Olympic-bound Alyson Dixon takes a break from altitude training for European Championships

Great Britain's Alyson Dixon.

Great Britain's Alyson Dixon.

Alyson Dixon will come down from the Team GB high altitude training camp in the Pyrenees to compete in the inaugural European Championships Half Marathon in Amsterdam on Sunday.

The Sunderland Stroller, selected for the Rio Olympics marathon, will have her final race before her big date in Brazil on August 14.

She has been spending the last few weeks training up to three times a day at Fort Romeu.

After the half marathon, she will return to her high altitude training base to put the final touches to her Olympic training before travelling to South America three days before the marathon.

The 37-year-old said after winning the Blaydon Race on June 9: “I know I’m going to pick up that extra bit of fitness in France with the high altitude.

“It’s just a case of getting on with it and getting away from all the distractions and focus on August 14.”

But, before then, the half marathon will be a tough test for the Silksworth athlete, who will take on Europe’s best in the race that replaces the marathon.

She goes into the event, televised on Eurosport, as a member of the British team that stands a good chance of getting among the team medals.

She is joined by Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot), Tina Muir (Bedford), Gemma Steel (Charnwood), Jessica Coulson (Stockport) and Lily Partridge (Aldershot).

Steel with a 69.56 clocking to her name is the fastest in the team. Dixon’s best stands at 70.38 set in Copenhagen in 2014.

The fastest time by a European this year is from France’s Christelle Daunay (69.55). She is the only athlete to dip below 70 minutes.

“The men’s and women’s teams are two very strong teams and we firmly believe both can finish on the podium,” said Neil Black, British Athletics Performance Director.

The race starts at 8.30am (UK time), stating and finishing at the Museumplein.

The European Championships started today and ends on Sunday evening.

As well as Dixon, there are two other North East athletes involved in the first European Championships staged in the Netherlands.

Morpeth Harrier Jonathan Taylor, this year’s Sunderland 10k winner, is a surprise selection in the 5,000m and Shildon’s Kate Avery has been selected for the 10,000m.

There were a host of PBs in the British Milers’ Club Regional paced 1,500m races at Chester-le-Street.

Sunderland Harriers had two winners in their quickest times in senior man Steve McMahon (4.10.5) and under-17 Eve Quinn (4.56.9).

Houghton Harriers who clocked PBs were seniors Lee Dover (4.25.7), under-17 Adam Middleton (4.42.2), under-15 Will Bellamy (4.29.9), Matthew Cleugh (4.34.1), Lydia James (4.59.6), under-13 Nicole Phillips (5.05.1).

Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett (Birtley), an under-20, recorded a PB of 4.26.7.

Houghton Harrier Alan Readman, an over-60, won the 100m (13.7) and the hammer in the North East Masters league meeting at Monkton.

His time was equaled by clubmate and fellow over-60 Steve Todner in race two.

In the open one mile, two Sunderland Harriers made their debut over the distance, Andy Powell finished second (4.40.4) and over-40 veteran Ian Dixon was third (4.44.8). The race was won by Morpeth Harriers’ Chris Smith in 4.27.9.

The Sunderland 5k road race, which stages the North East/Northern Championships is held at Silksworth Sports Complex next Wednesday (7.15pm). Entries close Saturday, and details can be found on the Harriers’ website.