Smith beats Dixon with record run

Rosie Smith
Rosie Smith
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DURHAM City Harrier Rosie Smith beat her great rival Alyson Dixon and the Sunderland Stroller’s course record for a resounding win in the women’s race of the Saltwell 10k on Saturday.

Smith, the newly-crowned North East cross country champion, scored a rare win over her arch rival on the roads, where Dixon normally dominates.

Her 10k best stands at 33min 28sec compared to Dixon’s 32.35, but past form went out of the window. This time, it was Smith who proved the stronger on the tarmac, to win in 35.06 to slice four seconds off Dixon’s course record from last year.

On a day that was not conducive to course records, with a very strong wind facing the athletes and many lapped runners to negotiate over the testing three laps of the Saltwell course, Smith’s performance was outstanding.

Not only did she beat Dixon by 39 seconds, she finished a superb seventh in the race overall, won by Cheltenham’s Philip Wylie (31.50), who was well outside his personal best of 29.30 and Ryan McLeod’s course record (30.58) to show what the athletes were up against.

Smith said: “I made my break going up the hill on the second lap and managed to open a gap. I’m more suited to the hills, where Alyson is better on the flat.

“This has got to rank as one of my best performances on the road.

“The support around the course was really good. I’m delighted to have won.”

Smith will now head to Edinburgh on January 10, when she will represent the North in the televised Great North International Cross Country.

Dixon finished a clear second in 14th overall (35.45) and third was Alex Sneddon (38.12) with her Jarrow and Hebburn teammate Claire Simpson fourth (39.47).

Sunderland Harrier Judith Thirwell was the first over-45 to finish (45.26).

Philip Wylie, born in the North East, but living in Exeter, was a surprise entrant to the race and he showed his class with a comfortable victory over Morpeth’s Richard Morrell (32.24), Durham’s Dan Jenkin was third (33.01) with Tyne Bridge Harrier Marc Fenwick (33.38) and Jarrow’s Brendan McMillan (34.37), in fourth and fifth. Durham’s Ian Crampton was first over-50 in12th (35.38).

Sunderland Strollers had Gerry Ritchie in 54th (40.56) and Daniel Case 89th (43.33). Sunderland Harriers placed Tony Allinson in 85th (43.25), Dave Savage 103rd (44.34) and Alan McManus 146th (47.22).