Alyson Dixon eyes the bigger prize

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ALYSON Dixon is one local athlete that hopes she will not be competing in the inaugural Marathon of the North in Sunderland next year.

The 33-year-old has the London Marathon and Olympic selection as her target.

This comes just two weeks before Steve Cram’s Festival of Running Sunderland showpiece on Sunday May 6.

The former Sunderland Harrier, who has not run a step since bravely completing the World Championship marathon in Daegu, with a broken bone at the top of her foot, realizes she faces a tough road ahead.

“I believe my foot problem started in the Great South Run exactly 12 months ago,’’ she said

“I continued to train and race, not realizing the injury was so severe.’’

She had to rely on painkillers to get through her painful ordeal of the marathon in South Korea.

“It was only after I came back from Daegu and had a scan that it showed up the broken bone. I was then put on crutches before I started attending the Aquatic Centre for aqua-jogging training sessions twice a day. It is boring, but it has certainly helped, as I’m hoping to start jogging soon.’’

Dixon wants to be in full training by January, to be back on track for her gruelling regime of clocking up to 120 miles each week in preparation for her big April 22 capital date.

There she believes she will have run at least 2hr 27min to gain Olympic selection – a time over seven minutes faster than her best (2.34.50).

However, after her taste of the athletics big time, the Chester-le-Street club athlete maintains she will not give up on one of the three Olympic places without a fight.

“There are quite a few girls that have gone under the 2hr 30min, so qualifying for London is going to be very hard,’’ she admitted.

“But the improvement is possible. I will give it a go and hit it hard. I’ve waited years for this opportunity.’’

Dixon though has not ruled out some involvement with the Festival of Running, although she hopes it will be in the Sunderland City 10k rather than the marathon.

“I hope to have some involvement in the Running Festival probably turning out in the 10k. But if things don’t work out I could do the marathon. I’ve heard it is an interesting and fast course which will attract some good runners.’’

Entries for the Marathon of the North are now being accepted at Runners can register for the event at the opening price of £30 until 30th November. The Sunderland City 10k entries are available at

H Sunderland Harrier veteran Paul Besford finished 89th in 2.46.55 in Monday’s Dublin Marathon. Sunderland Strollers’ Kevin O’Neil recorded 3.37.56 and Phil Watson 3.37.58.

H Stroller Steve McMahon finished 26th in 3.23.24 in the Newcastle City Marathon in Exhibition Park. Clubmate Joy Champion was 38th and second over-45 in a PB of 3.35.45 and Malcolm Cox was second over-55 in 51st in 3.42.33, in the race won by Peter Stockdale in 2.55.38.

H Sunderland Harriers’ Sean Smith finished 14th (1.22.30) and Noel Hitchcock was 22nd (1.24.44) in the Jedburgh Half Marathon.