(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 2011

What an amazing finish to the year. The motto for Teesside University is "Inspiring Success", so what better place to be to tackle the record to run the furthest distance on a treadmill in 7 days. The result was 832km (517 miles) and will now have to collate the information for the record to be ratified. The event was filmed in its entirity. The filming was to ensure it was me on the treadmill, that it was stopped before getting on and off and that I was not holding on to the treadmill. Hourly photographs were taken and also every time the treadmill was stopped and started for breaks and toilets stops.

Andrew Russell and Alan Guy were the witnesses for this and also responsible for delivering (and measuring) my food and drinks at the temperature and time required. It was a tiring task for them and getting a little less sleep than me every day. There was a complete rota system in place for technicians, staff and students to take data for research purposes (well as a Sport Scientist the opportunity was too good to miss), a fun time was had by all. Mike Graham seemed to take the brunt of the early morning 5am starts and a few of the late 1am finishes, Nic Berger got the first and last nights and also a Saturday night and also had the pressure of taking bloods in front of the cameras at the finish (he does hold the record for faster blood taker), Dann Cooley played his part, Laura came in on her day off and many students gave up early and late nights to be on hand. Mike Mason, Cheryl Peacock, Simon and Steve all come to mind immediatly although many others were involved. Darren Cooper organised a rota for sports therapy cover - I only had to call him the once after 5 days of running for a small niggle that held up no problem. Keith Haley had his work cut out and challenged him when the treadmill overheated on the first day, doors had to be removed and lots of manpower and lifting gear to move the heavy treadmill from the physiology labs. I had many visits from higher up staff all keen to see the event a success - Keith Hurst, Mark Simpson and the VC Graham Henderson.

Once all over it was nice to sit around in an empty room, just Dann tidying up and me packing up. Tom McBain did a few shifts and shared his sausage roll after everyone has gone. Finally Bill picked me up after work and I said goodbye to my home for the week. I enjoyed this far more than I had anticipated, it was a new experience, there was so many people that popped in to have a quick chat, so many messages of support, so much news on people that had been inspired by my run to nowhere. This made the effort so worthwhile and the buckets from Zoes Place and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research weighed a ton. So many thanks for supporting my charities - you can still donate if you wish.

Read more about the Treadmill world records

There are new challenges for the new year. After so much attention for a whole week the first one will probably be the opposite to this - away from the limelight and support and a run along the Pennine Way, I do love the loneliness of the long distance runner! Called The Spine, then it will have to be a run from End to End in Ireland. I cycled this earlier in the year and the plan is to tackle the record for this - will it be the female or overall record? Will have to wait and see. Have a good Christmas and happy and healthy new year and watch out for some new challenges and records to be broken....

November 2011

So I can finally confirm the date for my world record attempt at ?The furthest distance run by a person on a treadmill in 7 days? is set for 14th to 21st December 2011.

The event will start at midday at the Olympia Building at Teesside University and is open to the public if you want to come and see me. There is a large crew to back me up for this one which is much easier for crewing than most events as it is stationary and indoors.

I have already done a day of training at Teesside University as a trial to make sure all the required information for verification was carried out and to practice my running, resting and nutritional strategy as well as some testing that will be taking place.

As far as I am aware from Guinness World Records the record is currently 753km (468 miles), the female record is over 100km below this.

See Treadmill 7 day page

My training hasn?t been the best this month due to a couple of viruses within two weeks. After three days with swollen glands that restricted eating it was later that week that I went to Bislett Stadium in Oslo for a last long run. I had no high expectations for this event and due to the virus wore a heart rate monitor. After just a few hours running it became evident that my body was not recovered and so stopped running after 9 hours to recover for the big one. The day after the race I returned to find I was coming down with a heavy cold and explained the higher than normal heart rate. So it?s time for lots of food and rest now to taper for the big one.

I also gained some new shoes from Hoka One One that I will wear for the treadmill run. I wore these in Bislett and they really are the most incredibly cushioned shoes I have ever worn. They seemed to be getting good reviews from ultra runners and can?t agree more. A nice spacious toe box to allow for expanding feet and usually it is my feet that hurt more than my legs.

