It Was billed as the Borders Athletics Classic Meeting – and there was some classic running at Tweedbank Stadium on Sunday, writes John Slorance.
The main event on a bumper card was the 150m Classic invitation handicap, which was made up of two heats and a final.
And on a sun-kissed afternoon it was Kelso’s John Fleming who shone the most.
A geography teacher at Hawick High School, Fleming showed he was on the right route in his opening run, blitzing to victory in 15.12 seconds from his 16m mark.
Lesson number one had been clearly given and lesson number two followed in the final. Lining up against Tweed Leader Jed Track pair Dylan Ali and David Rae, who were both off 15m, plus Geoff Keen of Selkirk (20m), Hawick’s Ryan Trimby (16m) and Edinburgh’s Graeme Armstrong (25m), Fleming came out top of the class to gain the honours in 15.02 seconds. Ali and Rae emerged second and third.
Fleming, who is coached by Adie Gray, told TheSouthern: “I was a bit gutted not to win the Morebattle Games sprint recently, but this has made up for it.
“The last sprint I won in the Borders was at Selkirk Games in 2007, so I have had a while to wait to get another one.
“I am really pleased to have won, not just for myself, but for my coach Adie Gray as well.
“Adie has helped me a lot over the years and I have a lot to thank him for.”
Andrew Thomson of Jed AC (110m) produced the goods to gain the honours in the 1,200m classic handicap. The athlete from Brian ‘Chico’ Woods’ school had to go all the way to get the better of Langholm’s Iain Little (65m).
Thomson said: “I didn’t quite know what pace to run at because the 1,200m is an unusual distance.
“When Iain Little ran past me, I had to go after him and really push along.
“It was a really tough race, but when you win, it’s all worthwhile.”
Ten-year-old Craig Angus of Leithenburn (220m) gave a lion-hearted show to take the 1,200m youths’ handicap.
John Motion said of his young runner’s triumph: “Craig has had a great season and had a few wins, but that was his best performance today.
“He is a laddie who never knows when he is beaten. He just never gives in and he showed that this afternoon.”
Victory in the juniors’ 150m went the way of Chirnside’s Rory Williams (9m).
Trained by Henry Gray, the 10-year-old came in a place behind Ronan McKean of Hawick (5.5m) in his heat, but in the final he bounced back with a vengeance to win from Barrie McLean of Hawick (7m) and Phillipa Robertson of TLJT.
Daniel Elliot of Hawick (12.5m) turned on the style to take the honours in the youths’ 150m handicap, to follow his earlier success in the youths’ 90m.
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Niamh Shaw of Moorfoot (165m) emerged a clear winner of the youths’ 800m.
David Lauder of Hawick notched up a double triumph by winning the 90m and 200m handicaps. From the Edinburgh-based Charlie Affleck school, 38-year-old Lauder first tasted victory in the sprint.
A winner of the New Year 110m handicap 10 years back, Lauder (12m) edged out lady runner Kirsty McNab of TLJT (18.5m) in a thrilling final with his winning time of 9.32 seconds – the fastest of the event.
And running from 25m, having been pulled back two metres for his previous victory, Lauder triumphed in the 200m final in 20.75 seconds.
Colin Welsh of Kelso (20m) was a comfortable winner of the 800m and Dunfermline’s Callum McGaw (170m) claimed the 1,600m with ease.
Hawick youngster Finnan Gordon-Wooley gave a great performance to win the junior 200m, while Rachel Wicks of the Leithenburn club took home the junior 90m title.