Sunderland’s Aly Dixon beats world record holder Paula Radcliffe in city’s half marathon

Aly Dixon, left, and Paula Radcliffe at the Sunderland half marathon.
Aly Dixon, left, and Paula Radcliffe at the Sunderland half marathon.
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Around 4,000 runners lined up for the seventh Run Sunderland Festival today.

On a breezy but dry day, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and local Team GB marathon star Alyson Dixon joined thousands of club and fun runners who took part in the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Sunderland

Paula Radcliffe

The races started and finished in Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s regeneration, where a large crowd of spectators were entertained by live music.

The Run Sunderland Festival was organised by Events of the North and made possible thanks to a partnership with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live.

The event was sponsored by Siglion, the regeneration company that is leading the transformation of sites around the city.

The day started with the Sunderland City 10k.

The race was won by Jonathan Taylor of Morpeth Harriers for the second year in a row, in a time of 31 minutes and 3 seconds. He was followed by Weynay Ghebresilasie of Shettleston Harriers in 31:26 and Wondiye Fikre of Leeds City Athletic Club (31:29).

First lady was Alison Dargie of Tyne Bridge Harriers in 38:28, with Jacqueline Etherington of Sunderland Harriers (40:42) in second and Wendy Chapman (40:49) third.

The Sunderland City Half Marathon was won by Abraham Tewelde of Saltwell Harriers in 1:10:07, with Tristan Learoyd of New Marske Harriers (1:13:03) in second and Stephen Jackson (1:15:03) third.

The women’s race was won by Alyson Dixon of Sunderland Strollers in 1:23:01, closely followed by Paula Radcliffe of Bedford & County in 1:23:02, with Jenny Watt of Vale Royal (1:25:27) in third.

The Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K were both started by the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alan Emerson, and Colin Burgin-Plews, better known as charity fundraiser Big Pink Dress.

With over 4,000 entries this year, the two Sunderland events attracted a record field of runners, with thousands more cheering them on around the city streets.

Participants included representatives from athletics clubs throughout the North East, along with hundreds of fun runners, many of whom were raising money for official charity partner St. Benedict’s Hospice, and other good causes.

Event founder and race director Steve Cram said: “The Run Sunderland Festival goes from strength to strength.

“Once again, both the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K events attracted record fields of runners, and it was great to see so many people from the city come out onto the streets to cheer them on.

“The windy conditions provided a good test for participants, but there were still some excellent performances and it was brilliant to watch Paula Radcliffe and local star Aly Dixon running together around the streets of Sunderland.

“Massive thanks to Sunderland City Council for hosting this event, and to our sponsors and amazing volunteers.”

Paula Radcliffe added: “I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Sunderland.

“The North East has a fantastic tradition of putting on great road races and there was a really big event atmosphere in the city today.

“I loved running the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon alongside Aly Dixon and we were given fantastic support around the course.

“Thanks to Crammy for giving me the opportunity to take part and to everyone who made the event possible.”

The events were also supported by sports nutrition company Totum Sport as performance partner.