A page has now been set up on this website for the 7 day treadmill run and will be updated daily throughout the challenge. I am running this to raise money for my two chosen charities. You can donate to these to make my run worthwhile at www.virginmoneygiving.com/SharonGayter or you can donate by texting my code (FYVR54) and the amount you want to donate to 70070. For example to donate 1 simply text FYVR54 1 to the telephone number 70070.

Charlotte Wren Forget-Me-Not Fund (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research (LLR)

Mike and Claire Wren, as a family of local fundraisers in Middlesbrough, set up their Forget-Me-Not Fund, in loving memory of their beautiful and brave three year old daughter Charlotte in 2007.Their vision is to help ?make a difference? for little people fighting blood cancers by funding breakthroughs in research and improvements into treatments that are less invasive, less painful and ultimately to find that elusive cure for all, in a dedication to Charlotte?s memory.

At all theirfundraising events, Mike and Claire truly believe that whenever people are gathered together in Charlotte?s name ? Her inspirational spirit and legacy of unconditional love will continue to go on.

Website: https://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/give-memory

Zoes Place

Zoes Place is a home from home for babies who have life limiting or life threatening conditions. Zoes Place can take up to six infants at any one time, there is also accommodation and ample facilities for the whole family if these are needed.

They offer palliative and specialist respite care for babies/infants from birth to five years old, and end of life care when it is required. They afford each individual respect and dignity regardless of gender, race, culture, religious beliefs or disability.

October 2011

October News So the Commonwealth's didn't go to plan - I ran a steady and controlled race for the first 12 hours, but the last few weeks caught up on me and started to go downhill. After 3 hours of struggling I was losing the will to live and had little left to give other than a long walk to the finish and it was time to call it a day. My breathing had still not recovered and have now had two courses of steroids and at present looks like I am heading for a third lot. My peak flow rate that measures part of my lung function is still well down on normal readings, so hope for some better news to report on next month.

Having said that the week after the run we set off for Ireland with our bikes and had the most glorious cycle ride ever from Mizen Head to Malin Head (end to end in Ireland). The route was so peaceful and scenic compared to LEJOG and at around 345 miles a lot shorter. It was great to be out in the fresh air every day and have a week off from running, we even had the luxury of B&B every night and some monstrous cooked breakfasts to work off and stayed at some exceptional establishments. I came back fully refreshed for the challenges ahead and only did two short runs the first week back to give myself a bit more chance to recover, but the last 3 weeks has seen some serious training and getting back to the basics of running every day, speedwork, hill reps, sustained runs, long run and weights and now it the end of the month am feeling much stronger.

University also started up again so it's back to the classrooms to help our future graduates. My time off from here dictates some of the challenges I can do and at present can see three on the horizon that I would like to run in the next 6 months. The first challenge a few of you are already aware of, but feel that as most of the organisation behind the scenes has just about been completed its time to reveal the next "boring" challenge - 7 days on a treadmill! Having spent much of this time last year plodding away in my garage with the heavy snow around and dark, miserable nights it got me thinking, so much of October has been spent doing my long runs in this manner, my only treat being a birthday run around the Town Moor Marathon in Newcastle. A great day out, but mediocre performance with my breathing still not up to scratch, but legs full of running still.

So the date is set for December and the event has to be open to the public. Most other attempts have been done extremely publicly in shopping centres, and am aware of yet another attempt happening in a shopping centre in November. As far as I am aware at present the male record for this is 753km, considering I walked off the track with 750km completed in 6 days in the heat of Athens earlier in the year this should be within my capabilities (this distance still ranks me as World Number 1 this year!). My attempt will be at my place of work - Teesside University and hopefully will have a page up soon should any of you wish to support my challenge by donating to charity. Details will follow in next month's news along with the date.

I had hoped to compete in the UF160 in Spain, but the need for consistent training and my continued breathing problems held me back. Paul Bateson has a really wonderful training camp there in Spain, great off-road routes and accommodation and much more pleasant weather than back here in the UK - so hopefully I will get some training done out there in the new year - do check www.trailrunspain.com and am sure Paul will design some great training - either individual or groups!

