hours didn't quite go according to plan - the full report exlpains more, the weather was hot and looks like I had a fraction too much salt this time and also a bit of a virus with swollen glands and began to suffer around the half way mark and made a visit to the medical tent. The knock on effect from this was that I could take on little energy and food and a second visit to the medical tent just after 20 hours saw my championchip removed (saline and glucose drips administered) and it was the end of the race for me - so 172km after 20 hours of running. Although there were high hopes of a team medal I can't say the rest of the team performed fantastic either, so not bringing a medal home was not just my fault!! All of us were well below our 2008 performances and none of the women made the 200km mark and the only male represented also struggled and was well below his 2008 performance.

But as I did only run for 20 hours and didn't battle through that last hard 4 hours the recovery has gone well. It needed to as my next big race was just under 3 weeks after this one!! The Surgeres 48 Hour race starts at 4pm (French time) on 22nd May -24th May and you can again follow my progress with the hourly splits the website gives at www.48heures-surgeres.net.

Download full report: bergamo2009.doc

I have done a few short 5km races since the 24 hours in Italy, got good times in all of them - was even first lady in some of them, my lymph glands are slowly retreating and the schedule is written. The plan is to take just 2 x 1 hour breaks in the full 48 hours and guess these breaks will come some time into the second day, I do hope to hit the 200km mark by 24 hours to top the GB rankings for the time being. Bill will be with me for this one, a great stabilising factor and comfort for me (but he will get much more sleep than me). He has been granted time off from work for this one - but beginning to wonder how much longer his new job will last, Corus is shutting down with massive job losses, much of Bill's work is on the Corus site. So fingers crossed for that one.

I have been doing quite a bit of "ambassador" work recently, last week was fantatic to be the official starter for the new mid-week series 5km park runs at Stewart's Park to support Women and Domestic Violence, along with Boro goalie Ross Turnbull, next it was club presentation night at Scarborough AC and wonderful to see all the juniors doing so well, along with a lot of familiar senior faces, I think their long runs just won't seem so long after what I told them!! And just before travelling to Surgeres their is one last honour - presenting an award as a VIP guest at the Evening Gazette Awards, great to be the "other side" of this event.

Hopefully I will soon add a nutrition page to the website - there is never week that goes by without an interested party making contact - various questions on daily diet, pre and post race diet and racing strategy - and how I get away with doing so many races!! (Don't ask me about salt intake is all I ask!!). Having done a project on nutrition while studying MSc at the University of Teesside and done many 7 days diet analysis this is a subject I love. Salt is a curious issue though - it appears I need far less than an average runner by the looks of things.

April 2009

The first bit of news to start the month was that selection finally took place and I head a strong women’s team (Sharon Gayter 219km, Vicky Skelton 211km, Pauline Walker 209km and Lynne Kuz 201km). Stephen Mason was the only man selected. If the women all perform to the standards achieved in 2008 there is every chance we will bring home a medal. Individually I am hoping for a top 10 position and improvement of the 219km achieved last December, which is currently being ratified as a World Best Performance for 24 hours indoor age group 45.

The last few weeks have seen much higher mileage and lots of short, sharp races. My 5km time has improved significantly since before Bislett and now down to 20 mins and 12 secs. In the last 23 days I have completed 11 races, in one 7 day period from Sunday 5th April to Saturday 11th April I ran over 120 miles of training for that period that included over 70 miles of racing, the last of this being the Compton 40. Having just completed a 25 miles off-road event in 4 hrs 4 mins, an average of around 10 minutes per mile I continued heavy training to keep tiredness in my legs, ran a 10km race in just over 44 minutes five days later and then the Compton 40 the day after this.

My goal was to run at a stable pace and the tiredness from the week should make this feel like the second half of a 12 hour race. I estimated a reasonable pace to be the same as the 25 miles – that was 10 minutes per mile for this slightly undulating trail event; that would mean a finishing time of 6 hours 40 minutes. In that event I started steadily and wasn’t feeling particularly great but going steady until 17 miles when I “tweaked” my right ankle that I had sprained nearly two weeks earlier. It was still heavily strapped and came very close to calling it a day at the 19 mile point where you could cut off to run the Compton 20, but Bill was supporting me and took a couple of Ibuprofen to prevent too much swelling and continued on my way, I had reached this point at 2 hrs 58 minutes so was still inside my 6 hrs 40 minutes goal. I then made a couple of minor navigational errors and got overtaken by a group of runners that I caught at the next checkpoint at 25 miles. I was feeling very low at this point and began to doubt my ability but that was all it was, a bad spell, onwards and upwards and by 30 miles the group of runners were out of sight behind me and “firing on all cylinders”, I was back and in confident mood and thoroughly enjoyed the final 15 miles of the event and finished quicker than my target time in 6 hrs 17 minutes. So I am now tapering and ready to take on the World in Bergamo, Italy as part of the Great Britain team, the event will have live updates on the IAU website www.iau.org.tw should you wish to follow our progress.

The Commonwealth Demonstration event is gathering pace, there is now a website with interviews of some of the potential athletes for this event ready for reading, as No 1 in the Commonwealth at 24 Hours I have been added – the website is www.cumbriacommonwealthchampionships.org

Other news to report is that Bill now has a job, he is working locally and home every night, far less hours than previous, less wages but he has a life again and is back running and racing and improving all the time. His two new hips are great and give him no trouble (apart from at Airport security!!) but has been having problems with his ankles and knees which now seem to be settling down. The good news about this is that I now get more massages too!!

