Matt goes the distance at Pitreavie

pitreavie gift. youths 800m Winner - Matt Dougall
pitreavie gift. youths 800m Winner - Matt Dougall

A YOUNG Borders athlete returned from the prestigious Pitreavie Gift meeting on Sunday with a winner’s sash.

Matt Dougall won the Youths’ Under-16 800m in a time of one minute 52 seconds from his mark of 145m.

Although he is only 12 years old, Matt ran from the fourth back mark and was the youngest of the backmarkers. He ran through the field of 17 and took the lead with 120m to go, maintaining a fast pace down the home straight to win by about 30m. The 15-year-old backmarker Dominic O’Hare, who won the New Year half-mile event, only made 10-15m on the Galashiels runner.

Windchill took the track temperature to below zero and this affected a lot of runners. Training at windswept Tweedbank all winter in sub-zero conditions, however, meant that Matt was at home in the conditions.

He received £100 prize money and a silk sash from Australia. This is his second outing since moving up to 800m at the end of last summer’s track season. A natural middle-distance runner, he ran his first race at the distance three weeks ago at the Emirates Stadium in Glasgow at the National Under-14 Indoor Championship. Running against experienced opposition, he qualified and easily won the B final, stylishly running away from the field 300m from home.

Previous wins have been at Peebles 90m, Whittingam 400m, Meadowmill 200m, and 200m wins for the newly-formed Borders team in the JSB Forth Valley League.

Matt thanked the Rowan Boland Trust for support in his running.

There has been no shortage of assistance with speedwork from brother Josh (11) either.

A great family double between the New Year Sprint and now the Pitreavie Gift means a good summer awaits the Dougall household.

Greg Louden from Dalkeith took the spoils in Sunday’s main senior sprint event.

The 20-year-old runner from Dalkeith in Midlothian ran from a mark of 6m and with just metres to go caught last year’s winner Darrin Scott (8.5m), from the Tweed Leader Jed Track club, to take the £1,000 first prize in a time of 10.43 seconds.

Alan Hamilton from Edinburgh (1.5m) was third.

Full results on page 92.