SUNDERLAND’S Alyson Dixon dashed to a new women’s course record in the 14th annual Sunderland Strollers Pier-to-Pier race yesterday.
The Chester-le-Street AC club member finished 14th overall to clock 40 minutes, 28 seconds to easily beat the previous best set by former Houghton Harrier Sheila Allen, who recorded 42.13 in 2001.
The race from South Shields pier to Roker pier had 908 finishers and was won by South Shields Harrier Luke Adams.
Runners, who were aided by a following wind, were free to decide whatever route to take, but they must have kept off the highway.
Dixon, who is pleased to get back to local competition after all the stresses and strains of failing to make the Olympics in the London Marathon, said getting the record was a bonus.
“I certainly did not go out to try and beat it. I was just out for a relaxed run. But, by my watch, the race is not 7.5 miles, it is 6.8 miles,” she said.
“It’s nice to get back to normal with no strict schedules and all the pressure off. Now I want to get back to competing in local races and to enjoy my training again.”
Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt was runner-up in 44th overall (44.20), Jarrow and Hebburn’s Elaine Leslie was third (46.15) and Durham City Harrier Kim Simpson fourth (47.04). Sunderland Stroller Lyne Valentine was first over-55 in 227th (55.19).
Adams, 24, was just outside Sunderland Harrier Tim Field’s 36.44 record, also from 2001, when he stopped the clock on a fast 37.01
He won the race by 74 seconds from Andy Burn of Jarrow and Hebburn AC with Gosforth’s 18-year-old Finn Brodie third (38.18). Crook’s Patrick Duffy finished fourth (38.22) and Elswick’s Lee Bennett was fifth (38.38).
Adams, who led from the start, said: “If I knew I was so close to the record I would have pushed on and beaten it. Now I know which course to take I’m confident I can beat it next year.”
Sunderland Harriers had five men in the top 20 with Nathan Reed their first man home in sixth (38.52). Then came Craig Isherwood in tenth (39.23), veteran over-45 Jon Dobson 13th (40.07), Michael Barker 19th (41.04) and over-45 Paul Redman 20th (41.37). Peter Richardson was first over-60 in 87th (47.09) and Roger Wilson first over-70 in 251st (52.55).
Sunderland Strollers veteran Tim Allsop was 16th (40.49) and Tim Bateson was 27th (42.28).
Downhill’s Rob Sloan, in his first race back following a six month suspension imposed by England Athletics, following his disqualification from the Kielder Marathon after catching a bus to the finish and claiming third place, finished 23rd in 42.09.
H Two young North East athletes did their Olympic hopes a power of good in the British Milers Club Grand Prix at Manchester on Saturday night. Gateshead’s Ross Murray blasted to a superb 3.36.6 clocking over 1500m, taking out five seconds on the rest of the field over the final lap. Morpeth’s Laura Weightman, coached by Steve Cram, went top of the women’s UK 1500m rankings with her winning run of 4.09.42.
Pier-to-Pier Results: 1 Luke Adams (Sth Shields) 37.01, 2 Andy Burn (Jar & Heb) 38.15, 3 Finn Brodie (Gosforth) 38.18, 4 Patrick Duffy (Crook) 38.22, 5 Lee Bennett M40 (Elswick) 38.38, 6 Nathan Reed (Sun Harr) 38.52, 7 Philip Sanderson M40 (Elswick) 39.02, 8 Brendan McMillan (Claremont) 39.03, 9 Sparrow Morley (Tyne Bridge) 39.04, 10 Craig Isherwood (Sun Harr) 39.23, 11 Gary Grounds M40 (Marsh House) 39.55, 12 Colin Robson (Jarr & Heb) 40.03, 13 Jon Dobson M45 (Sun Harr) 40.07, 14 Alyson Dixon (Chest-le-St) 40.28, 15 Matty Tomlinson M40 (Chest-le-St) 40.35, 16 Tim Allsop M40 (Sun Stroll), 40.49, 17 Les Smith M40 (Heaton) 40.53, 18 Nicholas Atkinson (Sth Shields) 41.03, 19 Michael Barker (Sun Harr) 41.04, 20 Paul Redman M45 (Sun Harr) 41.37, 21 David Daniels (Tyne Bridge) 41.49, 22 Ian Hardy M40 (Elswick) 42.01, 23 Rob Sloan (Unatt) 42.09, 24 Jim Thompson M40 (Saltwell) 42.14, 25 Paul Robson M40 (Sun City) 42.25.