Alyson Dixon goes into the Berlin Marathon on Sunday with Olympic selection for next year’s Rio Olympics firmly within her grasp.
The Sunderland Stroller, 37 tomorrow, goes into the race in the form of her life following her fourth place in the women’s race in the Great North Run.
And the week previously, she clocked a personal best for 10k (32.17) in the Tees Pride event in Middlesbrough.
While her time in the GNR (72.07) was not her best – that stands at 70.38 – it was the manner of how she achieved it that impressed many.
She said: “I wouldn’t normally do a half marathon two weeks before a marathon, but it was the Great North Run.
“I went into to it wanting to run a controlled race and I ran it a little faster than I intended, but it was not eye balls out.”
Now she targets a time of under 2hr 30min in Berlin, inside the Rio qualifying time of 2.31. Her best stands at 2.31.08.
The Silksworth athlete has certainly left no stone unturned in her quest for Olympic selection, knocking-up over 110 miles each week in preparation for Berlin, spending time at altitude in Kenya and France and a race plan that has seen her enjoy her best ever form
Dixon added: “I received a lot of advice from Paula Radcliffe while I was training at altitude just before the Great North Run at Font Romeu, and earlier in the year at Kenya.
“When I was training on the roads at Font Romeu, Paula was on her bike encouraging me and then getting involved in my track sessions. She has certainly boosted my confidence.
“The Olympics has been a big aim for the last 20 years and I think that next year is my best chance of eventually making it.
“I’ve put my heart and soul into giving myself the very best preparations, all I need now is to keep sensible and then run the race of my life at Berlin.”
Sunderland Stroller Jen Preston recorded a personal best of 52 minutes and finished sixth woman in the Snape 10k in North Yorkshire. Clubmate John Lowther recorded 48.12.
The Start Fitness North East Harrier League starts its 2015/16 programme with the opening fixture at Tanfield on Saturday (12.15pm).
Numbers are continuing to grow and another record turnout for the season is on the cards again.
Around 5,000 athletes are expected to register for the seven meetings during the season, which ends in March.
Awards will be presented to any athlete who competes in the Sherman Cup, four of the six league fixtures, the North Eastern Championships and the Northern Championships.
Tanfield is on the A6076 between Stanley and Sunniside. The women’s race is at 1.15pm approx. The Men’s race should start around 2.15pm.
The Redcar Half Marathon returns for the 33rd year on Sunday (10am). The route is a flat, fast, traffic free course starting and finishing on Majuba Road, Redcar. Half Marathon finishers will receive a goody bag and a technical T-shirt.