Commonwealth Games Marathon selection the target for Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon

Alyson Dixon in the Women's Marathon final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
Alyson Dixon in the Women's Marathon final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon has selection for the Commonwealth Games Marathon in mind following her spirited performance in the World Championship Marathon in London on Sunday, August 6.

She led the marathon for 90 minutes and said it was the highlight of her career, despite slipping back to a final 18th position.

At one stage she had a 35 seconds lead as she pursued her race plan in aiming to gain a personal best and found herself leading the field.

She said at the time: “My targets were to be competitive and to run a PB. I was running at PB pace and that put me in the lead.”

Now next year’s Commonwealth Games Marathon beckons, with selections made on October 2, for the Australian Gold Coast.

The qualifying time is 2.34 and this has got to be achieved between September 1, 2016 and October 1, 2017.

She has been well within this time on two occasions, clocking a PB (2.29.06) in winning the British Marathon title in London in April and her time in the World Championship marathon was 2.31.36. Her 2.29.06 heads the UK rankings for the year.

Dixon added: “I would love to go to the Commonwealth Games. Failing that, there’s the Europeans next year. I’m 39 next month and I’m still running well. I’ll take it one year at a time.’’

The Commonwealth Games Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 15 and the European Championships are staged in Berlin, with the marathon on Sunday, August 12.

Houghton Harriers’ Henry Johnson and Will Bellamy both rose to the occasion in the Northern Track and Field Under-15 3,000m Championships at Leigh.

Competing on the second day of the championships, they both achieved personal bests in finishing first and second over the seven and a half laps.

Johnson won when taking 10 hundredths of a second off his previous fastest to record 9.08.24. He added the Northern title to his North East titles over 800m and 1,500m and he was also runner-up in the English Schools’ 1,500m Championship.

Bellamy was just over a second quicker than his previous best with his time of 9.11.20. He has made a big improvement since he finished runner-up in the North Eastern Championships 3,000m in May when he recorded 9.47.17.

Both athletes are coached by Lynn Cooper, the former Scottish Commonwealth Games Marathon runner, whose PB for the distance was 2.31.45.

Houghton’s third medallist at Leigh was Philippa Ellis, finishing second in the Under-15 75m hurdles (11.55) and just a short while later she was back in action in finishing third in the 100m (12.97).

The Trail Outlaws Branches and Bays trail 10k at Hawthorn Dene was won by Elvet Strider Gareth Pritchard in 42.12.

Chris Dwyer led Sunderland Strollers in fourth (46.17), Wendy Chapman, an Over-45, was first woman in eighth overall (47.26), Dale Wilkinson was 23rd (53.07), Andrew Dobinson took 33rd (54.41) and Bill Kirk was first Over-60 in 48th (56.45). Gary Bailey, of Run Peterlee, finished ninth (47.59).

Sunderland Harriers saw Martin Blenkinsopp in sixth as first Over-40 (46.46), Alan McManus was 31st (54.12), Vicky Cotton finished 32nd (54.13) and Anthony Erskine took 33rd (54.17).

Gateshead Harriers face a busy few days when they stage their Quayside 5k at Newcastle tonight (7pm).

On Sunday they host the Tartan Games at the International Stadium.