Alyson Dixon focused on finishing London Marathon in style and book her place to Rio

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon is one of just two British women that have the domestic qualifying standard for the marathon for the Rio Olympics.
Alyson Dixon.Alyson Dixon.
Alyson Dixon.

She goes into the London Marathon on Sunday, April 24, having to be one of the first two British women to finish to ensure selection for Brazil.

The 38-year-old gained the mark when she finished 11th in September’s Berlin Marathon (2hr 29min 30sec) – well within the qualifying time of 2.31.00.

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Ahead of her was the other British qualified woman, former Wallsend Harrier Sonia Samuels (Sale), who clocked 2.28.04 in Berlin to finish ninth.

UK Athletics said: “London will serve as the British trials for the 2016 Olympics.

“The first two British women to finish the race, who have met the 2:31:00 U.K. Athletics qualifying standard will earn provisional berths on the team.

“U.K. Athletics will announce the team the day after the race.”

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Dixon, who is just completing four weeks training at altitude in Kenya, said after achieving the Olympic mark: “I’m delighted to have gained the Olympic qualifying time, however this doesn’t mean I’ve made the team, it just means I’m one step closer and now I’m training hard for London.”

Other British athletes on the elite start at London with their personal best times are: Sonia Samuels (2:28:04), Freya Ross (2:28:10), Louise Damen (2:30:00), Susan Partridge (2:30:46), Jess Coulson (debut) and Charlotte Purdue (debut).

Sunderland Harrier Matt Jones is facing a fitness battle after struggling to finish the Staverton 10-mile road race in Gloucester.

He finished second in 55.50 after sustaining a calf injury. He now faces an anxious time and a late fitness test before he contests the Seville Marathon on Sunday, February 21.

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The course, described as the flattest in Europe, starts and finishes in the Olympic Stadium, on La Cartuja Island.

The route takes runners though the City Streets crossing the mighty Guadalquivir River on four separate points.

Most of the course is on the south bank of the river sending runners weaving their way around the historic centre of the city.

The prolific marathon runner, if he makes the Seville start line, will be competing in his sixth marathon this year.

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He opened his account in the Manchester Marathon in April where he clocked 2.58.11, then it was the Toronto Marathon (3.01.24) on May 3, followed by the Edinburgh Marathon just three weeks later (2.52.59).

The 34-year-old then marched onto Humberside to win at Hull on September 13, in a personal best of 2.35.26 before winning his second marathon, at Kielder in 2.43.02 on October 4.

Jones has come on a long way since winning his first marathon in 2013, clocking 4.16.40 at Edinburgh.

Irishman Liam Roarty was Sunderland University’s sole representative in the British Universities Cross Country Championships at Gloucester.

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He finished 166th. Sunderland Harrier Noel Hitchcock was 28th in the Dewsbury 10k (34.57).

Sunderland Harriers, who top the men’s first division of the North East Harrier League, now have only two fixtures to contest instead of three after the loss of one of them.

The league has now been reduced from six to five fixtures after the Town Moor course at Newcastle was found to be unfit through flooding.

Following a course inspection on Thursday on the Town Moor, and Sunday at the substitute Wrekenton course, the Harrier League fixture is now cancelled and will not be rearranged, stated the organizers.

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Both courses still have substantial amounts of water on them, where the club tents would be situated.

The next fixture is on March 5, at Alnwick and Wrekenton will go ahead, as usual, as the final fixture on Saturday, March 19.

The Alnwick meeting will clash with the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships which is staged in Nottingham.

The Wrekenton fixture will be the final event in the Sunderland Harriers cross country Grand Prix.