Alyson Dixon pleased with European Championships effort in build up to Rio Olympics

Aly Dixon
Aly Dixon

Alyson Dixon showed that her marathon preparations for the Rio Olympics are going well with an impressive performance in the European Championships Half Marathon Cup in Amsterdam yesterday.

On a course not conducive to fast times, the Sunderland Stroller finished an impressive 13th in a field of 90 to place second finisher for Team GB.

She clocked 72.47 after going through 5k in16.45 in 18th spot before moving up to 11th at 10k (33.48) but then slipped back to her finishing position of 13th at the 15k marker.

Gemma Steel was the leading British woman, finishing 10th overall in a time of 72.19.

The Charnwood athlete was seventh at the halfway point, working hard to stay with the chasing pack. She was pressured by Dixon in the next five kilometres as she dropped to 12th. However Steel, who is third on the UK all-time rankings, pushed up the field in the closing stages, grabbing a top 10 finish.

Dixon, who set off immediately after the race for the GB high altitude training base in the French Pyrenees, will now continue her preparations for the 26.2 mile distance in Brazil next month.

The Silksworth athlete said: “It was good practice for Rio. There were a lot of twists and turns so it was never going to be a fast race.

“The heat did start to get to me a bit, but you’re not going to get better conditions than that for preparing for Rio.

“Coming into this I didn’t know what shape I would be in, with such a short turnaround from London. I’m happy with what I’ve done today because obviously the big picture is five weeks today and the Olympics.”

Lily Partridge was the third British finisher in 51st, crossing the line in (1:16.57). Tina Muir was the fourth finisher in 59th in (1:17.23). Charlotte Purdue did not finish. The women’s squad finished seventh in the team standings, with Portugal taking the gold after Sara Moreira won the individual title (70.19)

Sparrow Morley, the Great North Gateshead 10k winner, followed his victory by leading his club Sunderland Harriers to team success in the Bridges of the Tyne five-mile road race and the next day in the Tynedale 10k at Ovingham.

He finished seventh (26.28) at Newcastle in the race won by Tipton Harrier Ryan McLeod (25.13). Morley was followed by clubmates Steve McMahon eighth (26.58), Kevin Jefress ninth (26.59), over-45 veteran Michael Thompson 10th (27.35) and Michael Edwards 15th (28.21)

At Tynedale, won by Saltwell Harrier Abraham Tewelde (31.20), Morley found himself out on his own when he won the race to the first mile marker which he covered in 4.18. He then stopped and waited for the field to catch him up before rejoining the race. But, despite his splendid efforts over the one mile, he learned later that this part of the race had been discontinued and there was no award!

Clearly his early efforts had taken its toll as he finished 13th (35.14) behind fellow team members Michael Barker seventh (34.12). Jake Jensen was 15th (35.25) and Noel Hitchcock 17th (35.43).

Houghton Harrier Alex Brown finished an impressive fifth (33.28) and Lee Dover was 27th (36.59). Sunderland Strollers placed Andrew Forbes 16th (35.30) and Jamie Collin 26th (36.46).

In the Pit Stop 10k at Croft, Darlington, Sunderland Harriers just missed out in the team race by three points. Durham City Harrier James Askew won the race in 32.24 and Rosie Smith in 11th won the women’s race (35.29). Sunderland’s marathon man Matt Jones was fourth in a personal best of 33.13. Matt Devlin finished ninth (34.32) and over-40 Tony Allinson was third counter in 40th (39.38).