Sunderland athlete strolls to British title

Alyson Dixon competes in the men's 10,000m race
Alyson Dixon competes in the men's 10,000m race
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ALYSON DIXON received the biggest applause of all after contesting the 10,000m and winning gold in bizarre circumstances at the Sainsbury’s British Championships and World Championship trials at Birmingham.

The Sunderland Stroller was the sole female entrant as she joined the men following the cancellation of the women’s final on Saturday.

She was lapped several times, but the gritty international marathon runner stuck to her guns in the red hot conditions to earn the national title.

She went onto clock 34.46.75, a long way behind the last man, to finish to a standing ovation.

“Doing 25 laps all by yourself is hard going, especially in the heat. It’s hard when you know all you have to do is finish it,” said the Silksworth athlete.

“I came down to Birmingham to win a title and I have done that.

“I was very disappointed with the way I have done it – with no competition. But at the end of the day I am national champion and you can’t take that away from me.

“UKA were going to cancel the race after all the other runners dropped out leading up to the race.

“But I rang up to ask if there was any chance of running with the men, otherwise it would have been a weekend wasted.

“I could have gone to Edinburgh and made some money in a road race. But I turned that down with the focus of coming down to Birmingham.”

There will be no British female athlete going to Moscow for the World Championships in August as no one has the World Championship 10,000m standard of 31.45.00.

Dixon’s busy race schedule saw her smash her own course record in the Bridges of the Tyne five-mile road race last Tuesday.

She finished a terrific eighth overall in 27.52 to shatter her time of 28.50 from last year’s race.

Morpeth’s Ian Hudspith also set a new course record in first place, clocking 24.46 when leaving the rest of the 321 field behind him. Her next race is in her own backyard on Wednesday, when she contests the Sunderland 5k at Silksworth Sports Complex.

Other North East athletes at the Alexander Stadium suffered mixed fortunes. Olympic 1500m finalist Laura Weightman failed to finish the 1500m final after being spiked and falling over.

Gateshead sprinter Richard Kilty qualified fastest in the heats for the 200m but came second in the final by five-hundredths of a second in 20.50.

In the men’s 5,000m, Morpeth’s Nick McCormick finished runner-up in 13:59.52. Clubmate Jonathan Taylor finished seventh and Durham City Harrier Dan Garbett was 12th.

Gateshead’s discus thrower Graeme Level finished fifth in the final after throwing a season’s best 53.23m.

Middlesbrough’s Chris Tomlinson won the long jump with a leap of 8.02.

Sainsbury’s British Championships is the second event in the Sainsbury’s Summer Series. For more information on Sainsbury’s support of world class athletics and disability sport go to

Houghton Harriers had a good night in the fourth North East Grand Prix meeting at Monkton.

There were wins for under-17s Owen Barrass in the shot (11.16), Lewis Thompson with a 11.05 leap in the triple jump, Alex Brown with victory in the 800m (2.11.00) and Laura Fenwick in the junior women’s 100m. Ben Mitchell was runner-up in both the shot (10.57) and javelin (36.68).

Sunderland Harrier Hollie Lancaster scored a sprint double in the under-17 100m (12.8) and 200m (26.1). Jordan Beavers won the under-13 javelin (22.46) and 75m hurdles (15.8) before finishing second in the long jump (3.71). Samantha McKenzie triumphed in the senior women’s 100m (13.6).

Nathan Reed chopped over half a minute off his previous fastest to finish second in the senior 3,000m (8.38.7). And there was a welcome return to the sport for former under-17 North East champion Jake Archer, who clocked 2.00.7 to finish second in the 800m B race.