Dixon rings the changes

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INTERNATIONAL marathon runner Alyson Dixon heads into the winter season after making significant changes to the format of her athletics career.

The 34-year-old has left coach Liz McColgan to coach herself following the disappointment of her London Marathon performance.

She said: “After London I decided to use my own training ideas over the summer and I have continued to do so. But Liz is always there for advice, if I need it.’’

The Brighton marathon winner and World Championship runner could only finish seventh British finisher in a time outside her best at London.

She finished 24th in 2hrs, 35mins and 11secs – well off the Olympic qualifying time of 2.28 she was hoping for and 21 seconds off her best for the distance.

Although she ran below par in her next big race, the Great North Run, she bounced back to form when winning the women’s race in the Tees Pride 10k in a time just six seconds outside her best (33.26).

Then, on Sunday, she shattered the course record in the Heaton Harriers’ Memorial 10k Road Race when finishing 11th overall in 34.30.

“I was just using the race as a tempo run before Sunday’s Leeds Abbey Dash 10k, so I was pleased with my performance,’’ she added.

She ran in the race in her own individual vest after leaving Chester-le-Street AC, where she has been a member for about ten years. She had previously been a member of Sunderland Harriers. Now she has teamed up with Sunderland Strollers.

She enjoyed tremendous team success with Chester, helping the club in winning regional, northern and national titles, including the National Six-Stage Road Relay Championship in 2006. But the team fell apart following the resignations of coaches Lindsay Dunn and Barry Forster.

Dixon will go into her marathon preparations in the New Year with a new kit sponsor, moving from Mizuno to the Adidas team. She is also making significant changes to her marathon training by introducing strength and conditioning work in the gym.

Commonwealth Games marathon selection for Glasgow in 2014 will be on her agenda – if she manages to dip below her target of beating the 2.30 barrier.

H Sunderland Stroller Lyne Valentine finished eighth over-55 and won a team gold medal when representing England in the British and Irish Cross-Country International at Queens University, Belfast. North Shields Poly’s Alison Cummings was fourth.

H Three Wearside clubs, Sunderland Harriers, Sunderland Strollers and Durham City Harriers bid to pull themselves off the bottom of the Start Fitness Harrier League men’s first division at the second of six fixtures at Blaydon on Saturday.

The Shibdon Park course hosts an under-11 race at 12.15pm, the senior men are off at 1.15pm with the senior women starting at 2.20pm.

H On Sunday, the 60th Brampton to Carlisle ten-mile road race takes place (12.30 pm), which includes the Northern Championship.

A bonus of £100 is on offer, if the winner of the race can beat 49mins and for the first woman the target is 55mins.

Four men in the last twenty years have run sub 49mins – Michael Openshaw (Birchfield Harriers) 2002 (48:35), Malcolm Price (Salford Harriers) 1999 (48:30), Sunderland Harrier Brian Rushworth 47:37 in 1993 and Carl Thackeray representing Hallamshire Harriers who clocked 46:29 in 1991.

Course records are Men: Nick Sloan – 45min 50 sec. Women: Angie Pain – 51min 50sec.