Stunning joy for Alyson Dixon ... then despair

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SUNDERLAND’S Alyson Dixon stormed to success with a brilliant win amid controversy in yesterday’s Brighton Marathon.

The 32-year-old, a member of Chester-le-Street AC, shattered her previous best by nearly eight minutes to go under the World Championship qualifying time with her remarkable performance of 2.34.51.

But the organisers were informed that the World Championship’s B qualifier would not count as the course had not been ratified by the IAAF.

Although the course had been measured by IAAF course measurer Huw Jones, her time will not be eligible for Daegu, Korea. The Brighton course was not on the list of those approved by the IAAF for qualification purposes, according to UK Athletics.

This was total devastation for Dixon, who had spent nearly £5,000 in preparing for the race with two trips to altitude training camps to Kenya.

But beating the 2.35 barrier had other rewards for the tiny athlete. She picked up a bonus of $1,000 for going under the mark and this was added to her winner’s prize of $2,000 and the $500 for being first Briton.

Dixon went through halfway in just inside 77 minutes but struggled in the last four miles into the wind along the sea front finish.

“The course was good, but I had a bad patch at eight miles and I started to suffer,’’ she said.

“I managed to recover by half-way. But during the last four miles I was suffering again. People were shouting encouragement and that helped a lot.’’

Seemingly, Dixon and her coach Liz McColgan did not know that the Brighton Marathon did not qualify for the World Championship qualifying times.

But the UKA selection policy on their website mentions that only performances in IAAF-confirmed marathons will be accepted for world qualification, and points athletes and coaches in the direction of the IAAF website for the approved list.