Dixon sets sights on Wearside hat-trick

Alyson Dixon.
Alyson Dixon.
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SUNDERLAND Stroller Alyson Dixon has confirmed she will tackle the Sunderland City Half Marathon on Sunday, May 4.

The 35-year-old Silksworth athlete is almost certain to be selected for the Commonwealth Games Marathon in Glasgow on July 27.

She tops the UK marathon and half marathon rankings and clocked a personal best for the half in the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen in March, recording 70.38.

And in a double boost for the organisers, she will be joined by fellow British international Derek Hawkins, who has already been selected to represent Scotland in the men’s marathon.

Dixon said: “It’s great that Sunderland now has an established festival of running and I’m really excited about racing the half marathon.

“I’ve won the 10k the last two years and I’m looking forward to hopefully adding my name to the roll of honour for the longer distance.

“I’ll be looking to record a solid performance to back up my chances of selection for the Commonwealth Games.”

The pair will be heading a strong field of athletes from the North East and beyond. The event is part of the Run Sunderland Festival, which also includes the fourth Sunderland City 10k. The races are being organised by Events of the North and made possible due to a partnership with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live.

Hawkins, from near Paisley in Renfrewshire, said: “I chose Sunderland because I ran the 10k a few years ago so I know it is a flat course and it fits perfectly in my build up for Glasgow. It falls two weeks after I return from a block of altitude training in Boulder, so it’s ideal to find out how that training phase went in Boulder in a racing environment. It will give me an insight to my fitness as I enter the final 12 weeks of my preparation.”

The Scotsman has a best for the distance of 64.07 from the 2012 Great North Run.

The Run Sunderland Festival organisers are expecting around 4,000 people to take part, with thousands more lining the streets of Sunderland to support the runners. The deadline for booking places on the half marathon and 10k is midnight tonight. For more information and to secure a number visit www.sunderlandcity10k.com.