“I’m a Mackem, and Mackems don’t give up," said Sunderland athlete Alyson Dixon after a gruelling Commonwealth Games marathon.
And the 39-year-old needed determination in spades today as she finished sixth in the 26-mile event in the Gold Coast Games.
The Sunderland Stroller clocked a time of 2:36:59, while Wallsend’s Sonia Samuels went 90 seconds faster to finish fifth.
Namibia's Helalia Johannes won, ahead of Australian duo Lisa Weightman and Jessica Trengove.
And while Dixon admitted the race had been a grind, she was just happy to have finished and laid the ghost of Glasgow to bed.
Four years ago, at the last Commonwealth Games, she was forced to retire 14 miles in due to a torn ankle ligament, and that memory still endures in Dixon’s mind.
“I said to the doctor that I would’ve had to stop breathing in order to not finish. After Glasgow it’s what I wanted, I needed to put that to rest,” she said.
“Eight miles in I was dying a death and thought it was going to be a tough, long day. But I rallied and caught back up with the leaders and felt good until about 33km.
“Then the wind hit us, the heat hit us and the lack of preparation really caught up.
“It was a battle against the conditions in the last 10-12km, but I’m a Mackem and Mackems don’t give up, so I kept on fighting and I’m just glad to finish.”
After the race Dixon revealed that she almost didn’t make it to the start line after over-training earlier in the year, leading to a six-week period without any training.
“I feel pretty beat up. Considering five weeks ago I was just about to ring the team management and say 'I’m not coming', it’s not so bad,” she added.
“I was in great shape, but then being self-coached is always hard because you’re always pushing and it’s hard to hold yourself back.
“I made that mistake of just overdoing it a little bit when I came back from Kenya.
“Thankfully I saw the signs and I managed to pull it back because I was doing 130 miles a week, which I know is stupid and I tell everybody is stupid, but I didn’t intend to do it- I just got carried away.”
Samuels may have found the going easier in 30 degree heat but she also was not entirely happy with her race.
“I feel a bit disappointed because I thought that if I ran my best race I could challenge for a medal,” she said.
“I wasn’t far away and the Kenyan was coming back to me, but not quick enough.”
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