Commonwealth Games hopefuls head for the Sunderland City Half Marathon

Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers).
Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers).
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Two British athletes with Commonwealth Games ambitions will be aiming to continue good early season form in the North East next month.

England’s Alyson Dixon and Derek Hawkins of Scotland will both tackle the Sunderland City Half Marathon on May 4, heading a strong field of athletes from the North East and beyond.

The event is part of the Run Sunderland Festival, which also includes the fourth Sunderland City 10k.

The races are being organised by Events of the North and made possible thanks to a partnership with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live.

Derek Hawkins has already been selected to represent Scotland in the men’s marathon during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Alyson Dixon is in pole position to secure a place on England’s team in the women’s race.

Both runners have put in strong performances during the first few months of the year and hope to build on good results at the Sunderland race.

Local runner Alyson Dixon, a Sunderland Stroller, comments: “It’s great that Sunderland now has an established festival of running and I’m really excited about racing the half marathon.

“I’ve won the 10k the last two years and I’m looking forward to hopefully adding my name to the roll of honour for the longer distance.

“I’ll be looking to record a solid performance to back up my chances of selection for the Commonwealth Games.”

Derek Hawkins, from near Paisley in Renfrewshire, comments: “I chose Sunderland because I ran the 10k a few years ago so I know it is a flat course and it fits perfectly in my build up for Glasgow 2014.

“It falls two weeks after I return from a block of altitude training in Boulder, so it’s ideal to find out how that training phase went in Boulder in a racing environment, and will give me an insight to my fitness as I enter the final 12 weeks of my preparation.”

H The Run Sunderland Festival organisers are expecting around 4,000 people to take part in the events on May 4, with thousands more lining the streets of Sunderland to support the runners.

The deadline for booking places on the half marathon and 10k is midnight on April 23– for more information and to secure a number visit www.sunderlandcity10k.com.