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Rio stars racing agiaing England colours; DIXON AND SAMUELS TAKE PART IN LEEDS DASH Marathon effort after competing week before.

Byline: Athletics news with BILL MCGUIRK

BOTH the region's Rio Olympic marathon representatives join forces once again when they line up in an England vest for the hugely popular Leeds Abbey Dash.

Sunderland Strollers' Alyson Dixon and former Wallsend athlete Sonia Samuels, who finished in 28th and 30th places respectively in Brazil, make up half of the England team for the 10k race in Yorkshire where they will come up against Scotland and Wales quartets as well as area representative teams.

Since the duo returned from Rio, Dixon especially, has been quick to get back into racing mode and already has four competitive events under her belt since her marathon exploits.

Her first race on home soil after returning was the Great North Run which was just four weeks after her marathon effort in Brazil and it came as no surprise that she could only finish in 12th place . Two weeks later she lined up in another half-marathon, this time, on a tough course, and finished runnerup in the Disneyland Paris race. After another two week break the Wearsider led the field home in the Kielder 10k and followed that up by switching terrains to record the fastest time in the Druridge Bay harrier league fixture.

Now the 38-year-old focuses on next weekend's Leeds event, noted to be one of the fastest 10k courses in the UK which regularly attracts a highly-competitive field.

While Dixon has been ticking over BIRTLEY'S Tracy Millmore stepped into the breach at the 11th hour when her club put out an urgent call after two athletes became unavailable for the Northern Athletics Cross-Country Relay Championships in Sheffield.

The 34-year-old mother had competed in the Manchester Half-Marathon the previous weekend and the last thing on her mind was an outing over a fast two-miles six days later.

Millmore, however, just as she has done on numerous occasions, answered the plea and, after linking up with two teenagers, it proved a good decision for the team were rewarded with a set of bronze medals.

In Manchester, which was with training and racing since Rio Samuels, meanwhile, has only been on the start line once where she finished in fourth place in the Great Birmingham Half-Marathon 10 days ago.

Both athletes will now line up together in Leeds just as they did in Rio only this time they will don an England vest rather than a GB one.

As well as Dixon and Samuels, the region also has two athletes on the start line representing the North of England.

Morpeth's Emma Holt, recent winner of the Gibside Fruitbowl race, is joined by Birtley's Tracy Millmore's fourth half-marathon of the year, she finished in eighth place.

And while 79min 44sec wasn't her quickest of the year, she decided to recharge the batteries before lining up in any more races.

That all changed though when she was asked to fill the void when two athletes who would have been in the team ahead of her for the Sheffield fixture where unavailable.

"After racing a half-marathon the last thing on my mind was to turn out over two miles just a few days later,'' said a smiling Millmore after receiving her bronze medal.

"My next race was going to be the Leeds Abbey Dash in November so I had planned to take it easy after Manchester before building up my who won a bronze medal in last weekend's Northern Athletics Cross-Country Relay Championships.

As well as the North East being to the fore as far as the women's race is concerned a number of male athletes will also be in representative action.

Durham City's Dan Garbutt and former Sunderland brothers, Jack and Patrick Martin are included in the North of England team while Phil Wylie, a member of the all-conquering North East Counties crosscountry team, lines up for the Midlands.

training once again.

"However, with two girls missing the selectors were in a quandary just a couple of days before the race so they asked me if I would mind running even though they knew I would still have the half-marathon in my legs.

"I wasn't too sure at first but after learning that Kate (Waugh) and Sophie (Burnett), who are extremely good young athletes, were in the team I thought to myself I shouldn't let those two down so eventually said OK.

"It wasn't surprising though that I had the slowest time of the three of us but I'm pleased I decided to go and to finish in third place with a tired athlete in the team made it all worthwhile.'' Patrick Martin, 31, won the Farndon 10k last week while younger brother Jack, 28, came out on top in the Birchwood 10k two weeks ago.

|ENDURANCE athletes are spoilt for choice this weekend with two marathons taking place in the region.

The eighth running of the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon and the resurrected Morpeth to Newcastle event both take place on Sunday.

As well as a marathon both events also include a half-marathon in their programme.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 26, 2016
Words:837
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