March 2009

24000 piece jigsawAfter pulling out of Croft I completed the World's Biggest Jig-saw puzzle of 24000 pieces in record time (4 weeks and 13 hours with all pieces mixed together) which took up my entire conservatory but is a very colourful picture titled "life". By the time I finished in between lots of cross training, aqua-jogging, cycling and eventually elliptical trainer I was able to start running again.

Initially only short distances to ensure the bone could take the impact. I did a few short races by the end of the month while hearing whispers that Great Britain may send a women's team to the World 24 Hours in May, but selection has been left very late - now just 5 weeks until the event. The next big planned event is the Surgeres 48 hours - the one where I sustained my stress fracture last year that put me out for 3 months, so hopefully can have a good performance here this year.

Although it appears the shin has mended well the rest of my body has been rebelling, initially I came down with a cold that restricted all training and fast running and saw a dip in my times, then to finish the month off I cleverly sprained my ankle doing a recce of a route for an off-road 25 miler, I was at 11 miles into the route, running along admiring the view to Bolton Abbey and relaxed a bit too much. I then had to nurse it and hobble the remaining 14 miles back to the van and spent the next 3 days doing RICE, but the swelling is now 90% down and only slight discolouration and back running again.

Looks like my first run in February broke the club record and so now hold all the club records for the V40 category (barring 5 miles which has not been set yet), so 5km, 10km, 10 miles, half marathon and marathon. Not that the club website has been updated yet. The only distance not run this year is the 10 miles, so have set the 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon club records all wearing the Spira Shoes. I now have the complete set of shoes to play with and its a hard decision which to wear for the impending 24/48 hours. The Elite is a racing flat so dare not chance that for 24 hours, I wore the Del Sol in the Gloucester Marathon and the Volare at the Croft 6 Days, the heaviest shoe is the Striker, but this is a good, solid, hard working trainer that may be best for the cushioning needed in 24 hours, so may do some of my longer runs in this shoe to prepare.

February 2009

The big month has arrived and the snow along with it. Hopefully all the snow will be gone in time for the race. The forecast is for a couple of wet/rainy days, never above 5 degrees during the day and a couple of frosty nights. So every long sleeve top I own has been packed, I will probably be wearing two pairs of tights and even have a mountain down jacket just in case.

The shopping has been done, schedule checked and re-checked, permits and labels in place, officials, first aiders and everything required has been achieved. The press has been busy this week with reports going out on BBC and ITV, the local newspapers have done excellent, and even got one last interview on Radio Tees at 7:20 in the morning on race day!!

I am the fittest I have been in a long time, my last two short races I managed to shave another few seconds off my 5km time and took 3 miuntes of my best 10km time for 2008, so can't do anymore. I am ready, confident and as they say in Formula 1 - go, go, go.........

Link: Latest news on Croft 6 Day race

January 2009

I don’t know where to start this month as so much has happened in such a short space of time. 2008 finished as it started, with a new record for the event. Although an up-and-down year with a big chunk out due to injury it was still a very successful year. I am still thoroughly enjoying every step of being out running and got bigger and better plans for the future. 2008 started with a course record in Libya, then a mediocre performance in the Marathon des Sables, a major injury in the Surgeres 48 hour races which resulted in missing the big event for the year at Badwater. Plenty of time to reflect and correct the cause of the problem to come back stronger and more determined than ever to break the British Indoor Record with a new 24 hour pb at the Bislett Stadium 24 hour event, what more can I say about 2008.

Roll on 2009 and this year will be starting with another big bang – straight into a massive event for me on my doorstep and a challenge at the long standing 6 day records. Croft Circuit 6 Days is taking place near Darlington from 9th – 15th February 2009 and I will be aiming at an excess of 820km (approx 510 miles). The weather may be poor but I know this and just got to get on with the job of focussing on the goal, it will be a long lonely run with very few runners taking part but a dedicated crew of officials to back up the attempt. Darlington Building Society are generously sponsoring the event, sponsors are hard to come by in these tough times but they are standing by me with great confidence and am really grateful for their assistance, without it this event would not be taking place and have been with me since the initial stages of planning back in June last year.

LEJOG gave me a few lessons in real distance events and have adjusted the nutrition and running schedule from this to gain a few more miles. Mannatech products supplied most of my nutritional needs and will again be taking the products for this event. The other issue with LEJOG was my poor, sore feet, but this year started with a surprise new sponsor and some fantastic new innovative shoes from Spira. I have only been running in these shoes for a few weeks, I would like to think my training has played a part in this but considering it is nearing the end of January and barely 6 weeks since Bislett and I have already bettered my 5km and half marathon times set in 2008 and my marathon time has bettered even 2007 performances. These shoes are just incredibly comfortable, no rough seams, generous toe boxes that are excellent for me and spring technology not seen in other shoes – just take a look at the website and try a pair (www.spirafootwear.co.uk). The first outings in the Del Sol and Striker shoes I ran over 3 hours on consecutive days with no problems and even dared wear the Stinger Elite racing shoe for a half marathon, whereas before I would never exceed the 10km distance in racing flats. I have really taken to these shoes already and the real test will come at Croft Circuit. Being a high mileage runner cushioning is very important to me and so far these shoes have not let me down.

News is that I could possibly be taking part in two races for my country this year – UKA looks like it may have the funding to send teams to the World 24 Hours to be held in Italy in May and Norman Wilson has been beavering away at the Commonwealth Demonstration events to be held in September in Keswick, of which 24 hours is one of the planned events and I am number 1 in the Commonwealth.

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