Alyson Dixon joins city’s elite

Alyson Dixon, who has been selected to compete in the Athletics World Championships.

Alyson Dixon, who has been selected to compete in the Athletics World Championships.

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ALYSON DIXON, whose well-deserved selection for the World Championship was confirmed last week, joins two other Sunderland women who also gained international selection for a major championship during their athletics careers.

The 32-year-old Dixon, who clinched selection for South Korea with her superb Brighton Marathon win in 2.34.51, moves into the select company of Lynn Cooper, formerly Harding, and Carolyn Naisby.

The Houghton Harriers were two of the best marathon runners in the UK during the late 1980s, where their performances were duly recognised on the international stage.

Cooper represented Scotland twice in the Commonwealth Games, finishing 11th in Auckland in 1990 and 12th in Vancouver four years later. She held the Scottish marathon record from London in 1989 with 2.31.45 before Liz McColgan broke it. Cooper is now the Houghton club secretary.

Naisby won the 1987 Florence Marathon in 2.33.22 – the fourth fastest by a British woman that year.

The physiotherapist at Sunderland Royal Hospital just missed selection for the Seoul Olympics and ran for Britain in the World 15k Road Race Championship in Australia. She now spends her leisure time playing golf at Boldon Golf Club.

Dixon believes she can run a 2hr 31min marathon – the A standard qualifying mark for the 2012 London Olympics. While she has the slower marathon time of the three, her best half marathon, set in Bath earlier this year of 72.31 is quicker than both Cooper and Naisby, who clocked respective fastest times of 73.09 and 73.11. This suggests that Dixon has still plenty of scope to reach her goal, as she is still learning her trade over the classic distance, with only the London, Brighton and the New York marathons under her belt.

However, before the Chester-le-Street AC club athlete starts chasing times, there is the World Championship marathon in the heat of Daegu to concentrate on. The August date will, no doubt, define the route she takes for her Olympic marathon hopes.

H Paul Redman, who is in the form of his life at the age of 45, makes his debut in one of the toughest races in the UK on Saturday.

The “tough of the track” was persuaded to enter the 22-mile three-peak fell race by Sunderland Harriers’ club secretary Michael Hill. Competitors are mostly free to choose their own route, this includes the ascent and descent of Pen-y-Ghent, the route through Nether Lodge, the ascent of Whernside and the route across Ingleborough summit. Redman finished 17th in the 17 miles Chevy Chase event last year.

H The Lambton Run, held within the historic walls of the Lambton Estate, Bournmoor, is a new event on the fixture list. The 10k (10.00am) and 5k (10.30) multi terrain races will be held on Sunday 8th May. Entry fees are £10 and £12 unattached. Entry forms are available from www.lambtoncastle.com or Tel 385 2435. There are winners prizes plus medals and goodie bags for all finishers.

H Sunderland Harrier Holly Lancaster won the under-15s 150m (19.80) and placed second in the 100m (13.46) at the Hexham Open meeting.

H There were two course records in the North Tyneside 10k.

Men: 1 S Batochir (Morp) 30.20 (rec), 2 I Harding (Morp) 31.28, 3 D Garbutt (Dur) 32.00, 4 M Dawson (Morp) 32.05, 5 I Twaddle (V40, NSP) 32.19, 6 R Floyd (Morp) 3.:13, 7 Liam Taylor (Sunderland Strollers) 33.22.

Women: 1 R Smith (Dur) 35.40 (rec), 2 C McKittrick (W35, Charn) 38.12, 3 V Hindson (Walls) 38.23, 4 L Hayes (W40, NSP) 38.30, 5 A Dargie (W35, Elsw) 38.35, 6 S Graham (Morp) 39:24, 13 Vicki Booth (Sunderland Strollers) 40.59.

H The first of the North East Athletics League takes place at Monkton tonight (7.00). Gateshead Harriers stage their Minor Athletics meeting on Sunday and the Keswick Half Marathon is also held (11.30). On Monday, the Tees Barrage 10k at Thornaby gets underway at 10.30am.