Dreams are often chased, but dreams take a lot of catching and Jedburgh athlete Craig Gillan caught his on Saturday at his hometown track.
Indeed, Gillan grasped his dream with both hands and what’s more he will never let it go as it is there forever.
For at Jedburgh Border Games, 20-year-old Gillan made a dream come true in winning the Jed-Forest 110m sprint handicap – an event he has dreamed of winning since arriving on the open athletic scene as a raw youngster nine years ago.
Representing the TLJT club, Gillan began his glory day when romping home to victory in his heat in 11.58 seconds from a mark of 7m.
Currently studying mechanical engineering at Napier University, the Jed flying machine then booked a place in the final through a cross-tie triumph.
The last showdown, which also included Hawick’s Leigh Marshall (5m) and Jack Wilson (12m), plus David McKay of Kelso (14.5m) and Edinburghduo Tom Holligan (scratch) and Kieran Reilly (6.5m) had all the makings of being a real humdinger.
And so it proved – and a little more besides.
After the silence that had fallen over Riverside Park had been broken by the sound of the starter Gerald Paxton’s gun, the six finalists took off in quest of the £3,000 first prize.
The outcome was a blanket finish, with Gillan and Marshall the main two involved. It was Gillan who was to get the judges’ vote after the camera had been consulted.
An extremely fast winning time of 11.43 seconds was recorded. Marshall was placed second, while Reilly got the third spot.
Reflecting on his superb win, Gillan told The Southern: “It is the first time I have won a sprint in the Borders and I am really delighted as I have been trying hard to win one for a while.
“Every sprinter wants to win the Jed sprint and I can’t believe I have managed to do it.
“The fact that I come from Jedburgh and have won on my home track makes it even more special and it means a lot to me to have won here.
“I got great support from the crowd, especially those on the balcony next to the stand and it was great to hear them.”
Adding Gillan said: “I have a lot to thank my coach Jack Steede for as he has coached me since I was 11 years old and I have learned a lot from him and Charlie Affleck, who trains me in Edinburgh – I owe both of them a lot.”
Top amateur runner Tom Holligan of Edinburgh also tasted sprint success, being crowned the Border Athletics 100m Champion.
Recent winner of the Selkirk Games 110m handicap, 20-year-old Holligan lifted the title, with the other placings going the way of Donald Tod and Chris Baillie of Birchfield Harriers.
Kyle Potts of TLJT (21m) produced some fine running to take the 200m handicap. After having caught the eye when winning his heat in 22.42 seconds, 18-year-old Potts stormed through the tape ahead of Leon Ali (16m) of Hawick and Fraser Neil of Kelso (14m).
Hawick teenager Dylan Ali (5m), the present SGA British 90m and Scottish 200m champion, hit top form to take the 400m handicap from the back marker position.
Euan Pettigrew of Kelso (15m) was second, and Kyle Potts of TLJT (32.5m) third.
In-form Jason McIntosh of Kelso (35m) chalked up his sixth win of the season by doing the business in the 800m handicap. From the Adie Gray school, McIntosh ran a well-judged race from start to finish.
Selkirk veteran Alistair Laurie (280m) led the pack as the bell sounded for the last lap in the 1500m handicap, with Kobe Stevens of Moorfoot (95m) tucked in behind him. Stevens in turn edged in front, but was overtaken by Innerleithen’s Craig Rendle (115m).
Having his first season the games circuit, 39-year-old Rendle, who has turned out to be something of a surprise package through some creditable performances, then strode purposefully on to win.
Bitterly disappointed in not making the final of the 110m handicap as a fastest loser in the cross-ties, Geoff Keen of Selkirk (3m) won the final of the veterans’ 90m handicap.
North East of England athlete Adam Rodgers of South Shields made his mark by emerging the victor of the invitation 100m sprint.
Nine-year-old Charlie Rae of Hawick (24m) followed up his youths’ 200m success at the City of Running Festival meeting by winning the youth’s 90m front runners’ handicap.
In the youths’ 90m back runners handicap, Connor Gillan of Kelso (4.5m) emerged the winner through a fine show.
Earlston youngster Fraser Falconer of TLJT (41m) pulled out the stops to win the youths’ 200 metres back markers handicap race in fine style.
Victory in the youths’ 200m handicap back markers event went to Megan Busby of Carlisle (25m), and Matt Dougal of TLJT (75m) coasted to victory in the youths’ 1,500m handicap.