Twenty-eight years ago, when the Peebles Beltane Sports were staged at Hay Lodge Park, a 10-year-old Fife youngster by the name of Jack Beattie won the 90m youths’ handicap.
Time has since raced on and in the process countless races have been won and lost at the annual Peebles athletics meeting.
On the pastures of Whitestone Park on Sunday, however, that young boy of yesteryear tasted Peebles Beltane Sports sprint glory for a second time.
The flying Fifer this time pulled out the stops to win the senior 110m handicap.
Competing from a mark of 15.5m, Beattie booked himself a place in the final of the event with a heat win in 11.69 seconds, which was followed by a cross-tie triumph in 11.52 seconds.
Facing fellow Fifer Billy Martin of Glenrothes (9m), Charlie Carstairs, Lasswade (6m), Craig Bruce, Selkirk (10m), and Edinburgh pair Tom Holligan (scratch) and Graeme Armstrong (17.5m) in the final, Beattie knew he had a real battle on his hands.
But it was a battle he was about to win.
In what turned out to be a thrilling race, Beattie gained a dramatic photo-finish victory when edging out recent Selkirk Games sprint winner Holligan by a hair’s breadth. Holligan emerged second and Bruce third.
Following his win, Beattie told The Southern: “Although I was just a boy, I remember winning the youths’ sprint at Peebles as it was a really big thing for me.
“That same day my father, Jimmy, who had coached me, won the big sprint and this made everything even more special.
“As my father had won the Peebles sprint, I wanted to do the same and I am thrilled to have been able to do this today”.
Craig Rendle (200m) put victory Innerleithen’s way in the 3,200m handicap.
Self-trained Rendle was a place behind race leader John Thomson, Coaltown (205m) as the bell sounded for the last lap.
Thomson was striding out, but so was Rendle and, in what was a very exciting finish for a two-mile event, Rendle not only began to close what had been a big gap, but edged ahead to hit the tape in front.
Rendle said: “I knew John Thomson was going to be very difficult to beat and after he had gone past me I had to really dig in and sit on his tail.
“He was running well and I had to go all out to catch him late on in the race. This is my first year on the circuit and it was my first win, so I am very happy”.
Following 1,600m handicap triumphs at Hawick and Selkirk Games, 61-year-old Keith Redpath of East Kilbride (380m) made it a remarkable hat-trick of victories when doing the business yet again over the same distance at Peebles, from Gary Law of Hawick (400m) and Kobe Stevens of Moorfoot (160m).
The evergreen Redpath said: “Last season I never won a race and this year I have won three in succession.
“I just can’t believe it”.
Having his first season as a senior, Kobe Stevens of Moorfoot AC (65m) gave a fine account of himself in the 800m handicap.
After having taken the lead from clubmate Sophie Collins (145m), Stevens was race leader in the home run.
Back marker Calum McWilliams of Giffnock (40m) came charging in from behind to take the honours.
The final of the youths’ 90m handicap A race conjured up a meeting that featured twin sisters Samantha (20m) and Natasha Turnbull (19m) from Peebles, who had both won their heats well.
Gary Goodfellow of TLJT (18.5m), however, stole the show in the final through a great run.
After having recorded the fastest times of the heats, Danielle Lockie of TLJT (22.5m) hit full throttle again in the final of the B race.
Coached by John Motion, 11-year-old Michael Smith of Leithenburn (385m) shone by winning the youths’ 800m handicap, showing great heart as well as some excellent running.
The one-lap events on the Whitestone Park turf brought about some red-hot racing.
Euan Pettigrew of Jed AC (23m) turned on the heat in the senior handicap in particular.
Fastest winner of the heats, the Kelso teenager then produced a scorching run in the final when pipping Hawick’s Leon Ali (28m) on the post through a barnstorming finish.
Cameron Fisher of Jed AC (28m) hit the high spots in winning the final of the youths’ one-lap ‘A’ race handicap.
Eleven-year-old Charlotte Clare of Moorfoot (66m) showed the field a clear pair of heels by emerging a convincing victor of the youths’ one-lap B handicap.