Dixon edges out Weightman

FAST START: Start of relay with Dixon (72) already out in front, and Laura Weightman (56).
FAST START: Start of relay with Dixon (72) already out in front, and Laura Weightman (56).
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INTERNATIONAL marathon runner Alyson Dixon beat Olympic 1500m finalist Laura Weightman for the fastest time of the day in the Elswick Harriers’ Good Friday Women’s Road Relay at Newburn Riverside Park.

Sunderland Stroller Dixon, 34, ran the opening leg of the 3x2.2 miles relay and set the target after her fantastic run of 11min 21sec.

She ran away from the opposition and took the Strollers into a lengthy lead.

Trailing in second place were Morpeth (Ashley Gibson 11.41) and third club Birtley (Lydia Turner 11.56) who were the only other first leg runners to dip below 12 minutes.

While the Strollers dropped to fourth on the second leg (Ashleigh Thorpe 14.01) and maintained that spot on the anchor, Rachel Ball (14.48), Morpeth were on their way to victory.

Morpeth’s Emma Holt 12.47 set up Weightman for the glory leg with a 52 seconds lead over Jarrow and Hebburn.

The 21-year-old, supported by her coach Steve Cram around the business park course, brought the Northumberland club home for an emphatic victory, beating Jarrow by over two minutes. But Weightman finished an agonisingly two seconds slower than the benchmark, recording 11.23. And it was Dixon who surprisingly took the honours over the fast course.

She said: “That’s good going after a week off with a sore knee. I did not think my old marathon legs would go that fast!’’

The Jarrow times were: Angela Hibbs 12.32, Sarah McDonald 12.48 and Alex Snook 12.36. Birtley were third.

Sunderland Harriers finished 14th with Michelle Avery 13.12, Helen Higgins 15.45 and Amy Coulson 14.41.

The Strollers veterans finished fifth in their category with Moyra Magolan 14.40, Alyson West 14.42 and Louise Otterson 15.32.

Sunderland Harriers senior men’s team finished third (44.48) in their relay over the same distance as the women. The team was Nathan Reed (10.45), Brian Rushworth (11.28), Michael Barker (11.20) and Craig Isherwood 11.15.

Morpeth (42.55) won from Gateshead (43.57) with Johnny Nesbitt (10.51), Nick Swinburn (10.44), Graeme Taylor (10.41) and Matt Nicholson (10.39). the triumphant quartet.

The fastest runner on the course was Elswick’s Phil Hurst (10.08).