September 2011

September News It's taken nearly 4 weeks to recover from The High, but just about getting there now with the help from steroids for my breathing and permission to take them from UKA. The Commonwealth Championships 24 hours is the big race for this month, 23rd -24th September in North Wales. Not sure I will quite be firing on all cylinders for this one, but as always will give it my best shot. Having taken the gold medal last time it will be a challenge to defend my title as training has not been specific for this one, but can't say I am unfit with what I have achieved this year and experience counts for much. There is a team medal at stake too, so even if I wasn't to get on the podium for an individual medal there are others running that I have to think about. Withdrawing from the event has certainly played on my mind strongly over the last fortnight. In real terms anything less than a gold medal will be a disappointment, but realistically its one of those events where you never quite know what will happen, its a long race. I have a strong will, a strong finish, am focussed and determined, am proud to represent my country and still have the furthest distance in the bank of all the runners I expect to be there. I will also have lots of supporters, scarey! Not used to this!

It will be the first international vest I have worn this year (well, thats if it ever arrives! Got it the night before the race last time and guess it won't be any different this time, so much for not wearing new kit on race day). There has still been no team announcements that I am aware of, so can only assume who I think I will be competing against. There is now a race website at www.cmudc2011.org but don't hold out much hope that it will be updated during the event if they can't even anounce the teams with less that 10 days to the start. One supporter will be doing his best to update you, Andrew Russell, I think he is intending to drive down on Friday after work and be at the event the whole night - bring plenty of warm kit Andrew - but he hopes to put a few updates on Albert parkrun facebook page to keep you informed as best he can.

We are driving down the night before the race and sleeping in the van as usual. We are taking the week off after the event and taking the opportunity to go for a cycling holiday in Ireland, so if I am not responding for a week you know where I am - either drowning my sorrows or on a high! Talking of Bill, the altitude training (and weight loss) worked well for him, a sub 48 minutes at the Boro 10km and he even ran the Robin Hood Half Marathon. This week he is more focussed on his birthday - the BIG 50!! I have wrapped 50 presents in newspaper, numbered them all and he is having a "birthday week". Every day he draws out 5 numbers and its like a tombola finding which presents he can open. So in 6 days he will open 30 presents leaving 20 for his actual birthday. Better than where he spent his birthday last year - at my bedside in hospital after my stem cell treatment and ankle surgery!

Bill's 50th birthday!

August 2011

The big race for this month was "The High" at 222km long and an average altitude of 14,850 feet (with two big peaks over 17,500 feet at Khardung La and Tanglang La). We were away for the first two weeks of August to do some acclimatisation at Leh, India. The Himalayas were stunning and the race has to be one of the toughest ever. I have done two reports, one a lot shorter as the long one is VERY long, more like a book!

Above: Sharon & Bill at "The High"

Download the reports:

I started these reports with this opening statement:

So I have run the Marathon des Sables and Badwater Ultramarathon, both of which claim to be the toughest race on earth, I have run in snow and ice across Slovenia, run the alpine paths of the Trans-Alpine race, run phenomenal distances such as Lands End to John O?Groats (837 miles) and earlier in the year my second longest run of 750km in 6 days in Athens, ran numerous 24 hour races and 100 kilometre races, have run back to back marathons such as Moravian Ultra Marathon (7 marathons in 7 days), run stage races such as Al Andalus Ultra Trail, run with packs on such at the unsupported Libyan Challange, run through canyons, Verdon Canyon, have run deserts, trails, track and road races and now I had the ultimate before me ? altitude! Would this be tougher than the rest or just another claim? I would find out as this was the challenge and relished the chance to try.

