ALYSON Dixon’s hopes of selection for the World Championships in Moscow will depend on the performances of her rivals in Sunday’s London Marathon.
The Sunderland Stroller recorded 2hr 31min 10sec in Sunday’s Brighton Marathon, to miss out on the Moscow championship qualifying time by just ten seconds.
The 34-year-old, who moved to the top of this year’s UK marathon rankings, shattered her previous fastest time (2.34.50) she set on the same course in 2011.
She said after her run on Sunday: “I’m 70 per cent elated and 30 per cent gutted.’’
There are five places available in the GB team with three athletes already having the qualifying time from last year.
Dixon, who won £2,500 plus £1,000 for beating 2.34 at Brighton, feels she has something to prove after her disappointing run in the last World Championship in South Korea, where she suffered with an injured foot. She recorded a disappointing 2.50.11 after struggling to finish.
She has now become Sunderland’s fastest women’s marathon runner. Her 2.31.10 Brighton run passes Lynn Harding’s former fastest time of 2.31.45 set in the 1989 London Marathon, where she finished eighth and third British woman.
Harding’s Houghton Harriers’ clubmate Carolyn Naisby, who recorded 2.33.22 in winning the 1987 Florence Marathon, now drops to third place.
Sunderland Harrier Len Christopher’s hopes of further glory in the London Marathon have been dashed again.
Last year he was forced to withdraw after sustaining a hamstring injury. This time he competes over the 26 miles 365 yards distance after suffering from shingles.
The 66-year-old Southwick athlete won the gold medal in the London over-55 category in 2002, clocking 2.49.50. Then, in 2007, he was second over-60, as a 62-year-old, in a time of 2.58.59.
On Sunday, he enters the over-65 class and is targeting a time of 3hr 20min, but his shingles illness has considered him to reconsider his plans.
“It has been quite debilitating, but I have still managed to keep training. It has been tough at times and it knocks your confidence,” he said.
“I just hope that it doesn’t cost me much in the way of my performance. I am going into the race still wanting to do well. I’m hoping not to be too far away from my target time.”
Christopher’s clubmate Kathryn Watt faces a busy and exhausting time over the next few weeks, with three marathons planned in six weeks.
She starts her campaign at London on Sunday. Then, on the following Sunday, she is back on home soil to compete in the Sunderland Marathon of the North from the Stadium of Light.
She then has a few weeks well deserved break before travelling to Scotland to compete in the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 26.
“Since my father died recently I have been raising money for the Stroke Association,’’ said the 28-year-old.
“I just hope I can manage what I have set myself up for. My target is to beat four hours. My best time stands at 4.10. It is going to be tough.”