This page was updated frequently from 12:00pm BST on 23 September 2011 (9:00pm AEST 23/9/11) and followed Sharon's progress at the 24 Hour Commonwealth Championships held in Northern Wales.
Pre race photo of 24 hour teams:
Final results (Aussies only)
David Kennedy, 3rd, 236.929km
Anth Courtney, 9th, 219.868km
Meredith Quinlan, 10th, 3rd Female, 217.631km
Susannah harvey-Jamieson, 18th, 6th Female, 204.373km
John Pearson, 19th, 204.328km
Sharon Scholz, 22nd, 7th female, 197.186km
Rick Cooke, 26th, 190.486km
Jo Blake, 32nd, 172.005km.
Overall winner was Lizzy Hawker (ENG) with a new Female Worlds Best Performance of 247.076. John Pares (WAL) the Male winner followed by David Kennedy (AUS) and Pat Robbins (ENG). Female winner of course Lizzy followed by Emily Gelder (WAL) and Meredith Quinlan (AUS).
Australian medalists (24 Hour & trail teams - unfortunately Susannah had to leave early):
Sharon's race report: I enjoyed this race. At least so far as I think anyone can who steps onto the line knowing deep down that they can't achieve their goals. And then from very early on in a race knowing that the pain and suffering being endured is, at best, leading to a very mediocre personal result. But as the member of a team of terrific people committed to giving their all it really wasn't hard to suck it up.
Congratulations must go to Meredith and Susannah for their inspired runs. Whilst Meredith ran 217km and a PB by a few metres I believe that she is yet capable of more. Susannah who suffered some adversity during the race still managed to get past 200km but was far from her best physically. Again she has shown terrific mental strength and resilience however and no doubt will get back into her best form at some stage. My time walking with Susannah in the last 2 hours of the race was the best 2 hours I have ever spent in an event. Hopefully Susannah, Meredith and I can all hit out "A" game in time for the World Championships in Poland next year, and hopefully we will be again joined by Alison and possibly others to really boost the team.
If we're to beat the likes of France, or England now that they have Lizzy Hawker who set a new Worlds Best distance here in Wales of 247km+ then we will all need to be at the top of our game. Congratulations to Lizzy and indeed England on their gold medals too – both the individual and team performances there were well earned.
There are some reasons why my race didn't go to plan. And whilst I'm a not a "could of", "should of", "might have" type of person I am happy to share my experience of recent months. This background in no way absolves me from my lack of performance in Wales, but at least gives me reason to believe that I can do better in the future. The only real absolution is atonement. And in maintaining belief, working and training hard, that atonement will come.
About 10 weeks ago now I saw a specialist haematologist about my ongoing blood condition and was pleasantly surprised when he suggested that I may be able to stop taking blood anti-coagulants that I have been on daily for the last 10 years. He suspected that because I have not had recurring blood clots since the birth of our daughter Jasmine 8 years ago that I may be able to cease these drugs. Such was my desire to be off these drugs that after significant discussion with Justin and others I decided to stop them. This was a risk with the looming Commonwealth Championships, but after considering all the pro's and con's it was a risk I was prepared to take.
During the Brisbane 24 hour event in July I had a bleed in the bronchial system which caused my lungs to fill with blood. Those at the event may remember my constant coughing and wheezing from the 12 hour mark until my eventual decision to stop running once I'd broken the100 miles Australian Record. Justin rushed me home to Victoria and delivered me to out-patients before we'd even been home ourselves or collected our daughter from Grannies. The doctors admitted me immediately and after an x-ray discovered that one lung was full of blood and the other had only about ¼ of its oxygen carrying capacity available. My blood oxygen saturation was slowly falling and it was clear that I needed to be admitted immediately.
The bleed was worsened due to the fact that I was currently taking blood thinners (warfarin) and became a further issue because it was not immediately reversible and that meant many medical procedures couldn't be carried out on me. I can (and in this case was) be given an injection of Vitamin K which accelerates the removal of the warfarin from my system, but still it takes 3 days before some procedures can be undertaken. And thus the decision to be off these drugs prior to Wales so that if anything did go wrong I could be admitted to hospital without complication was appealing. Not that we wanted or expected anything to go wrong of course, but it was to serve as a sort of insurance in our "worst case" planning.
Anyway, about 3 weeks after stopping the warfarin I developed pain in my left calf. I was also adamant that it was affecting my running and the fatigue was building in the muscles much more quickly than it should. I could not physically undertake any speed work or hill work – at least not to the level that I should have – because the fatigue which built quickly to sharp pain wouldn't allow me. I went to my GP, managed to get an ultrasound that day and by the end of the day it was confirmed that I had many minor clots in some minor arteries in the lower leg and also two large clots in main arteries.
A couple of days later I found myself in Melbourne again receiving specialist advice and was put straight onto Clexane, which is another blood thinning agent but one that is worse than warfarin if used long term. It's also an injection, and whilst I've used it before it's never fun having to inject yourself. The upside however is that it takes only 24 to remove itself from your system thus makes any medical procedure all the more possible in a shorter timeframe.