I can now honestly say this was the hardest challenge of all the races of a similar distance, far harder than the Marathon des Sables and Badwater which both claim to be the toughest races on earth, these were merely long runs by comparison and threw up very little resistance compared to altitude. The altitude affects the whole race, continuously having very laboured breathing (which seriously affected my asthma and was on a nebuliser every 4 hours to try to control this) and feelings of sickness as blood is directed away from the stomach. Mark Cockbain had been the only finisher of this event in the inaugural race last year with 48 hrs 50 minutes. I am pleased to say I survived the challenge and won the event outright and reduced the course record to 37 hrs 34 minutes. This year there were six finishers in the race. I am not sure that the world can give a tougher race than this and not sure I would want to try having run The High. I will leave it for you to try as I have done my bit for the time being!

Above: Using a nebuliser with Girish, Khardung La

Since coming home I was back racing the same week as usual. I ran the parkrun 5km on the Saturday and Ray Harrison Memorial 10km on the Sunday, and still Bill couldn't keep up. I even won a prize for first LV45 in the 10km - just under 45 mins compared to 42-43 minutes I have been running most of the year. Bill ran just over 50 minutes and lost 5kg on the trip to India (dare I say I lost 3kg?). So can I take a rest now? What does that word mean? My selection papers have now confirmed that I have been selected to run for England in the Commonwealth Championships taking place in North Wales starting on 23rd September - that's a 24 hour race for me and as the defending champion have a lot to live up to. It will be a tough one to win and retain my title!

July 2011

The big race this month was the Al Andalus Ultra Trail of 220km over 5 days, roughly 37km, 45km, 43km, 60km and 38km. The weather was wonderfully hot and superb organisation. After arriving at the hotel in Loja (Spain) the stage race ran in a massive loop stopping off at tents in a few small towns and one remote campsite where a big paella was cooked. The race was semi supported meaning that all overnight kit was transported and only a small bumbag was carried for the small list of essential kit.

The race was a training race to prepare me for the hills of the Himalayas and was great to be a full time athlete for the week. The overall result was second lady and first team along with Paul Motty and Robert Treadwell. I came back fitter and stronger and within days of getting home clocked up another 3 races for the month! Report with a few photos is here.

Race report - Al Andalus Ultra Trail: hardmoors110-2011-report.doc (2.6Mb)

I left Bill home alone for this one as he was short on holidays and hates the heat, but he won?t miss out on the next big adventure which is off to the Himalayas to take part in The High (www.thehigh.in). A 135 mile race that goes up to around 18,000ft, left over business from last year. This will take up the first couple of weeks in August as we have a few days to continue our acclimatisation. I have been using equipment from Alto Lab that reduces the oxygen levels you breathe in and at 75% this equates to around 20,000ft of altitude. The system has a program that comes with it and is used for around an hour every evening for 15 days then a break for 15 days followed by a cycle of days it should or should not be used. I can feel a big difference in using the system now compared to when I started which only adds to my confidence that I can complete this great challenge that only Mark Cockbain has completed to date.

Bill is now back running and also hopes to do one of the shorter races of either 10km or half marathon while out in India. Plans are slowly taking shape for one last big event to finish the year in December.

June 2011

The first big race of the month was the local Hardmoors 110 that followed the Cleveland Way. My main source of food on this one was bread pudding, personally made and individual slices wrapped for me by Lisa at www.todinefor.org.uk. I had a nice steady run and although a little disappointed not to finish this in a day I was content with my time of 24 hours 21 minutes for first lady, third overall and a new female course record by over 4 hours. I didn?t have much of a taper and was quite heavily trained and the 6000 metres of climbing was good training for The High, which is fast approaching. The reports are now out for Athens, De Zestig van Texel and Hardmoors ? it?s been a busy year!

Download race reports:

Hardmoors 110: hardmoors110-2011-report.doc (46kb)
Athens: athens-2011-report.doc (56kb)
De Zestig van Texel:
de-zestig-van-texel-2011-report.doc (56kb)

A week after Hardmoors I was invited along with the Mayor of Guisborough to start the fun run at the annual Guisborough Fair that attracted over 4,000 people, and to sign copies of my book. The Rotary Club of Guisborough and Great Ayton did a wonderful job and the weather almost held out until the end.

