Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon attempting to go the distance

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon.
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon.

Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon competes over unknown territory when she represents Britain in Romania later this year.

She competes in a team of five in the IAU (International Association of Ultra Runners) 50km World Championships in Brasov on September 1.

The double Olympian, who has represented GB in the marathon at World and European Championships plus the Commonwealth Games, makes her first journey over the 50km distance.

This is 8km longer than the marathon and the distance is sure to be a big test for the experienced marathon runner.

One local athlete who came through ultra distance racing with flying colours at the end of her marathon career was Houghton Harrier Lynn Cooper.

Her background was competing in two Commonwealth Games for Scotland in the marathon and she had finished eighth with a time of 2.31.45 in the 1989 London Marathon.

In 1995, she competed in the IAU 100km at Chavagnes-en-Paillers, France, and finished second in a time of 7.52.23 in her last major race.

This will be the first edition of the 50km event since 2016 when Britain won the women’s team gold.

British Athletics said in their selection policy that it continues to value the importance of the IAU 50km World Championships and the role it plays in the progression of British endurance athletes within the international competition pathway.

British Athletics is realistic about the impact that British endurance athletes can have at this event when competing with the best in the world.

The other athletes joining Dixon are Hannah Oldroyd (Ribble Valley Harriers), who was a member of the gold medal winning team three years ago.

Wakefield’s Julie Briscoe, Danielle Nimmock (City of Norwich) and Helen Davies (Ipswich Jaffa).

Ironically, in what was a stark difference to her usual distance racing, Dixon travelled to London at the weekend and triumphed in the Westminister Mile, the first time she has raced over the distance since 2000 when she recorded 5.30.4.

She was one of a record number of over 9,000 athletes, over all age groups, who competed in a series of races in the The Vitality Westminster Mile on Sunday, starting on The Mall and finishing in front of Buckingham Palace.

She was competing in the British Masters 40-44 age group event and just failed to beat the five minutes barrier, clocking 5.02 over the distance and winning by eight seconds from Charlene Jacobs-Conradie.

With little time to enjoy her success, she then quickly darted off to the start line of the Olympians event and duly won in 5.27.

Houghton Harrier Henry Johnson was also on the Mall and competing in the Under-17 event, where the England Under-17 1,500m champion finished third (4.18), in the same time as the runner up, Matthew Stonier, and one second behind the winner Henry McLuckie.

Sunderland Harriers’ newcomer Chris Jackson has shown that his consistent, hard training sessions at the Harriers base at the Silksworth track are paying off.

Competing in the Northallerton 10km, he finished fifth (35.46), improving greatly on his previous fastest of 39.13 from 2012. There were 838 finishers.

Matt Linsley (Gateshead) won the Jimmy Hedley Memorial 800m at the North East Grand Prix at Monkton (1.57.45). Morpeth’s James Douglas was second (1.58.38) and Houghton Harrier James Martin finished third (1.57.77).

There were other good performances by Houghton Harriers with Under-17 England Athletics 1,500m champion Will Bellamy winning a close graded 3,000m (8.55.13) from Morpeth’s Adam Pratt (8.55.37).

Under-17 Nicole Phillips achieved a grade four for her 800m (2.22.63) and Under-13 Carl Charlton won his 200m (30.08).

Sunderland Harrier Under-15 Dillon Revell gained a grade three for his 1,500m when finishing third in his event.

Ben Hardie won his Under-15 200m (27.71) and Under-15 Jak Jarvis was first in his graded 1,500m in a PB of 5.13.37.