| Noot vooraf van Martien Baars. Twee markante deelnemers aan de afgelopen editie van de 120 van Texel waren de Britse lopers Sharon Gayter en Colin Gell. Na afloop beloofde enthousiaste Sharon dat ze een uitgebreid verslag over de 120 zou maken. Onlangs stuurde ze het inderdaad op en hieronder staat een voorproefje. Het complete verslag, inclusief fotoís van Arco de Graaf, staat op de website van de Zestig van Texel.
How a British sportswoman explored Texel, twice
A report on the 120K edition of 2011 by Sharon Gayter
From one ferry to another
It was barely two weeks after running for 6 days in Athens and a distance of 750 kilometres to break the British 6 day road record that I would be running my next ultra, the 120 kilometres of the Dutch biannual running event ĎDe Zestig van Texelí (60K & 120K, plus a 4 x15K relay). I felt good; couldnít feel any niggles and the tiredness had all gone. I only had battered feet that were still recovering. The toe nails had all gone now, apart from the two that survived, the blisters healed, it was just that left over feeling from where the feet had throbbed from battering the tarmac relentlessly.
The Texel race was on Easter Monday 25th April, on Good Friday I ran the Mermaid 10km in 42 minutes and 25 seconds, only 4 seconds shy of my club record that was set two years previously and on Saturday morning I couldnít resist a run of 5 kilometres around Albert Park.
I booked the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam and it was all systems go. It had been a while since we had travelled on this ferry; it was always my favourite way to travel. No long waits at an airport, we didnít have to carry or check the bags in, no cramped sitting conditions and a whole cruise ship to explore. We shared a four berth cabin as we took fellow competitor Colin Gell with us. He joined us at Hull and had run for England at 100 kilometres and qualified for the Texel race with a 7 hours 40 minutes performance. Compared to the Texel 60K race, the 120K is an elite race as potential participants need to have fulfilled a qualification like a 100K race within 9 hours 30 minutes or a 24 hours race with a distance covered of 200 kilometres or more. The 120K race Texel itself has a time limit of 13 hours. Martien Baars, the organiser in charge of the 120K and who had invited me, had seen his field of runners decimated by a series of withdrawals due to injuries since January. The six women were now two and one of them was me! The start field was down from 43 to around 25 runners in total for the 120K race.
It was a relaxing crossing but and an easy drive of around 100 miles to Den Helder to take the 20 minute ferry crossing to the island of Texel. There was no hanging around on this crossing and we arrived in no time. This island was fantastic. Martien lives on the island and calls it a miniature Holland, it has a little of everything. He was certainly right, although we didnít have too much time to explore. We drove to De Koog where Martien had kindly reserved the last spot in the campsite over this busy period. Our late booking had probably not gone down too well! Plot number 120, the same distance as I would have to run! Each plot had a maximum of 6 people, 2 tents and 1 vehicle. We had the vehicle, we brought a small tent for Colin, (who hasnít camped since his scouting days) and Mik Borsten, who was a Dutch competitor that had run this several times previously and his two support team were also sharing a tent on the plot, but they had yet to arrive.
We were barely sorted when Martien arrived to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. We arranged to collect our numbers later that day and meet the film crew that were following the race. There had never been a British runner in the 120K race before and so he was eager to stress that conditions were very tough this year with the hot, dry spring weather and the sand sections being very soft sand instead of the firm sand that was more normal for this race. The race is held on alternate years on Easter Monday and with Easter being so much later this year, and with the weather being so dry for such a long period, the bicycles could no longer cycle the sand sections as it was so soft. It also increased the effort that the runners had to put in, the 120 kilometre race would feel like 140 kilometres I was told. All Martien wanted was for me to finish in the cut off time of 13 hours. I still felt confident and reassured him I wasnít here to go for records, just to finish and enjoy the race.
After setting up camp and putting up the tent for Colin we rested and refuelled. Colin took a short cycle into town to buy some drinks as he hadnít realised there were no organised drinks for the first half of the race, he was allocated a cyclist to accompany him and feed him the drinks he had brought. Mik soon arrived and gave us great detail on the race, his daughter and her friend were supporting Mik and he hired a scooter for them to travel around the course. I bet Bill wished I had thought of this!
At 6pm we went to the race centre in the StayOkay hostel in Den Burg (the capital of the island) to collect our numbers, championchips and a patriotic bright orange souvenir t-shirt! We met the film crew and figured out how to carry a small recording device they required for sound while running the race and then went back for more food and a shower before retiring to bed at 9am. It was to be an early start.
Lees verder op http://www.dezestigvantexel.nl
PS December 2010 is haar boek verschenen: The clock keeps ticking. An amazing journey into the life of Great Britainís top ultra runner. Ik vond het zelf een aangrijpend boek want het beschrijft hoe een schuchter meisje zich ontworstelt aan een trieste jeugd met alcoholische ouders en ontdekt wat haar werkelijke mogelijkheden zijn, zowel in het dagelijks leven als in de sport. Het boek is te bestellen op haar website http://www.sharongayter.com voor 20 pond (inclusief verzending) maar zelf heb ik ook nog 3 exemplaren in voorraad sinds haar bezoek aan Texel en die bied ik aan voor 15 euro (inclusief verzending binnen Nederland). Liefhebbers kunnen een mailtje sturen naar martien.baars <at> nioz.nl
PS2 Eén van de enthousiaste debutanten op de 60 km afgelopen Pasen bewerkstelligde dat ik werd uitgenodigd voor een interview door de mij onbekende website Run Abroad. Op mijn beurt suggereerde ik de redactie om ook Sharon Gayter voor een interview te benaderen. De resultaten zijn hier te vinden: