Dixon lifts the gloom in Sunderland

Alyson Dixon
Alyson Dixon
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SLOW times were the order of the day as the horrendous weather took its toll on the hardy competitors in the Sunderland Festival of Running from the Stadium of Light yesterday.

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon, the women’s winner of the half marathon last year, this time won the 10k with a superb performance.

I never thought about challenging the record. It was just too horrible out there.

The Commonwealth and World Championship runner beat her main rival Justina Heslop by four places and 88 seconds, to take a terrific seventh place overall.

The Silksworth runner clocked 34.50 and despite the cold, strong winds and lashing rain, she was only 17 seconds outside Sale Harrier Sonia Samuels course record from 2011.

“I never thought about challenging the record. It was just too horrible out there.” said Dixon, who took home the £300 first prize.

“I felt really strong and caught the leading men at 1k before they went away from me. But I felt I could have caught the three men in front of me towards the finish.

“I was running really well and they were slowing, I just ran out of space. I’m really pleased with my run.”

Tyne Bridge Harrier Sophie Marr was the third woman (42.11) and Sunderland Harrier Michelle Avery was fourth (42.19) with teenager Jess Fox eighth (43.32).

Wondiye Indelbu, Ethiopia’s first Paralympics medallist, who took silver at London in the T46 1500m, won the 10k race.

The Crook AC runner recorded 32.50 to beat Morpeth’s 45-year-old super veteran Ian Hudspith by 17 seconds.

Indelbu, at age nine, lost part of his arm and an eye when a hand grenade was thrown into his house, killing his father.

Hudspith’s clubmate, tri-athlete Michael Morris, back to competition after a long absence, finished third (34.09)

Evenwood’s John Clifford was a surprising fourth (34.23), and Tyne Bridge Harrier James Dunce was fifth (34.32).

First Sunderland Harrier was Craig Isherwood in sixth (34.36), then came Steve Rankin seventh (34.50), Steve McMahon ninth (35.45) and Ian Dixon tenth (36.01). Paul Merrison was second over-50m in 25th (38.08).

Sunderland Strollers had Aidan Crowe in 20th (37.15), Tim Allsop 32nd (39.12) and Andy Forbes 33rd (30.12).