December 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Sharon is one of the better known characters and strongest performers in Australian ultra running. She holds national records over a number of distances and timed races and has a swag of podiums, not surprisingly. In 2013, along with her husband Justin – also an accomplished runner – Sharon will be putting on the First National Wangaratta Marathon. It’s a dual loop of a 21km course that sounds fast, scenic, and will be supporting Little Athletics Australia in an area that has copped it hard over the past few years – country Australia.
Check it out – great people, a great sounding event with a variety of distances, and a good excuse to get out of the city.
That’s just part of a bigger story though. Having previously run Australia’s peak ultra for the year, Coast2Kosci, Sharon had won the event and placed third last year, when running machine Julia Fatton decimated the course record. This year, barely a few months ago, Sharon was running for Australia in the 24 Hour World Championships. Things didn’t work out and she withdrew early.
It probably doesn’t occur to most people that it is much harder to know what it’s like to run like a champion, but have a tough day out, than to have never tasted success, or felt the weight of those expectations – both from others and oneself. But Sharon wanted to finish the year on top of Australia. So, knowing that it wasn’t going to be her fastest time or her easiest run ever, she toed the line on December 7, setting out at 5:30am with nearly 3 dozen other hopefuls, uncertain how the next 30+ hours and 240km would unfold.
Just like Jo Blake, who holds the course record but still kept going even when his began to unravel with nearly 100km to go, Sharon ran with the heart of a champion, finishing what she started. Her race writeup pulls no punches and this video collage of race photos with a bit of personal storytelling gives a great glimpse into what the run meant for her. Thanks Shaz!!