My medical team advised me that the blood clot could take anywhere up to three months or more to break down and that until it did training would have to be restricted and may be difficult. This proved to be the case and so when I stepped on the line in Wales I knew I was underdone. Worse, I hadn't run a significant distance since the clot, had not run smoothly, fatigue or pain free for weeks and had no idea if I'd be able to make 6 hours let alone 24. But for the sake of the team – being only three of us at this stage - I had to try.
I had also been focussing too long on too many negative issues and so achieving a good total would be unlikely. Around this I tried to remain confident knowing that I have run 225km and that I'm stronger mentally now than I was in France and that I'm a more experience runner etc., but none of this helped in the end.
So whilst my total of 197km was ordinary, I am satisfied with the outcome. I am particularly satisfied that I chose to start and support the team on the course and support the team of people that helped me get to Wales. The silver team medal isn't for me; it's for everyone that makes me what I am and continues to believe in me as a person.
Photo of Shaz and Susannah just after they finished:
Live feed: 12:00pm (24:00) - Girls win team Silver with Meredith leading the trio to glory. Susannah and Shaz hung on well and ended up extending the margin to the Scotts. I don't have final tallies as the organisers are still measuring final part laps. When I get tallies I'll post them. David Kennedy secured Silver in the mens individual and Meredith Bronze in the womens. The three girls are ecstatic. Shaz sends her love to all and especially to Allison who was sorely missed by all the team today. Thanks for tuning in and please check back frequently for the final results and photo's. In the meantime Shaz would love to hear from you via the contact page.
10:58am (22:58) - An hour to go and the girls are safe baring some catastrophe. They currently enjoy a lead over the third team Scotland of about 10km. Shaz 22nd overall, 8th female and enjoying her time with Susannah. Shaz has covered 190.836km. Meredith looking like getting a PB and still pushing hard for individual Silver - needs to make up about 3.5km. David Kennedy should be safe for individual male Silver having a 3km lead over the 3rd male. Unfortunately the men have fallen away from a team medal prospect however.
10:50am (22:50) - Girls pulling further away. Susannah and Shaz in high spirits. Meredith pushing hard for a PB and could still achieve an individual Silver.
10:30am (22:30) - Lizzy Hawkes looks like comfortably setting the WBP. Lizzy is running tremendously well and deserves her result today.
Our girls are looking fairly safe in silver at the moment. Shaz and Susannah walking together doing 9 min/km, Meredith running and doing 7min/km. The Scottish girls currently doing 8 min, 11 min and 11 min. By end of hour we should be about 9 - 10km in front. Hopefully! I think!
10:00am (22:00) - Women have held their advantage but are no longer pulling away. 6-ish km ahead of Scotland. Susannah had a difficult patch that hour and Shaz is struggling but knows what needs to be done to secure silver. She will push like hell. Meredith just looks great still and is a tremendous anchor for the team. Currently Shaz and Susannah power walking together and spurring each other on. Shaz at 184.68km. Wind picking up but not too bad.
9:01am (21:01) - Womens team now in silver by 6km. Shaz hurting but mentally tough and will hang on as best she can. Could still make 200km in theory but a bit behind the necessary pace at present. Meredith moving really well and Susannah doing a great job. Lizzy Hawker still leads overall with 218.538km. Best aussie male continued to be David Kennedy, now on 206.226 and third overall.
7:58am (19.58) - Our Aussie girls into SILVER now by 2km over Scotland. Still 25km behind England. Shaz moving OK and still 8th female, 23rd overall. 169.29km done.
6:55am (18:55) - Womens team within 1 or 2km of Scotland for 2nd now. Made no ground on England and the 26 or so km for gold is starting to look a bit tough. But not impossible! Meredith a chance of third female overall and running strong. She overtook Susannah in that hour. Shaz struggling again and lots of hamstring, glute and left calf pain. She'll battle on though. Her total is 162.1087km.
5:56am (17:56) - Girls barely more than 5 or 6km from silver now and took 2km or so out of the English who currently sit in the gold position. All three are looking pretty good right now. Dave Kennedy flying, Rick Cooke picking up, Anth staying very solid. shaz sits 25th and 9th female. Both up 1 place from last time. Her total distance 154.926km.
4:48am (16:58) - Girls still about 10km from Silver. All three moving OK. Shaz dropped that hour from 23rd to 26th and 8th female to 10th female. Both Susannah and Meredith moving up though which is great for the team.
3:56am (15:56) - Shaz just walking. About 6.5km in the last hour. Girls were 11km beghind Scotland for silver last time, 10km this time. Some chance with Susannah and Meredith doing very well still and Shaz doing what she can. 25km away from gold. Possible?
3:05am (15:05) - Shaz struggling but picked up 3 female places that lap. Now 27th, 9th female. Meredith (28, 10) moving fantastic, Susannah (19, 7) still moving well. Girls safe in bronze at the moment. Aussie men improving, 2km out of bronze and catching.
