Broughton’s Richard Eland may not have had a sparkling season – but he certainly kept his best till last.
His only win on the local games circuit had been at Tweedbank at the start of the season, which qualified him for the Borders Sport and Leisure Trust and Borders Athletics Classic showdown at the same venue on Saturday.
Running off 15m in his heat, he managed to hold off Kelso’s Matthew Fleming (11m) to record the fastest winning time of the three heats, placing him as favourite in the final, in which he was also up against Fleming, Wallace McGown of Sauchie (13m), Jasmin Tomlinson of TLJT (14.5m), Selkirk’s Geoff Keen (8m) and Peebles’ Amy Clancy (14.5m).
But Eland stubbornly refused to let anyone pass him and posted a winning time of 10.75 seconds, earning him the £500 top prize.
Eland, who said his father and coach Gordon got him back to fitness three years ago after he almost quit the sport for good, told The Southern: “After my first win here, I have ran poorly all season, apart from a sprint win at Ambleside sports.
“I felt good after that one and went to Morebattle and I really didn’t do well there at all.
“But I felt good coming up to today, and ran well in my heat, so I fancied my chances for the final.”
In the youths’ 100m event, the crowd’s sympathy was definitely with nine-year-old Liam Bouglas.
The smallest finalist by some distance, speed machine Liam had made such a good start, he was so far up the track he didn’t even hear the second gun denoting a false start elsewhere.
Spectators were trying to catch his attention, but he was so focused he got to within 10m of the finish before he realised.
Distraught was not the word. Organisers allowed the adults’ race to take place first to give him a chance to recover, but when it was run, Jed AC’s Cameron Fisher (11.5m) pipped him at the post.
To be fair, Cameron had posted the fastest time in the heats at 10.99 seconds and recorded a 10.96 finish for the final, so he definitely deserved his victory, but the sympathy went to the tiny Teri.
Cameron, who is coached by Chico Woods, told us: “I’m thrilled to win. I had hoped to do well after having the fastest time in the heats, but it was close.
“I felt sorry for Liam, though, as he almost had to run it twice.”
The 800m Classic final was won in style by delighted Langholm athlete Ryan Milligan, who found himself boxed in on the last bend, but had enough gas to overtake Jed’s Andrew Thompson and Pitreavie’s Michael Burns to take victory.
Teviotdale’s Fraser Clyne (115m) was the happy winner of the Youths’ 800m Classic, taking over long-time leader Olivia Rodden of Jed AC (200m) with 150m to go.
There were a host of open races held as well, with Hawick’s Ellis McKean and Annan’s Liam Woodman winning their respective youth finals.
The adult 100m final was won by TLJT’s seasoned campaigner Tommy Finkle.
The 50-year-old enjoyed his win on his home track and said: “I would rather it had been in the classic, but that’s racing.
“I’ve been travelling for work all week, so I’ve had no training, so it’s nice to get the win.”
See the panel on the right for more results.
Emily McGowan of co-organiser BSLT was there to present the prizes, and was impressed by the standard of the athletes on the day.
She said: “The popularity of athletics is going from strength to strength and it was great to see so many people at this event really enjoying their sport.
“We have some amazingly-talented athletes in the Borders and they are doing a great job inspiring people of all ages to get involved.”
Visit www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk to watch video of the sprint finishes.