Teesside University lecturer Sharon Gayter has set a new women’s record for the classic John O’Groats to Land’s End challenge. Facing sleep deprivation and some tough conditions, the 55-year-old covered the 822 mile journey in 12 days, 11 hours, 6 minutes and 7 seconds.
Gayter, a seasoned ultra runner with several world records under her belt, including the furthest distance set on a treadmill in 12 hours, set off from the far north of Scotland on Sunday 21 July and arrived in Cornwall on 2 August.
Her time slices more than four hours off the 2008 record, set by Mimi Anderson, and sees Gayter retain a title she first held in 2006. Somewhat remarkably, Gayter was five hours quicker this time around than she was 13 years ago.
This attempt, which was two years in the planning, will be her last, however, as she stated post-event: “I never doubted for one step that I’d do it, but I’ve promised Bill, my husband, that I’ll never, ever, do anything like it again.
“The pain in my feet for the final 24 hours has been dreadful, the absence of sleep is really kicking in, but what I need more than anything is a shower. I haven’t had one since day three.”
While Gayter was looking forward to catching up on some sleep (she was surviving on less than three hours per night during the challenge), she did say she would be back at work this morning (Monday 5 August).