SUNDERLAND Stroller Alyson Dixon has left for Kenya to train at high altitude in preparation for her next marathon.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow looms large in the 35-year-old’s sights.
She has the qualifying time of 2hr 35min by clocking 2.31.02 in Brighton last April, but that does not guarantee selection for the England team – even though, she sits on top of the England rankings for 2013.
She now faces the dilemma of having to choose between running the London Marathon selection race where the first English woman to finish is guaranteed selection – as long as she runs under the qualifying time.
Or does she just sit back and rely on her Brighton run?
The date of the Commonwealth marathon is Sunday, July 27, and this is firmly etched in Dixon’s mind.
She said: “I will make my decision as late as possible. It all depends on what the other girls do before London.
“If some beat my 2.31, then I will have to run London and make sure I’m first English girl home.”
The four and a half week trip to Iten in Kenya is funded by UK Athletics and the London Marathon. The altitude camp has become an important fixture in the training programmes for some of the leading UK endurance athletes, including double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah. It has provided the ideal environment for athletes and coaches to work together, supported by a team of UKA staff including coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, soft tissue therapists and exercise physiologists.
“There is not a great deal to do there apart from training. But the environment is superb, so all your attention is focussed on what you are there for, added the Silksworth runner.
“I’m not sure the altitude improves my performance greatly. I didn’t go last year and still had a good season.”
Dixon. a World Championship representative, who works as a part-time sports shop assistant at the Metro Centre, will arrive back in the UK on the eve of the National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham on Saturday, February 22.
“I’m not yet sure whether I will race at Nottingham. But I intend doing the Reading Half Marathon on March 2,” she said.
H The North East Veterans’ Cross Country Championships take place at Darlington’s School of Mathematics and Science, Eggleston View, Darlington DL3 9SH on Saturday, February 1.
There are two events: 11.30 Women and Men over 65 (5.5k), 12.15 Men 35/40/45/50/55/60 (7.3k).
This is a championship open to all veterans who are first claim members of a UK affiliated club and qualify for the North East Counties by having residence in or have been born within the counties of Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear or Cleveland.
Entry fee for paid up NEMAA members £4. Non-members £7. Make cheques payable to ‘NEMAA’ and send with entry form to Ron Stewart 5 Mast Lane, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 3DF. Entries close on January 25. No entries on the day.