On their marks, Borderers are set to go for glory

THEY begin at Earlston on Saturday and end at Morebattle in August, writes John Slorance.

Yes, the Border Games circuit is about to hit the road – a road that no doubt will bring about some fine running as well as drama and excitement as it twists and turns through the season.

It is a road that Ernie Blair, the treasurer of Border Athletics, the governing body of the Border Games scene is looking forward to stepping on.

He told TheSouthern: “When Border Athletics were formed five years ago there were eight meetings, now there are 15, so things have really progressed.

“I am really looking forward to the new season. One of the reasons being that many of the young runners who ran in the youths last season have moved up to the senior ranks. This is something that Border Athletics have been trying to promote since we started. It’s good for the games as it’s great to see young athletes developing in the sport.

“It will also bring about more competition into the senior running and that’s a good thing.”

“There has been a very good entry for Earlston and I am astounded with the entry for the juniors as it is a lot higher than a year ago. The youths’ entry is also very good, which is encouraging for the season ahead.”

Also looking forward to the forthcoming term is TLJT coach Bruce Scott, who said: “The club had 65 wins last season and this will be difficult to surpass as we have set ourselves a high bar.

“We will be trying hard to achieve this, though. We have newcomers arriving every week and there are some good prospects coming through.”

“It would be nice to get a good start at Earlston by getting a win or two. David Edwards, Craig Grieve, Darrin Scott and Dylan Ali should all show up in the big sprint.”

Darrin Scott (7.5m), who has already tasted victory this year at the Pitreavie Gift Sprint in January, is set to run in the opening heat on the Earlston card – the 90m handicap. Amy Clancy of Peebles (12.5m) also runs in the first race of the nine heat event.

Apart from a crop of TLJT athletes that include Lee Goodfellow (8.5m) and Charlie Cochrane (6m), the Earlston sprint has many other Border runners gunning for glory including: Colin Bruce (6.5m) and Geoff Keene (8.5m), Selkirk; Cameron Grieve (6.5m) and Martha Douglas (19m), Jed AC; Drew Bryson (17.5m), and Jack Wilson (11.5m), Hawick; Andrew Hogarth (8.5m), John Fleming (5.5m), Kelso; Peter Denholm (6.5m), Melrose; Jordan Maxwell (6m), Langholm; Sean Grant (8m), Innerleithen.

Joint back markers for the event are Iskan Barskanmay, Jed AC and Ainslie Chinembiri, Edinburgh (2.5m).

Kelso’s Colin Welsh runs from scratch in the 800m handicap which also includes footballer Andrew Maltman of Hawick (50m) and Dean Whiteford of Innerleithen (60m).

Border runners feature strongly in the 1,600m handicap.

Steven Black of Kelso (70m), Rory Anderson of Hawick (70m), Greig Gibson of Selkirk (110m), Adam Craig of TLJT (65m) and Andrew Thomson of Jed AC (110m) are some who are set to pound the track.

Junior and youth races complete a bumper programme.

The games commence at 1pm.