Olympian’s heartwarming message after being defeated by local teen’s stunning performance

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An inspiring story emerged at the North East Road Relay Championship

An Olympic runner from Sunderland has issued a message of praise and encouragement for a local teenage athlete after the youngster's heroic performance at a local event.

Alyson Dixon, who is from Sunderland and represented Great Britain in the women's marathon at the 2016 summer Olympics, took part in the North East Road Relay Championship last weekend.

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Dixon ran the first leg for the Sunderland Strollers Veteran Women's team on Saturday, February 19.

At the Relay Championship, the first leg runner for the Veteran Women's teams is set off at the same time as runners in the Senior Women's category.

Dixon saw a surprise challenger running next to her in 16-year-old Elswick Harriers starlet Imogen Bungay.

The two raced neck-in-neck for the 2.2-mile lap, with Bungay coming home in 12:22, three seconds quicker than Dixon.

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The Olympian, who has also competed at the Commonwealth Games and won the 50km World Championship, took being pipped at the post in her stride and issued a fantastic message of congratulations to young Bungay.

Olympian Aly Dixon and Elswick Harier’s Imogen Bungay (Image: Stuart Whitman)Olympian Aly Dixon and Elswick Harier’s Imogen Bungay (Image: Stuart Whitman)
Olympian Aly Dixon and Elswick Harier’s Imogen Bungay (Image: Stuart Whitman) | Stuart Whitman

Writing on Facebook, Dixon said: "Hats off to this young lass - Imogen Bungay.

"She pushed me to my limits yesterday at the road relays.

"It's a long time since I've ran that hard and that fast and it's all down to her.

"For a 16-year-old against a much more experienced competitor, she took it all in her stride and showed no fear.

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"I tried everything I could to shake her off but she kept fighting and coming back and then finally got me in the sprint.

The Olympian issued a fantastic message to the young runner (Image: Stuart Whitman)The Olympian issued a fantastic message to the young runner (Image: Stuart Whitman)
The Olympian issued a fantastic message to the young runner (Image: Stuart Whitman) | Stuart Whitman

"Credit to her, it was a cracking run and whilst I really wanted to beat her it is great to see the young talent coming through and not scared to fight. "I'm actually really pleased that she beat me when it's quite easy to be overawed.

"I hope she shouts about this for a long time - there are not many 16 years olds can brag about beating an Olympian and reigning World Champion!!

"Keep doing what you are doing Imogen, must importantly, keep ENJOYING what you are doing."

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In the Senior Women and Senior Men categories, the North East Road Relay Championships were won by Morpeth Harriers.

Elswick Harriers triumphed in the Veteran Women's and Elvet Harriers won the Veteran Men's 40+.

The Veteran Men's 50+ was also won by Morpeth Harriers.

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