Eyebrows were raised big time at the end of the fourth heat in the 90m handicap at Langholm Games on Friday afternoon.
Running from a mark of 22.5m, Martha Douglas of Jed AC had zoomed to an emphatic win in a time of 9.64 seconds and there was an immediate feeling of expectancy in the air.
Could Douglas hit the same exhilarating running again?
Could a female sprinter go all the way in the main event at the Castleholm and lift the first prize of £1,000?
These were the questions asked ... and 18-year-old Douglas came up with the answer – a most emphatic yes.
Coached by Brian ‘Chico’ Woods, Douglas, whose home is on a farm just outside Bonchester, surged through the tape in her semi-final in 9.67 seconds. With Hawick’s David Hush (19m) recording a similar winning time in the other semi-final, the final, which also included Drew Bryson of Hawick (20.5m), Amy Clancy of Peebles (16m), Luke Lowther Jed AC (16m) and Craig Bruce of Selkirk (12.5m) looked like being a red-hot affair and it was.
In a dramatic ending, Douglas and Bruce hit the finishing line almost together. It was anybody’s race but the camera pointed out that Douglas had gained the win on the last stride. Bruce was placed second and Hush third. The winning time was 9.73 seconds.Douglas told The Southern: “I have never won anything at the games since I started running as a senior. All I was hoping to do today was perhaps win my heat.
“I am really surprised how well I managed to run. It was really close in the final, though, and I hadn’t a clue if I had won or not.
“In September I am going to Aberdeen to become a student and to help save for it, I clipped sheep on my dad’s farm to get extra money and now I have won £1,000, which is just brilliant. This will make me smile all weekend.”
Douglas’s glittering win was only part of a golden day for the Chico Woods school, though, as Aidan Bambrick, Brodie Cowan and Cameron Grieve also pulled off excellent wins.
Eleven-year-old Bambrick (13.5m) was first to do the business when pulling out the stops to take the junior 90m handicap. Cowan (26m) gave an excellent account of herself to take the honours in the junior 200m handicap. And, in the sunshine, Grieve nailed his colours to the mast in the 200m handicap.
Kelso distance runner, Wayne McIntosh (195m) chalked up his first win of the season on the Border Games circuit, his fourth overall of the season, when winning the 1,600m handicap.
With three wins under his belt from meetings in the Fife and Highland region, McIntosh took the lead from Hawick’s Keith Murray (300m) as the bell sounded for the last lap. A member of the Adie Gray stable, McIntosh then strode on to win well.
The youth’s 1,600m also brought about a win for the McIntosh family. This time around it was Wayne’s son, Jason who emerged victorious.
A talented young runner who has a lot to offer, Jason won from his mark of 85m.
He told us: “I am very pleased to have won on the same day as my dad.”
Greg Turnbull of TLJT gave a classy show to win the 90m championship in 9.96 seconds.
The 400m handicap turned out to be a real humdinger and, after a long view by the judges, the verdict went the way of Pitreavie’s Ewan Dyer (14m).
In the youths’ 800m, Craig Angus of Leithenburn (160m) showed the field a clean pair of heels when winning in fine style, while Hawick schoolgirl Phillipa Robertson (14.5m) blitzed to victory in the final of the youths’ 90m.