Borders runners start and finish in fine form
Athletes from the Borders helped enrich the New Year meetings once more with their traditional variety of memorable performances.
On New Year’s Day, at Musselburgh Racecourse, the landmark 150th New Year Sprint was doubly special for victor Greg Kelly, of East Kilbride AC, as he became just the sixth member of the exclusive club of dual winners .
Greg, who won in 2017, emulated Willie McFarlane of Glasgow, the last sprinter to accomplish this feat over 80 years ago.
Douglas Young of Kelso (9.25 metres) was second but he was down almost a metre at the finish, in 11.59 seconds.
James Parker of Hawick also qualified for the final after the cross-ties.
Among the local runners taking part were Colin Bruce and Craig Bruce (both Selkirk), plus Natasha Turnbull, Scott Tindle, Terry Marshall, Nina Cessford, Samantha Turnbull, Christie Rout, Cameron Clamp, Cameorn Caldwell and Cameron Tindle (all TLJT).
Also participatingwere Struan Wells and Ellie O’Hara (both Peebles); Daniel Paxton, Leigh Marshall, Kyle Potts, Robbie Shirra-Gibb, Corey Wilson, Ross Borthwick (all Hawick); Scott Elliot and Brodie Cowan (both Jed AC); Josh Abbott, John Fleming, David McKay (all Kelso) and James Park (Galashiels).
Meanwhile, Cameron Tindle returned to the winner’s enclosure on the opening day of the meeting at Meadowmill, in Prestonpans, on December 30.
The former Scottish champion from Berwickshire won the centenary past winners’ race from scratch.
Tindle looked back to his best as he blasted through the field in the final.
Tom Finkle, from Jedburgh, was third, with Dan Paxton, of Hawick, squeezing out the oldest-ever winner of the race, 83-year-old Tony Bowman from Leeds, to claim fourth.
There was further Borders success in the Ladies Race, with Innerleithen’s Rianna Sterricks impressively winning the final by a clear metre.
The teenager, running from 19.5 metres, led home a Borders top five.
TLJT’s Nina Cessford in second, former winner Stacey Downie of West Linton third, Brodie Cowan of Jedburgh fourth and Natasha Turnbull from Peebles in fifth.
Gordon Armstrong, of Kelso, was third in the final of the open 200 metres.
Jedburgh’s Tom Finkle was third in the veteran’s handicap final, while Kelso’s Matthew Flemming finished strongly to claim sixth in the 800 metres.
The youth contingent also produced plenty of impressive performances.
Josh Landers from Walkerburn led home the Borders 90 metres finalists in fifth.
In the final of the Under 13s 200 metres, Landers finished second behind Emma Clark, while Leithenburn’s Gracie Linton claimed third.
Making a valiant bid in the Under 16s 200 metres were fourth-placed Finn Douglas, of TLJT, and Ben Lyall of Kelso in fifth. There were similar placings in the youths’ 800 metres for Leithenburn pair Aaron Glendinning and Gracie Linton.
Borders entrants on day one also included Tess Renwick, Tommy Beck, Jack Dagg, Samantha Dagg, Jason White, Evie Renwick, Brogan Beattie, Grace McWhinnie (all TLTJ), Euan Amos (Jed Track), Shelee Fojcik, Zoe Blair (both Jed AC); Ben Lyall (Kelso), Nairne Wells (Peebles), Tiegan Gibb, Amy Landers, Leah Clarke, Emma Currie, Ella Marshall, Eve Rathie, Grace Turnbull, Caitlin Clyde, Aaron Glendinning, Rory McDonald, Ruby McLean, Gracie Linton, Robyn Keddie and Mia Pryde (all Leithenburn).