On a day that saw the four seasons in the space of as many hours, it was somewhat appropriate that Morpeth music production student Conor Hedley won Saturday’s feature Oxton Games Sprint.
The triumph saw the 22-year-old pick up his first victory on the Border Games circuit this season and has given him a hunger for more.
“Before I came here today we decided this would be the last Games I participated in this season,” he said.
“Now I have the winning bug, who knows, though.”
Coached by his grandfather, Brian Hedley, also a regular on the Borders circuit in his youth, the Morpeth Harrier has made the two to three-hour drive over the border throughout the summer and was delighted to have something to show for it at last.
“I came second at Jedburgh, so that was a close call, but I haven’t done much since,” he added.
“It’s quite a trek every weekend, but it’s worth it and this win today will make up for the petrol money.”
Running off 8.5m, Hedley blitzed his heat and cross-tie to make the 110m final alongside Cory Wilson (Hawick), Fraser Neil (Kelso), Craig Gillan (TLJT), Connor Gillon (Kelso) and Angus Johnstone (TLJT).
With Wilson, 11.5m, and Johnstone, 14m, well in front of him, Hedley had some work to do from the off, but the youngster stayed focused to drift through to take the tape in 11.46 seconds – Wilson and Johnstone taking second and third respectively.
“Straight from the heat I knew I was feeling good and when you know you are going well in the early stages, it’s definitely motivational for the rest of the event,” he said.
“It felt amazing. It’s been a long, hard season and a lot of work, but it has paid off today and I’m really chuffed.”
A bumper afternoon of foot-racing events on the Justicehall track began in brilliant sunshine, but the weather deteriorated throughout with some rain showers being followed by breezy conditions which saw temperatures plummeting. None of this seemed to faze either athletes or spectators, however, with a good turnout of both in attendance.
A very strong showing of TLJT runners in the 800m youths’ handicap saw 13-year-old Sarah Davenport (150m) win from Jed AC’s Jack Amos, with TLJT’s Cameron Clamp in third. Fourteen-year-old Amos went on to make his mark in the youths’ 1600m race with an impressive win in 4 minutes and 54.11 seconds.
More middle distance success followed for TLJT when Gavin Taitt ran a convincing race to take victory in the 800m open from a mark of 140m.
“That’s definitely the best I have run all year,” said the Earlston athlete who was running from a mark of 140m.
“The tactics today were just to get out as fast as I could go and just hang on in there, and it worked. I haven’t been having a very good season so far, so I’m delighted to have won today.”
Also from the Tweedbank-based club, Mhairi Henderson ran well to take her 200m open heat and then improved on her time to win the final in 21.80 seconds, while Tommy Finkle continued his winning ways in the 90m veterans’ handicap, with Darren Tomlinson a close second.
Hawick runners also tasted success at Oxton with local butcher Derek Scott leading from start to finish in the 1,600m open, Cian Riddell taking the Youth B 90m title and Ellis McKean holding off the chasing pack in the Youth B 200m. Gala Harrier William Darling won the equivalent Youth A title.