Selkirk sprint title stolen by young Holligan

Selkirk games. Edinburgh's Tom Hilligan takes the honours.
Selkirk games. Edinburgh's Tom Hilligan takes the honours.

Prior to Selkirk Games commencing, the name of Tom Holligan was an unknown one on the open athletic scene.

At the end of the Philiphaugh track meeting, however, it was a name that was known to one and all.

Selkirk games. Edinburgh's Tom Holligan takes the honours.

Selkirk games. Edinburgh's Tom Holligan takes the honours.

Twenty-year-old Holligan saw to this by shouting his name from the rooftops in winning the 110m handicap.

Running from a back mark spot of one metre, Holligan first exploded to a heat win in 12.17 seconds.

An established performer in top amateur circles, Holligan, who is studying in Aberdeen, then showed he had a real race to offer when soaring to victory in his cross-tie in an improved time of 11.92.

This victory earned him a final place, along with Darren Tomlinson of TLJT (12.5m), Leigh Marshall of Hawick (4m), Ryan Charters of Lasswade (8m), Jack Beattie of Rosyth (15.5m) and Edinburgh’s Kieran Reilly (6.5m).

Selkirk games. Molly Paterson with an kingsized lolly.

Selkirk games. Molly Paterson with an kingsized lolly.

Coached by Innerleithen’s Reverend Ed McKenna, who has a parish in Aberdeen as well as being an athletic coach, Holligan was to get even better, though.

For in the final, the strong-running Edinburgh sprinter gave a capital show, romping home in 11.80 seconds.

Reilly gained second place and Tomlinson third.

Speaking after his win, a delighted but somewhat bemused Holligan told The Southern: “It’s the first time I have won at a games meeting. Indeed, it’s the first time I have ran on a grass track and the first time I have ever given other runners a start in a race.

Selkirk games. Pipped at the post. Selkirk's Alastair Laurie who led for the whole race was pipped by East Kilbride's Keith Redpath.

Selkirk games. Pipped at the post. Selkirk's Alastair Laurie who led for the whole race was pipped by East Kilbride's Keith Redpath.

“Everything has just been completely new for me and I didn’t really know what to expect today.”

Holligan, who, a while back, appeared destined to have been part of the Scottish team in the Commonwealth Games, until circumstances and injuries put paid to this, said: “My coach Ed used to run at the games and he talked me into running at Selkirk.

“And I am glad he did as I have had a great day, especially with winning the sprint.

“I intend to turn out at other games in the Borders”.

Selkirk games. Eve Huxley (blue bib #3) takes the 200 metres final.

Selkirk games. Eve Huxley (blue bib #3) takes the 200 metres final.

Also tasting success in a senior sprint event was Eoin Lowther of Jed AC, who produced the goods to the full in taking the 90m handicap (confined to Borders Region).

Coached by Brian ‘Chico’ Woods, Lowther clocked up a winning time of 9.93 seconds in his heat, which was the quickest time of the opening runs.

In the final, Eoin edged out his brother Luke, also of Jed AC (15m) and Matthew Fleming of Kelso (13m).

Eoin said of his triumph with a big smile: “I was very pleased to win and even happier as I beat my brother Luke.”

Veteran runner Graeme Armstrong of Edinburgh (42m) took the honours in the 200m.

Following a fine win in his heat, former Stirling Albion and Berwick Rangers footballer Armstrong finished ahead of Euan Pettigrew of Jed AC (21m) and Drew Bryson of Hawick (50m) in the final.

Selkirk games. Graeme Armstrong takes the 200m final win.

Selkirk games. Graeme Armstrong takes the 200m final win.

From the Adie Gray school, Kelso teenager Jason McIntosh (39m) who had won the Hawick Border Games 400m handicap six days previously, excelled in winning the 400m handicap in fine style.

Joint back marker Ciaran Turton of Edinburgh (65m) ran a fine race to take the 800m handicap.

In the 1,600m, Selkirk’s own Alistair Laurie (365m) came within strides of notching up a victory on his hometown track.

Cheered on by the crowd, Laurie headed the field coming down the home straight.

On the tape, however, Laurie was overtaken by Keith Redpath of East Kilbride (395m) to finish in the closest of seconds.

The youths’ events on the Selkirk card produced some enthralling and exciting racing to say the least.

Eleven-year-old Danielle Lockie of TLJT (23m) pulled out the stops to gain the honours in the youths’ B 90m handicap.

After having showed up well in winning her heat, Lockie buzzed to an excellent win in the final in 10.10 seconds.

Victory in the youths’ A 90mhandicap went the way of Annan’s Cameron McNaughton (13m), who recorded a very fast winning time in the final.

Innerleithen’s Eve Huxley (30m), a stylish young runner, held off a strong challenge from Darcy Graham of Hawick (11m) to win a thrilling youths’ A 200m handicap final.

The youths’ B final was also a ding-dong affair.

Young TLJT flyer Leah Ainslie (50m), gaining the bragging rights in edging out Hawick’s Tom Fowler (39m) and Sarah Davenport of TLJT (50m) in a close finish.

Olivia Rodden of Jed AC (285m) gave an excellent account of herself in winning the youths’ 800m handicap.

Second over the distance at Hawick Border Games when she was pipped on the post, 11-year-old Rodden dug in deep from the gun and duly raced to victory.