Eland and winding road to Earlston success

Earlston Games Anne Paecock, winner of the Matthews 90 metres sprint for Special Olympic Athletes.
Earlston Games Anne Paecock, winner of the Matthews 90 metres sprint for Special Olympic Athletes.

Throughout the summer months, Richard Eland and his father Gordon make the long trip from their homes in Cumbria to the Borders.

The Elands don’t make these journeys to take in the scenery, but to run. Yet, they often return back over the border with no glory.

Earlston Games Innerleithen's Dean Whiteford wins the 1600 metres

Earlston Games Innerleithen's Dean Whiteford wins the 1600 metres

However, at Earlston Games on Saturday, it was time for the Elands to get a taste of victory as Richard gave a glorious show, winning the main event on the card, the 90m handicap.

Running from a mark of 16.5m, 30-year-old Eland made the final and went up against stablemate Craig Sowerby of Seaton (6.5m), Tommy Finkle (11m), James Park (8.5m) – both of Tweed Leader Jed Track – and Edinburgh’s Lawrie McCombie (12m) and Keiran Kivlin (2m).

And it was Eland’s last run that was to be his best as he stormed to victory in 9.38 seconds, with Kivlin and Finkle second and third respectively.

Speaking to The Southern, Eland said: “I am really delighted to have won a big race in the Borders.

Earlston Games. Hawick's Dylan Ali (left) winner of the 200 metres.

Earlston Games. Hawick's Dylan Ali (left) winner of the 200 metres.

“Since January I have been training six times a week and this has really paid off for me as I have lost over a stone in weight and I am feeling really fit.

“After winning my heat I thought I might be in with a chance of doing something and just went for it.”

Dean Whiteford of Innerleithen celebrated his 37th birthday on the Earlston Haugh track in great style with a win in the 1,600m.

Striding out well from the sound of starter Gerald Paxton’s gun, the birthday boy duly emerged a clear winner ahead of Selkirk pair John McLean and Alistair Laurie in 4 minutes, 19.04 seconds.

Earlston Games Chirnside's Rory Williamsbreaks the tape to win the 90 meters Junior (9-12years) Handicap

Earlston Games Chirnside's Rory Williamsbreaks the tape to win the 90 meters Junior (9-12years) Handicap

Whiteford told us: “I thought I might have got things wrong half way through the race by having gone too fast at the start and felt I might tire.

“However, I have been training hard and managed to keep going. I am really pleased to have won a race so early on in the season and hopefully there might be more to come.”

Hawick teenager Dylan Ali (15m) produced some top-notch running to take pride of place in the 200m. Victor of the 90m and 200m races at Blackford Games the previous week, Ali produced a scorching run from the back to hit the tape in 21.05.

Thirteen-year-old Phillippa Robertson (33m) also put victory Hawick’s way by doing the business in the youths’ 200m. Bidding for her second win of the term after having triumphed in the youths’ 90m at Blackford Games, Robertson took the honours in 20.23.

Earlston Games Cameron Burnett (Chirnside) wins the 800 metres.

Earlston Games Cameron Burnett (Chirnside) wins the 800 metres.

Berwickshire village Chirnside went two better than Hawick with four triumphs. Jamie Kinghorn was first victor for Berwickshire in the youths’ 800m and Cameron Burnett was next to shine in the senior 800m handicap. Both are part of Henry Gray’s school.

Burnett said: “Last year I won the youths’ 800m at Earlston, so I was determined to try and win the senior 800m today.”

Rory Williams then hoisted the Chirnside victory flag, not only once but twice. Also from Gray’s stable, 11-year-old Williams (8.5m) firstly made his mark by taking pride of place in the junior 90m and then the junior 200m.

Running from a back mark position of 25m, Berwick youngster Nathan Cox, who competes under the banner of Gala Harriers, gave a top class show to win the youths’ 1,600m.

Bryony Patterson of Leithenburn (16m) gave an excellent account of herself in taking the youths’ 90m, and there were also wins for Selkirk’s Geoff Keen in the veterans’ 90m and Greg Turnbull of TLJT in the invitation 60m race.

Earlston Games. Final of the 90 meters handicap.

Earlston Games. Final of the 90 meters handicap.

Earlston Games Bryony Patterson of Innerleithen wins the 90 metres Youths (13-16 years) Handicap

Earlston Games Bryony Patterson of Innerleithen wins the 90 metres Youths (13-16 years) Handicap