1:57am (13:57) - Shaz walking a fair bit in some hamstring and glute pain. But moving. 127.224km covered. Girls solid in bronze if Shaz can stick it out. Meredith and Susannah both moving really well at the moment. Men improving but still quite some way from the medals.
12:58pm (12:58) - Shaz getting really sore and struggling again. 29th (12). All others about the same.
12:02pm (12:02) - Shaz 29th (13), moving OK. Susannah 22 (8), Meredith 36 (15). Shaz 112.86 @ 12:01:56. Jo Blake struggling a bit and now dave Kennedy on the same lap. Our men 15th, 17th, 24th, 30th, 38th and slipping away from third in teams but far from over yet. Women solid in third with second a chance but of course with half the race still to go everyone needs to keep moving well. Wind picking up again.
10:52pm - Shaz 31st (13th), Susannah 21st (7th), Meredith 35th (14). Womens team in bronze at the moment. Mens team in fourth. Jo 7th, David 19th, Anth 22nd, Rick 34th, John 36th. Top 3 men and women unchanged.
10:30pm - Shaz has just crossed 100km. In good spirits. Eating and drinking well which bodes nicely for later in the race. Foods of choice at the moment are sweet rice pudding with custard and mushroom and bacon pasta alternating with sports drinks & some water.
10:00pm (10:00) - Shaz 32nd, 13th female. Moving better at the moment than at the 30 minute mark! Susannah still looking good, Meredith pushing on as well. Men overall the same, but Sharon Law (SCO) moved into 3rd female overall. Weather here lovely, but some rain now forecast for the morning.
9:00pm (9:00) - Shaz 33rd. Settled but slow. Susannah moving well, Meredith has had some struggles. All men still circulating as well. Overall places Males: John Pares (WAL), Wayne Botha (NZL), Brian Mccorkindale (NZL). Females: Lizzy hawker (ENG), Emily gelder (WAL), Heather Foundling-Hawker (ENG).
7:52pm (7:52) - Shaz 33rd (12). Other similarly placed. Shaz moving solidly but slowly. Not much deterioration at this stage. Hopefully she can just steady into this rhythm.
7:00pm (7:00) - Shaz 32nd (12), Susannah 22nd (7), Meredith 33rd (13th). Jo struggled that hour and now 7th overall. Wind has dropped a fair bit and conditions perfect. overall Males: John Pares (WAL), Wayne Botha (NZL), Matt Bixley (NZL), Females: Lizzy hawker (ENG), Emily gelder (WAL), Heather Foundling-Hawker (ENG).
6:00pm (6:00) - Shaz 30th, 10th female, Susannah 22nd (6), Meredith 34th (13). Jo Blake still leading Aussie men but now third overall.
5:00pm (5:00) - Shaz 29th. Struggling but looking determined. Other places remain similar. sun - what there was of it - is nearly gone from the course now but still an hour or so from sunset.
4:27pm (4:27) - Shaz 30th, Susannah 22nd, Meredith 33rd. Jo Blake 2nd, Dave Kennedy 22nd, John Pearson 27th, Rick Cooke 30th, Anth Courtney 35th. Weather temp-wise is great. Wind not too strong but seems to be having its effect.
3:52pm (3:50) - Shaz 28th, Susannah 21st, Meredith 32nd. Jo Blake now 2nd. John Pares (ENG) leading. Lizzy Hawker (ENG) leading female.
3:00pm (3hr) - Shaz 27th, Susannah 18th, Meredith 29th. Shaz struggling but shuffling along. Hopefully can stay strong. Jo Blake still leading with John Pares from Wales. Lizzy Hawker (ENG) leading the female contingent.
1:50pm (1hr 40) - Shaz 29th, Susannah 17th (6F), Meredith 26th. Jo still leading. Weather good, wind not too bad.
1:15pm - Shaz 27th at hour one. Susannah leading the Aussie girls in 17th overall, Meredith 2nd at 23rd overall. Jo blake running strong for the men - 1st outright at this early stage.
8:30am - We're set for a start here in just 3.5 hours now. The weather is cool and cloudy which is ideal. But it's also very windy and this will affect the competitors especially as the race progresses. In the last week we have had winds in this area up to 60k/h, but fortunately wind at that magnitude is unlikely for the race. The forecast is for winds averaging 10 - 12k/h, at times up to 20k/h and gusting to 30k/h. At present it is a direct headwind / tailwind scenario and that is likely to remain. Most runners I've spoken to are saying that this is preferable over a crosswind. Temperature for the duration is unlikely to fluctuate greatly. It's about 12 degrees here now and the forecast maximum is for 16. Overnight it is not expected to drop below 12 degrees.
The course is very flat and very smooth with just a slight inside camber on the bitumen seal and a few drainage grates that fortunately don't protrude too greatly. Shaz has slept well and is as ready to go as she can be. Next update will be after race start and where possible this page will be updated after each hours results are distributed to the team by the IAU.
And finally, here's the link to the 2009 Commonwealth Championships site, photo of the Women's Silver Medal 24 hour team - Sharon, Susannah, Meredith (front), and a press article from that event.