Sponsored by Darlington Building Society : 9th – 15th February 2009
The Croft 6 Days will be the first official ultra distance road event of this kind to be held in this country for 25 years, the last road race was at Trentham Gardens, Stoke, in 1984 and the ladies winner was Christine Barrett with 767.981km.
This event will start at 10am and be run for a continuous 144 hours. The route will be around a section of the smooth, flat tarmac of the Croft Circuit near Darlington measured at 1.823km (approx 1.1 miles).
The current records for running 6 days on road are:
World Men: Yiannis Kouros (GRE/AUS) 1036.8km
World Women: Dipali Catherine Cunningham (AUS) 820.765km
British Men: Richard Brown 833.640km
British Women: Pippa Davies 730.642km
Sharon Gayter will be attempting to break the British Record and then go on to attempt the World Record of 820km (approx 510 miles). 450 laps of the loop will give 820.35km so an excess of this is required, giving an average of 137km per day (85 miles).
Sharon took over 17 hours from the World Record for running Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2006 and has “tweaked” her world record run to attempt this event. Although on LEJOG just 651km were passed by the six day mark that was a twelve day event and had much more logistics to contend with being a mobile, point to point event. This event being static for the organisation, food, drink, lap recording, staffing of officials and with there being no traffic, general public and map reading to contend with makes progression far easier with just the running factor to concentrate on.
The schedule is a punishing one, sleeping from 2am to 5:30am most nights and probably none on the last day. The “tweaked” schedule for this event is for 5 blocks of 3 hours 30 minutes interspersed with 30 minute breaks for rest/food, which gives nearly 18 hours of running per day. The daily schedule planned is:
Day 1 94 laps 171km
Day 2 166 laps 302km
Day 3 238 laps 434km
Day 4 310 laps 565km
Day 5 382 laps 696km
Day 6 464 laps 845km
This gives a new record by 25km, but in reality as long as Sharon does not lose more than 14 laps (25km) from her schedule the world record will remain in her sights.
Sharon remains fit after setting the World’s Best Indoor 24 Hour distance for 2008, when breaking the British Indoor Record at the Bislett Stadium in Oslo last December, but injury in such distance events is always a concern. The weather may also play its part in this event, the depths of winter are not ideal but as many important ultra events are planned during the “pleasant weather“ months this is the only opportunity for this event to take place. The World 24 Hours are in Italy in May and the Commonwealth Demonstration 24 hour event in Keswick in September (of which Sharon is Number 1 in the Commonwealth).
Sharon will again be supported financially by the Darlington Building Society, will be taking the tried and tested nutritional supplements from Mannatech that she has used for many years and will be wearing the new Spira shoes that have just launched in the UK and given fantastic results so far.