Above: Guisborough Fair annual fun run start

The hard work will continue to get my climbing legs back and have looked at many races to prepare me for this and it looks like one race has won me over, hot and hilly the Al Andalus Ultra Trail 220km stage race. Thanks to Paul Bateson for his support in helping me to take part in this race.

On the racing side I completed my 1000th race on 15th May 2011, not a significant race unfortunately but the 1000 races add up to 21,115 miles of racing ? an average of just over 21 miles per race. For the first 6 months of this year I have run 47 races and over 1000 miles of racing, that?s keeps up the average of just over 21 miles per race! I hate to think how much racing costs me, entrance fees and travelling must be my biggest bill!

Bill is now back training again after time out since Athens with sciatica and has taken part in many of the shorter races this month.

May 2011

So this month was full of shorter races to get my speed back and start to get used to hill training again. I did my first fell race in well over a year, the Fox and Hounds 9 miles and even managed to win some chocolates! I entered the Windermere Marathon for some steady hill running too which was the longest of the 13 races I ran this month. Having run this on the Sunday there were less than two weeks to go until running the Hardmoors 110 which runs along the Cleveland Way. Although this is a local race some of it would be run in the darkness and as I wanted to familiarise myself with the whole of the route I ran this in three days. The Tuesday after the Windermere Marathon Bill dropped me at Helmsley and I ran back to Guisborough 55 miles, Wednesday I ran from home and got the bus back from Hinderwell 22 miles (just after Port Mulgrave), on the Thursday I ran from Port Mulgrave to Filey approximately 33 miles. That left a rest day, a park run and a 10 kilometre race, with around 150 miles for the week I had just 4 days to recover for the race proper. Not an ideal taper! But the Hardmoors was about a steady training run to get used to the hills, this does involve some 6000 metres of climbing!

I passed my milestone of 1000 races, not in a significant race, just another local one, the Ravenscar Half Marathon that ran along the coast as part of the Cleveland Way. I have finished writing reports for the Athens race and De Zestig van Texel, but just need to tidy them up a bit and read through them, so they should be up shortly in June news, along with the results of the Hardmoors 110 which is the first Friday in June, 5pm start!

April 2011

What a fantastic month. I was incredibly satisfied with my result from Athens. The biggest dream of 1000km in 7 days unsurprisingly didn?t happen, that would have been an incredibly big ask and probably pushed me a little too far at this stage in training. A British Road 6 Day Record was more than enough to keep me satisfied and confirm that I am over the ankle problems from last year and just as pleasing was finishing in great shape with no major problems, particularly bone problems and stress fractures. The race went steady, I struggled a bit on the second day but got back to the goal of finishing in good shape and was out for the time I was supposed to be. The weather was scorching hot and on occasions rather windy. After day 3 it became clear that I could break the British record for 6 days and so just done enough to complete this. I revamped the record from 730km up to 750km, with the job done there was no need to punish myself and so stepped off the track and didn?t complete the 7 day race. After 7 days my distance of 750km still headed the rankings and finished as first person!

As if this wasn?t enough for one month, I always knew there was another race that I dearly wanted to compete in this month ? and it was another ultra just a mere 2 weeks later. Martien Baars had informed me about this race he organises a year ago and left him to sweat it out as to whether or not I would appear. I had to know I was capable of finishing this one as it has a tough time limit, which severely restricts the number of competitors in the 120km race, but this just adds to the challenge, 13 hours to run the race with the soft sand and heat was hard for many of the athletes.

Park runA week after Athens I surprised myself with a parkrun in around 21 mins 24 sec and didn?t really feel that bad, so I thought I would give it a bash and was pretty confident of finishing in the time limit. I didn?t exactly give myself and easy run into the event that was on Easter Monday as Good Friday I did the Mermaid 10km (42 min 25 sec) and the next day did the parkrun again, this time a lot easier I might add as we took the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam that evening.

As for the race itself, it was incredible. I have always enjoyed Holland and this was to be no different. Just a couple of hours north of Rotterdam we took the ferry to the Island of Texel and camped in the van along with some others ? Mik who had done the event several times previously and gave much detail about the event, and Colin Gell, from the UK whom we had collected at Hull to have a run.

