John Paxton is a year away from being 50, so you would think that his days of winning a major event on a big sporting occasion were gone.
Well think again, for at Hawick Border Games on Sunday, Paxton put the age barrier behind him when showing that the rolling of the years means absolutely nothing, by winning the 110m handicap on the Volunteer Park track.
For Hawick man Paxton, who is a nurse at the Kelso Community Hospital, a victorious display was just what the doctor ordered.
Competing from a mark of 17m, Paxton’s first show of delivering the right medicine came in his heat when he motored to a fine win in 12.37 seconds.
From the Billy Edgar stable, Paxton then gave himself a shot in the arm, clocking up a winning time of 12.10 seconds in his cross-tie.
Paxton found he was in the final along with TLJT pair Craig Grieve (4.5m) and Greg Turnbull (2m), fellow Hawick athlete Dylan Ali (3m), Billy Martin of Markinch (9m) and Kieran Reilly of Edinburgh (6.5m).
With hundredths of seconds separating the finalists in cross-tie times, the last bid for the £1,000 first prize looked like being a red-hot affair.
And a real sizzler it turned out to be.
Indeed, it took the photo finish system to help the judges come to their decision of selecting a winner.
Following a long delay, it was Paxton who got the nod of approval.
Martin was placed second and Grieve third.
Following his successful final outing, Paxton told The Southern: “You get your ups and downs on the games circuit and I have had my share of both over the years. I won the Morebattle sprint in 1989 and 1990 and the Peebles sprint in 2006, and I got a great thrill out of these wins. Today, however, I have won a sprint on my hometown track and you can’t get better than that”.
In the 400m handicap, 16-year-old Jason McIntosh (43m) put victory Kelso’s way through a spot-on run.
Coached by Adie Gray, McIntosh ran a splendid race from start to finish to gain the honours ahead of Euan Pettigrew of Jed AC (25m) and Kyle Potts of TLJT (43m).
McIntosh said: “I don’t run in many 400 m races, but I am glad I ran in this one.
“It was hard going, though. This was my third win in two days as I won the 800m and 1600 m handicaps at Helensburgh Games on Saturday, so it’s been a great weekend for me”.
A real star in the making was seen in the under-17 100m championship.
And it was Berwick youngster Cameron Tindle who did the shining.
Tindle, who had celebrated his 16th birthday just a few days beforehand, has been burning up the tracks on the amateur scene, including a recent 200m win in 21.72 seconds.
And, hey presto, he did it all again with a magical run on a heavy Hawick track when scorching through the tape ahead of Ryan Houten of Cardrona and Craig Smith of Jedburgh.
Coached by Henry Gray, Tindle said: “I was very pleased to win the championship. Running at the games is completely different from the running I do as an amateur as most of the running at the games is in handicap races, but I enjoy both.”
In the 1,600m handicap, in which the back markers just could not get in touch with the front runners, Keith Redpath of East Kilbride (400m) and Alistair Laurie of Selkirk (350m) gained the first two places. Craig Rendle of Innerleithen (150m) was third.
Lady runner Sarah Ross of Pitreavie (50m), the girlfriend of beaten sprint finalist Craig Grieve, took pride of place in the 200m handicap.
Following an impressive heat win, Ross showed the field a clean pair of heels in the final when hitting the finishing line in pole position.
Michael Burns (35m) also notched up a win for Pitreavie when doing the business in the 800m handicap, while Ryan Charters of Lasswade won the invitation sprint.
The youth races on a bumper Hawick card brought about some exciting racing, as well as unearthing a bundle of up-and-coming young talent.
In the youth’s 800m handicap, Hawick’s Fraser Clyne of Teviotdale Harriers (185m) produced a grandstand finish down the home straight to edge out Olivia Rodden of Jed AC (285m) on the tape in a thrilling race.
Buzz bomb Amy Campbell (19m) also of Hawick chalked up her fourth win of the season when giving a great account of herself to take the youths’ B 90m handicap race.
Emily Dagg of TLJT (12m) hit the high spots as well, coming out on top in the youths’ A 90m handicap event through some grand running.
Eleven-year-old Tom Fowler of Hawick (39m) excelled when winning the youths’ B 200m handicap.
Scott Armstrong of Durham (25m) made the trip over the Border well worthwhile in winning the youths’ 200m A race.
And back marker Niall Smith of Eastcraigs (24m) triumphed in the youths’ 400m handicap.