Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon flies into London today after seven weeks training at altitude with the British endurance squad in her preparation for Sunday’s World Championships Marathon.
The 38-year-old has been averaging well over 100 miles a week at the training base in Font Romeu in France, with added altitude trips to Kenya, for her big race preparation.
She has proved the value of her single minded attitude and sheer hard work with her qualification for the championships through the selection race in the London Marathon in April, where she defended her British marathon title in a personal best of 2hr 29min 06sec.
She said at the time: “I came here looking to finish top Brit and get that personal best and qualifying time for the Worlds and it feels amazing to have achieved it.
“Everything in training had been aimed at this selection race and it feels great to have achieved my goals.
“Preparation went really well, but this was a tough selection race. I just decided to give it everything, if I blew up then I didn’t care, I wanted to push it to the maximum.”
Rio Olympian Dixon has been representing her country ever since 2011, but feels that this could be her time to impress after being hampered in her previous World Championship outing.
She added: “I got my first major British vest back in 2011 at the Daegu World Championships, and I think I’ve got some unfinished business as I went into those championships with what turned out to be three broken bones in my foot and underperformed as a result.
“Since then I’ve improved by six or seven minutes, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there in London on Sunday to try and give it a really strong run.
“I’d love to go sub -2:28, but just to be in the UK and competing at a home World Championships will be fantastic.”
This will be Dixon’s first race since she finished second to her Rio Olympian team-mate Sonia Samuels in the Blaydon Race on June 9.
She went into the race suffering from a bug and she said afterwards: “I gave it my best shot, but on the day, my legs just didn’t have it past the three mile marker.
“I had to settle for second place. I am gutted as I would have loved to have earned my hat-trick of wins.”
This did however fire up Dixon in getting back into her tough training mode in readiness for her big challenge ahead. She said on her blog on her time in Fort Romeu: “Since I got here my training has gone brilliant. I’ve been bashing out the miles on the stunning trails, one week a little too many when I hit 139.4 miles for one week.
“ But I’ve managed to average 126 miles per week over the first five weeks which includes some really consistent track sessions that have been faster than I’ve done up here in the past and some very strong long tempo runs.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there on the streets of London and doing myself, my family and my country proud.
“If you are around Central London at 2pm on Sunday come down to the Tower Bridge/Embankment/St Paul’s area and give us a shout. It’s a four lap course so you’ll see lots of action and I can promise you it will be awesome!”
Joining Dixon on the start line in London are fellow Brits Charlotte Purdue and Tracy Barlow. The men’s race starts at 10.55am and the women’s 2pm.
Other North East athletes competing at the World Championships are Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman, a Commonwealth and European medallist over 1,500m.
She is in good form having recorded a PB for 800m last week at Stretford (2.01.87). Former Jarrow and Hebburn runner Sarah McDonald also goes in the 1,500m.
Richmond’s and Zetland’s Marc Scott is in the 5,000m and Middlesbrough’s Richard Kilty is in the 4x100m relay squad.