Alyson Dixon and Andrew Lemoncello are ready to attack the record books when they line up for the BM10k on Sunday 12 April.
Dixon comes to Brighton in the shape of her life after a personal best for 10km when she won the Trafford event earlier this month.
After what she categorised as a “dreadful performance” in the Edinburgh cross country caused by an undiagnosed virus, the 36 year old Sunderland Stroller headed for Kenya to lick her wounds in February.
One month later she flew back to England and felt in such good shape she decided to test the water in a 10k. The result? A personal best 32:30, slicing five seconds off her winning time from Brighton 2014 and taking her to the top of the UK rankings for the year.
That sets Dixon up nicely for the BM10k when she will come up against some of the fastest road runners in the UK including Helen Clitheroe, Stephanie Twell and Louise Damen.
10k is one of Dixon’s favourite distances, “In a 10k you can just go for it and even if you do blow up you aren’t going to lose that much.”
She holds an advantage over her rivals of knowing the course which she describes as “Fast! The gentle downhill of the first mile sets up the course nicely for fast times.
“Once you’ve got into your stride it’s just a case of keeping the rhythm up and holding a little something back for the last three kilometres along the seafront.
“Along the final stretch the marathon crowds are starting to gather so you do get some great encouragement.”
Dixon is in the unusual position of coaching herself. Until three years ago she was coached by a former world 10,000m champion, but now she feels she knows herself well enough to go it alone even though there can still be problems.
“My biggest weakness is my tendency to try and do too much. In the past I have on occasions done a very good job of running myself into the ground or making silly decisions to do races which really aren’t suited for me.”
Which is why she will still reserves the right to canvas a second opinion from others, though she has no intention of going back to having a traditional coach/athlete relationship.
“They’ll not take over my coaching,” she insists, “as I don’t think I could now go back to someone setting all my training for me, but she’s there for me to talk to, to bounce ideas off, to chat about what my plans are, look over my suggested training programme and tell me, if necessary, to cut back.”
While Dixon is a Brighton veteran (three appearances including the 10k), Lemoncello has never been to the south coast city, but he is hardly a stay at home. Born in Tokyo of an American father and Scottish mother and living in Flagstaff Arizona he is one of the UK’s most cosmopolitan athletes.
For now he has just the 10km in his sights, but he already has one eye on the marathon: “I’ve never been to Brighton. I’ve been wanting to run the Brighton marathon for a few years now so this is a good opportunity to see the course and get a feel for the area for when I run it in the future.”
Like Dixon he enjoys the shorter distance: “I find 10ks really fun, both on the track and road. It feels almost short to me with all the marathon training I’ve done in the past so it feels good to run hard and fast.”
Lemoncello took time out after the Commonwealth Games to recover but has been steadily building back into racing shape for when he toes the line in the BM10k.
“My body is feeling good and ready to push hard on race day. I’m going to start doing some 10km specific work over this last month so I can be fast for race day.”
The BM10k starts at 08.30am on April 12 at Preston Park.
LEADING ENTRIES (with 10k road PBs)
Andy Lemoncello (28:47)
Mark Draper (29:09)
Jonathan Taylor (29:13)
Callum Hawkins (29:21)
Ben Tickner (29:23)
Lee Merrien (29:26)
John Beattie (29:42)
Jon Pepper (29:44)
Adam Hickey (29:53)
Steve Mitchell (29:55)
Helen Clitheroe (31:45)
Steph Twell (32:28)
Aly Dixon (32:30)
Louise Damen (32:49)
Rachel Felton (33:29)
Emma Clayton (33:49)
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