The prestigious Jedburgh Border Games were blessed with their hottest day for many a year on Saturday.
And, on the Riverside Park track itself, Hawick teenager James Parker sent the temperatures rising to their highest point of the day when burning up the track with a scorching display to gain the honours in the £3,000 Jed-Forest Sprint final.
From the Billy Edgar stable, 18-year-old Parker (5m) showed up well in his opening run. Rugby ace Parker, who recently joined the Hawick Greens after two years with Gala Wanderers, then earned himself a place in the final following a cross-tie triumph.
Going down on their marks with Parker in the last showdown were fellow Hawick athletes Leigh Marshall (3m), Jack Wilson (13.5m), David Hush (22m), plus TLJT’s James Park (10.5m), Craig Gillan (4.5m) and Tommy Finkle (12m). It was to be Parker’s final, however, for the youngster stormed home to a decisive win (11.72 ).
Wilson emerged second, with Marshall and Gillan dead- heating for third.
A thrilled Parker told The Southern: “I have been having problems with a hamstring injury and on Thursday night it was doubtful that I would be running in the sprint. Even today I have had concerns as I was getting twinges. But I got no sympathy from my coach Billy Edgar, who told me if I felt that bad I should get my running gear off and go back home to Hawick. So that was the end of that and everything went just great. I am really thrilled to have won the Jed Sprint as it’s the biggest and best.”
In an event that had conjured up a lot of interest, top Borders amateur runner Guy Learmonth (scr.) was unable to beat the British 800m professional record. The 21-year-old just could not get in touch of the front runners in the sweltering heat and the race was won by Hawick’s Rory Anderson (80m).
Representing TLJT, Greg Turnbull produced some powerhouse sprinting to take the Border Athletics 100m championship.
The 400m handicap was a thriller. Coming down the home straight it was anybody’s race, but Kyle Potts of TLJT (40m) pulled out the stops with a surging finish to edge out the opposition in a blanket finish.
Trained by Jack Knox, the evergreen Alistair Laurie of Selkirk (360m) chalked up his third triumph of the season when coming out on top in the 1500m handicap.
A keenly-contested 200m was won by Andy Cullen of Corstorphine, while Midlothian runner Kevin Turner won the vets’ sprint.
The games produced a whole spate of young victors from the burgh town itself.
Jack Cowan, 13, recorded an excellent hat-trick on his home town track when lifting the youth’s 90m handicap (confined), as well as the youth football and rugby players’ sprint, and the youths’ 90m handicap.
Jedburgh’s own Jack Amos emerged a popular victor of the youths’ 1500m handicap. Roared on by the home support, lion-hearted Amos, who had earlier secured the 800m youths’ title, had to go all out to get the better of Kobe Stevens (Moorfoot) and Harry Fuller (Gala Harriers).
Another young home runner to excel was Cameron Clamp (10m) who produced the goods to the full for the third time this season when winning the junior 200m handicap.
Yet another to shine for Jedburgh at the highest degree was Zoey Johnstone (14m) who took pride of place in the junior 90m handicap.
Annan’s Cameron McNaughton (29m) won the youths’ 200m handicap.