ALYSON Dixon has come up with a novel way of warming up for the Bupa Great North 10k on Sunday – running to the start line in Gateshead from her home in Silksworth.
This weekend’s race, which finishes on the track inside Gateshead International Stadium, will provide Dixon with her final competitive outing before she lines up in an England vest on the start line of the Commonwealth Games marathon at the end of the month.
The popular six-and-a-quarter mile contest should help hone her finishing kick ahead of Glasgow, but the Wearsider has opted to use it as part of a key 20-mile preparation run.
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“I’ll be running 14 miles from my home in Silksworth and then doing the race,” said Dixon, who is a member of Sunderland Strollers. “I did a similar thing two weeks before I ran my marathon personal best in Brighton in April last year.
“I ran through to North Shields and then did a 10km race there. I found that was really helpful, just getting used to running at a good pace on what in the end were tired legs after doing a 14-mile warm up.
“I wanted to do a similar thing ahead of the Commonwealth marathon and the Bupa Great North 10k fitted in perfectly. It’s a great race to do. I did it last year. It’s great that I can go along and support a local race.”
Dixon will form part of a strong women’s field that also includes Gemma Steel, the runner-up in May’s Bupa Great Manchester Run, and Susan Partridge, who will be competing in the Commonwealth Games marathon for Scotland.
“At the stage I’m at in my marathon training, I wouldn’t expect to be up there challenging Gemma,” said Dixon. “I’d have to be in absolute top 10k form to get anywhere near her anyway and right now, two weeks out from the marathon, that’s not going to be a realistic target for me.
“But Susan is running and she’s going to be a big rival in Glasgow, so it would be nice to try and get as close to her as possible. I’m not sure if I’ll be in front of her or not, because even though we’re training for the same race we’ll have been doing different things.”
Sunday’s men’s race features Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, as well as Derek Hawkins, another athlete preparing to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.
Kiprotich, the reigning world and Olympic champion, is using the Bupa Great North 10k as a stepping stone to September’s Bupa Great North Run.