ALYSON DIXON’S first taste of international action might have been a painful one, but the Sunderland ace insists she’ll bounce back all the stronger after a World Championship baptism of fire, writes TOM REYNOLDS.
Dixon’s preparations for her international debut were hit by a foot injury and despite taking to the start line those troubles reared their ugly head after just ten miles in Saturday’s women’s marathon.
As a result, Dixon’s debut was a stop-start affair, with the 32-year-old ultimately ending down in 42nd in the rankings, 22 minutes shy of Kenyan winner Edna Kiplagat in 2 hours 50 minutes 51 seconds.
More galling for Dixon was finishing more than 15 minutes shy of her own best of 2:34.50s – set in qualifying for the trip to Daegu at the Brighton Marathon earlier this year.
However, despite the pain, Chester-le-Street AC runner Dixon was quick to insist her trip to Far East will not be a flash in the GB marathon pan.
“I had a pain in my foot the last few weeks, but the medical team have done wonders to hold me together and get me to the start line,” said Dixon – who prepared for the World Championships at a training camp funded by Aviva, supporters of British athletes since 1999.
“I was asked if the niggle would stop me running – I said ‘no’.
“This has made me determined. I deserved my space on that start line, I ran out of my skin at Brighton to qualify for here and unfortunately I didn’t justify my fitness and I’m disappointed about that.
“But it has proved my character and determination showing that I did finish, and I know I can go on to better things.
“I felt really good until ten miles and the leg started to cramp and I stopped about ten times trying to stretch my calf out and loosen my foot and it was a world of pain the last ten miles.
“But I hadn’t come all the way over here to stop mid-race, I was determined to finish.”
Dixon will now have to turn her attentions to qualifying for London 2012 however with a number of key faces absent from the GB ranks in Daegu, most notably world record holder Paula Radcliffe, the road to the capital looks a tough one.
However, after her taste of the athletics big time, Dixon maintains she won’t give up on one of the three 2012 spots without a fight.
“I’ve loved the experience,” she added. “Standing on the start line in the red white and blue and the pride is so immense. Hopefully there will be more chance in the future so I can prove what I’m really worth.”
H Dixon has been selected for the Aviva GB&NI Team at the World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Aviva’s support, both at home and abroad, is helping the team prepare to compete at their best. To find out more, go to aviva.co.uk/athletics or follow us on Twitter @AvivaAthletics