COMMONWEATH Games marathon hopeful Alyson Dixon is training at altitude in Kenya with double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah.

Farah, who won over 5,000m and 10,000m at London 2112, is preparing for his marathon debut - also in London - in April and arrived last weekend for a four-week stay at the training camp, 2,400m above sea level at Iten in the Rift Valley, 200 miles from Nairobi.

The centre, which boasts a full medical and training staff, is run by former world half marathon record holder Lornah Kiplagat, and has been used by Farah over the last six years for his winter training programme.

Loading article content

Sunderland Stroller Dixon flew to Kenya this week for a month's training paid for by UK Athletics and, told that Farah was already in Iten, she tweeted: "Can't wait to join him."

While Farah - second in last year's Great North Run - is preparing to step up to the 26.2-mile distance on April 13, 35-year-old Dixon will only run in London if she finds that her rivals for one of the three England Commonwealth Games marathon spots in Glasgow have beaten her 2 hours 31 mins 8 secs time she recorded finishing second in last year's Brighton Marathon - well inside the 2 hours 35 mins qualifying time.

Already several English hopefuls have indicated their intention to run in London, including European Cross Country silver-medallist Gemma Steel, who has 12 half marathon under her belt, with a best time of 70 mins 19 secs - exactly a minute quicker than Dixon's best time.

The Commonwealth Games selectors have said that the first Englishwoman home in London will be automatically selected for Glasgow, providing she has the qualifying mark.

n The North of England Cross Country Championships will be held today at the Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Lancashire, with the ten-race programme starting at 11am and the senior men's event scheduled for 3.05pm. Last year Durham City Harrier Dan Garbutt - now the reigning North-East champion - was third, with Morpeth the region's leading club in third place behind Leeds City and Stockport.

Entries for the Blaydon Race - always fully subscribed - open to club runners at 6am on February 3 and unaffiliated athletes 24 hours later at