Sunderland star Dixon finishes eighth in Great North Run

Aly Dixon (right) with Susan Partridge and Gemma Steel.
Aly Dixon (right) with Susan Partridge and Gemma Steel.
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Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon finished a respectable eighth - and third British woman - in the simplyhealth Great North Run.

The 38-year-old, racing just six weeks after her gutsy London World Championship marathon performance where she led the field for 90 minutes, had hoped to run a PB.

But, although she had been running well in training, there was still that little doubt in her mind that remnants of the marathon were still in her legs.

And so it proved, as she led her rivals, Gemma Steel and Lily Partridge at 5k (16.01), but at 10k (34.01) she was three seconds off the pace.

Back-to-form Steel then went through 15k in 50.46 compared to Dixon’s (51.29) with Aldershot’s Partridge, returning to competition after injury, timed at 50.52.

Clearly for Dixon the race was now starting to take its toll and it was Charnwood Harrier Steel who proved the best of the British in winning the race in 1.11.32.

Partridge took second in 1.12.10 and Dixon recorded 1.12.29 compared to her best of 70.38.

The race at the front saw the usual Kenyan domination with Mary Keitany clocking the fourth quickest women’s time (65.59) in the event’s 37-year history to take her third title. Vivian Cheruiyot was second in 67.44 and Caroline Kipkirui third 69.52.

The best of the locals after Dixon were headed by Birtley Harrier Tracy Millmore who finished 14th (1.18.46), South Shields Harrier Georgia Campbell was 17th (1.22.57), Alex Sneddon (Jarrow) took 18th (1.23.24), Wendy Chapman (W45) of Sunderland Strollers finished in 1.27.55 and Sunderland Harrier Alice Smith was 27th (1.28.13).

Sir Mo Farah will target next April’s London Marathon following his successful defence of his Great North Run title.

He won his fourth GNR title in a row and matches the record set by the late Benson Masya during the 90s.

The 34-year-old overcame New Zealand’s Jake Robertson (60.12) in a thrilling duel to win in one hour and six seconds. Feyisa Lilesa finished third in 61.32.

Farah said: “It was an amazing race. I think the lack of training since I finished the track a couple of weeks ago caught up with me.

“It was really tough. I was gritting my teeth and hanging on at times. Jake pushed the pace on and tried to get rid of me and almost did. I was hurting.

“What a year I’ve had! It’s nice to finish it at home. I’d love to win the London Marathon one day and I’ll certainly give it my best shot – but it’s a big change moving from the track to the roads so we’ll see.

“There are a lot of great guys out there and I’m only learning”

First North East man to finish was New Marske’s Dominic Shaw in 16th (1.06.04).

Morpeth Harriers Over-45 super veteran Ian Hudspith, who has recently moved to Washington, finished 24th in 1.07.45.

Former Sunderland Harrier Jack Martin finished 49th (1.13.09).

First Sunderland Harrier to finish was Ian Ritchie in 64th (74.22) and others that beat the 1hr 40min benchmark were: Over-40 veteran Paul Blakey 85th (1.16.46), Michael Laws (1.18.38), Aidan Crowe (1.21.52), Darren Dood (1.21.57), Simon Park (1.30.09), Callum Greig (1.30.49), Alan Knebel (1.34.37) Anthony Erskine (1.36.52), Shaun Bagley (1.37.14), Adam King (1.38.12), Amy Callaghan (1.38.32), Colleen Compson (1.38.53) and David Bruce (1.39.51).

Sunderland Strollers had Over-50 Ritchie Gerry heading them in (1.24.34), Andrew Duke clocked (1.25.09), Mark Hinder (1.26.44), John Sayer (1.27.06), Michael Dixon (1.31.28), Colin Armour (Armour (1.32.24), Rob Ayre (1.32.47), Kevin O’Neil (1.36.16), Andrew Dobinson (1.37.04), Robert Morris (1.38.26), Gary Dunmore (1.38.42), Jennifer Gibbs (1.38.54) and Gareth Wills (1.39.45).

Houghton Harriers’ best came from Lee Dover with 1.17.21, Shaun Kerry recorded (1.27.42), David Gribben (1.35.02) and Peter Ashman (1.36.32).

Three-time runner-up Simon Lawson won the men’s wheelchair race and Manuela Schar broke the course record by over a minute in the women’s wheelchair event.

In the Great North 5k on Saturday with 800 runners, Sunderland Harrier Jacqueline Etherington won the women’s race in a personal best of 18.44 to beat North Shields athlete Carla Maley (18.54). Sunderland’s Eve Quinn was fifth (19.53) and Vicky Haswell 11th (21.43).

Sunderland Stroller Mark Anderson was sixth (17.12) in the race.