[Photo: Running sub 21 mins at parkrun at Albert Park, Middlesbrough after 2 ultras in 2 weeks] Note: Sharon will be at Albert Park for the parkruns 3rd Anniversary next weekend (21st May) and will be signing and selling her book.

I will write a full report shortly and give links (along with one from Athens when I get the time). But as a general overview the race started at 4:35am, was 120km in length and had a 13 hours cut off time and you needed to have run a 100km race in sub 9 hrs 30 mins to qualify for this race. This adds to the prestige of the event and holds much admiration from the other runners. There was also a shorter 60km race that had a time limit of 7 hours and started at 10:35am. So in essence we were to run around the coast of this island for 60km anti-clockwise, then turn around where the 60km race started and run clock-wise. The goal was to get to the turn-around point by 6 hours so as not to meet the 300 or so 60km runners coming in the opposite direction, and relay runners too!

I started very steadily in the dark, soon hitting the coast and heading up the dykes to a lighthouse. Here at the northern end of the island and around 25km was my favourite section. A wonderful, undulating path through a nature reserve, sunny and peaceful and glorious views (as was the whole island). Next came a kind of trail section and then the first of the sandy beaches that did tax the legs. The second section wasn?t far after and was tougher yet as the sun beat down. Reaching tarmac around 55km made the transition between surfaces difficult but made it to the turn around point just in time with 5 hrs 53 mins. I kept expecting Athens to come and bite me and fade badly, but I now had 7 hours to complete another 60km. The runners soon started overtaking, all were incredibly polite and supportive and kept me going. It was at 90km and when hitting the tarmac for the last time that I knew I would finish in the time limit, so stopped and changed socks and shoes to be more comfortable without sand in my feet and continued to thoroughly enjoy the rest of the race, seeing the colourful fields of flowers we missed in the darkness on the way out. The finishing time was 12 hrs 24 mins, first lady and fastest time by a British person ? ever!

Download full report - Texel: de-zestig-van-texel-2011-report.doc (56kb)

As I said, one great month. I will give ultras a rest for the month of May, but then hills are on the cards, Hardmoors in June and then The High. As for recovering from Texel ? well just 5 days later I was back to parkrun with 21 mins and 7 secs and running the Tees Barrage 10km a week after Texel in sub 43 mins! 2010 is behind me ? I am back big style!

March 2011

Another fantastic month of running, I have improved the club record for 20 miles at Hull, nothing fantastic at 2 hrs 35 minutes but 7 minutes quicker than the Ashby 20 last year. I have now tapered and am off to Athens to take part in a rather long race. The plan is to return healthy and injury free, but okay, there will be a few blisters and a bit of muscle stiffness. I have a plan for running hours and resting hours and planned distances that I hope to obtain, but to keep the pressure off I will run the early days for pure pleasure of running and see how the distance mounts up. After a few days if the distance covered matches the planned distances then you may just see a magical performance. Occasionally dreams come true, and the dream for this one is 1000km!

So in 7 days that would be an average of 145km a day, somewhere around the 90 miles a day. So watch this space and see what happens. The first day should easily see this distance, but the subsequent days may depend on many factors, but if my planned distances were to happen then the 6 day world record along with the 1000km record could be broken!

Follow Sharon's progress on the event website: www.dayrunners.gr
Chip timing update: www.championchip.gr/liveresults/2011/ultramarathon/7days/
This website - click here to read daily text message updates

Download Athens full report: athens-2011-report.doc (56kb)

I have had the pleasure of giving more presentations and talks, but the next big one planned is on 20th April in York. You are all invited to this one, but may have a maximum cost of 3 attached to it and will be in the evening around 8pm. So if you want an inspirational evening listening to me, just drop me an email and I will get back to you with details (but I won?t respond until after 11th April when I am home again), I will of course be selling and signing my books at a discount price. Thanks to Richard for organising this one!

I must thank EIM (United Kingdom) Ltd, (the great Arki Busson) who has again given some great financial support to cover all my costs for this event that I am truly grateful for.

