Sunderland star Dixon in a class of her own

WINNER: Alyson Dixon

WINNER: Alyson Dixon

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SUNDERLAND Stroller Alyson Dixon was the star of the show in the Sunderland City Half-Marathon.

This was the fourth edition of the city’s festival of running and, after winning the 10k for the last two years, Dixon stepped up to the half-marathon and scored another emphatic victory.

The 35-year-old, preparing for the Commonwealth Games marathon in Glasgow in July, finished a sparkling sixth overall in 74.38.

She finished nearly 11 minutes ahead of the second woman and even had enough stamina left at the end of the race to outsprint Tyne Bridge Harrier Michael Joyeux.

And then she jogged back down the course to help her mother, Lynn, finish the race in about 2hrs 6min.

This was a well-controlled run by Dixon, who comfortably made her target time without fully extending herself.

Her best for the distance is 70.38, set in the World Half-Marathon championship in Copenhagen at the end of March.

The Silksworth runner said: “I really enjoyed it, my splits were spot on.

“I was running at marathon tempo pace and I was quite comfortable.

“It was a much better run than last week’s race in Edinburgh, so I’ve got to be pleased.

“I received excellent support from the people of Sunderland around the course.”

She has already been told by England selectors to start preparing for Glasgow, although the three-strong team is not due to be announced until June 2.

And the next race she has pencilled into her hectic schedule is a track 10,000m at London on Saturday night, where her personal best of 34.03.05 could come under threat.

Wallsend’s Ethiopian Yared Hagos won the half-marathon in 65.11 after breaking away, at halfway, from Derek Hawkins, who has already been selected for Scotland’s team for the Commonwealth Games marathon. The Leeds City athlete recorded 65.30 and he said he thought the course was over distance.

Sunderland Harrier Mark Hood, last year’s winner, finished one second slower than last year, but this time had to be satisfied with fourth place 71.07. His new clubmate Kevin Jeffress was fifth in a PB of 73.06.

Sunderland Stroller Paul Roper was first over-50 in 27th (82.32).

Results: 1 Yared Hagos (Wallsend ) 65.11, 2 Derek Hawkins (Leeds) 65.30, 3 James Bulman V40 (New Marske) 70.56, 4 Mark Hood (Sunderland Harriers) 71.07, 5 Kevin Jeffress (Sunderland Harriers) 73.06, 6 Alyson Dixon (Sunderland Strollers) 74.36, 7 Michael Joyeux (Tyne Bridge) 74.36, 8 Jeff Prest V40 (Trafford) 75.34, 9 Bart Thomas (Chippenham 76.33, 10 Steven Greenwood (Jarrow & Hebburn) 76.39. 11Matthew Boyle (Morpeth) 79.11, 12 Simon Bennett (Hartlepool) 79.23, 13 Paul Attey (Gateshead) 79.59, 14 Michael Edwards (Sun Stroll) 79.59, 15 Wayne Pearson (Crook) 80.05.

Women: 1 Alyson Dixon (Sun Stroll) 74.36, 2 Suzanne Thew (NSP) 85.49, 3 Michelle Nolan (Gateshead) 89.55.