February 2011

On the running front I have been in a training program for nearly 8 weeks now. The first trial was the Frostbite 50, which lived up to its name and was freezing to start with, but dark and muddy on the coastline to finish with. My goal of around 10 hours wasn?t far out with a 10 hrs 03 minutes clocking. This was just a training run and the following week got my local parkrun 5km time to within 20 seconds of my best, 20 mins 21 sec the result, so speed and endurance all heading in the right direction. To end February was the second 50 miler, this one was the Winter Poppyline 50 miles and the plan was to break 9 hrs. The underfoot conditions were pretty muddy with the heavy overnight rain but was content with 8 hrs 45 minutes for the run, that completed 130 miles in 8 days so was not rested for this event either. My left ankle is holding up very well and am running very consistently now and looking forward to a successful year.

The book is continuing to sell well at all book signings, everyday there are emails waiting for me that are a sheer pleasure to read and see what it has done for you, or just the fact that you have enjoyed reading it. Gorleston Cliffs parkrun gave me a great welcome but a rather blustery run, and sold yet more books. You never know, there just may be a sequel by the time I retire from international athletics as even with having a poor year in 2010, there are stories from a bad year and how to come back. Time out focuses the mind so well on what you really want.

I have done several talks over the last few weeks and a few more planned in the next few weeks. I did particularly enjoy one at Newcastle Cricket Club where it was great to also listen to Commonwealth marathon runner Jim Alder, as well as give my own talk, all hopefully that raised money for Unicef as organised by Paramjeet for his motorcycle ride to India. I am still happy to give my time freely where I am able to in order to support your event, so do continue to ask and I will do my best to accommodate.

Bill has also been in a running program for the past 8 weeks and is absolutely flying. Although we know he will never reach the times achieved before having his double hip replacement, his ?post hip? pb?s from very limited running are superb and will soon be catching me. His latest at the Snake Lane 10 was 75 mins and I know he can run faster yet. His parkrun 5km must soon be due to renewal too!

January 2011

I did one last race to finish the year off, but the trip to the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix, Arizona, did not live up to its name. The first spots of rain fell after just 30 minutes of running and just got heavier and heavier, the dirt track turned to a quagmire and the thunderstorms and torrential stuff started spectacularly after dark. I plugged away for a long run, but my goal was not achieved. Across The Years is a fantastic event and superb venue that is supported well and am sure the dirt track is ideal in the more usual dry weather, I just chose the wrong day to visit.

I just made it back in time, rather tired and jet-lagged without having slept for two days, to watch Bill take part in his 50th Parkrun at Albert Park on New Years day, along with nearly 100 others who turned out to run. My bad year is now behind me, I can?t grumble as after 10 years at the top I was a happy person and have now done 13 years at the top. I will be back.

Old Monks 6 race - January 2011The serious training has started again with a much adapted program to restrict some of my running miles, much more aqua-jogging, cycling, rowing and elliptical trainer work. Most weekdays I now do two sessions of training, but only one is running, I still do weights twice a week and then fit in my cross training. I am sure with the extra years in age this will conserve me to keep running for many years to come. Tees Valley Leisure have come to my aid with the extra cross training and appreciate their sponsorship to allow me free access to their facilities (particularly Guisborough Pool early on Wednesday and Thursday mornings when Bill drops me off at 6:30am on the way to work).

I now have a 12 week program to follow to lead me up to my first big event of the year in Athens. There are a couple of shorter ultras I plan to run in the build up ? Frostbite 50 and Poppyline 50 to see how I am adapting to my training. I did run a couple of short, sharp events before my program started ? Alan Musgrove kindly took one of me at Old Monks near Hartlepool on one of the rare sunny days in the North East, but it was slippery underfoot!

I have had my book out for just over a month now and the publicity and reviews are still ongoing and am honoured at the many people that have taken the time to give me such wonderful feedback. I have had many interviews - radio, tv, newspapers, magazines and internet sites. I gave up trying to keep the press releases page up to date several years ago as it is too time consuming. It is always interesting to see what people choose to report on.

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