RAYS of sunshine were cast over Oxton Games on Saturday.
On the Justice Hall track, however, it was Hawick’s David Rae who was doing the shining.
For the TLJT athlete glittered, giving a golden show to gain the honours in the main event on the card – the 110m handicap.
Competing from a mark of 9.5m, 38-year-old Rae was beaten in his heat, but qualified for a cross-tie place as a fastest loser.
In his second outing, Rae sizzled to victory in 11.75 seconds and duly found himself in the final against Jed AC pair Iskan Barskanmay (5.5m) and Darren Tomlinson (13.5m), plus Peter Denholm of Melrose (10m) Dylan Ali of TLJT (9.5m) and Edinburgh’s Kieran Kivlin (6m).
Recent winner of the Selkirk Games 200m handicap, Rae then did it all again in the final with a great run that saw him break the tape in 11.59 seconds, Kivlin coming in second and Denholm third.
Following his triumph Rae told TheSouthern: “For the past few seasons I have been bothered a lot with injuries and not been fully fit. This season, however, things have been going well as I have escaped injury and due to training along with guys like Bruce Scott and Charlie Cochrane of TLJT my fitness level is the highest it has been for a while.
“Due to this, I felt I might be in with a little chance of doing something today. Thankfully, this has worked out and I am really delighted as it has been my first sprint win in the Borders for quite a time.”
Kelso father and son team, Wayne and Jason McIntosh, did themselves proud in winning the senior 1,600m and youth’s 800m handicaps respectively.
Fourteen-year-old Jason was the first to do the business.
The young Tweedsider ran a perfect race to emerge a convincing victor from his 100m mark. The other placings went the way of Jack Amos of Jed AC (180m) Mairi Wallace of Moorfoot (175m).
“What my boy can do I can do” was the thought runnng through in Wayne McIntosh’s mind prior to his run in the 1,600m.
And the 37-year-old turned his thoughts into reality, leading the field at the beginning of the last lap, with Jacob Adkin of Moorfoot (150m) close on his heels. Determined in his stride, McIntosh was gunning for the win, though, and a that’s what he got.
Adkin gained the second spot while Greg Gibson of Selkirk (125m) came in third.
Coached by Adie Gray, a well-pleased McIntosh commented: “After Jason had won there was no way I was going to lose as I was determined that I would make it a double for us.
“For the first time this season, a race went to plan for me. Everything just went right. I was starting to tire towards the end, but not enough to let anyone pass me after I had taken the lead. I have been running for a good few years now, but this afternoon has been my best ever, as well as my proudest.”
Jed AC brothers Eoin and Luke Lowther also made it a happy family day with victories.
With two victories on the Border Games already under his belt this season, strong-running Eoin took pride of place in the youths’ 90m handicap to complete a hat-trick. After impressing with a heat win in 10.03 seconds, 14-year-old Eoin (13m) stormed home in the final. Megan Shiel of Hawick (16m) was second and Jasmin Tomlinson of Jed AC (15.5m) third.
Earlston Games sprint winner Luke, who also triumphed in the 90m (confirmed to Borders) handicap at Selkirk Games gave an excellent account of himself to take the 200m. Luke (36m) pipped Ryan Trimby of Hawick (24m) and Dylan Ali of TLJT (18m) on the tape in the final.
“Floreat Oxtonal!” – Let Oxton Flourish was the heading on the front cover of the games programme.
And thanks to local youngster Hugh Robinson, Oxton did just that as the 14-year-old won two events.
New kid on the block Robinson, who was making his debut on the games scene, first tasted victory in the 90m handicap. Going from a mark of one metre, Robinson sailed to a win ahead of Bryony Paterson of Leithenburn (4.5m) and Hawick’s Nicole Campbell (8m) in the final.
More was to come from Robinson, however, as despite being pulled five metres for his sprint victory, the TLJT youngster powered to a win in the junior 200m handicap as well.
In an exciting photo-finish final, Robinson edged out Jack Amos of Jed AC (24m) and Gary Goodfellow of TLJT (16m). Robinson was off minus 3m.
Robinson told us: “I live in Lauder now, but I come from Oxton, so it is my home track today and it’s nice to have won on it.
“It’s the first time I have run at the games and I didn’t know how I would get on. I am surprised that I managed to do so well and it’s been a really good day for me!”
The youths’ 200m handicap ended up in a rare dead-heat with the honours being shared between TLJT runners Jenna Gillan (37m) and Kyle Potts (17m).
Potts came in one place behind victor Gillan in the heats, but with the first two qualifying, found himself in the final which duly produced a blanket finish so close, the judges could not separate the pair and the race was declared a dead-heat.
The other place went the way of Hawick’s Matthew Bell (38m).
In the youths’ 1,600m handicap, back-marker Nathan Cox of Berwick (50m) excelled with a top-notch run from start to finish to win from Gala Harriers duo Joey Brown (330m) and Thomas Otton (115m).
Kevin Turner of Dalkeith (10m) emerged a fine winner of the 90m veterans’ handicap from Bruce Scott of TLJT (8m) and David Hush of Hawick (12m).
Edinburgh’s Paddy Jummelle (75m) was victor of the 800m handicap. Andrew Thomson of Jed AC (80m) and Colin Welsh of Kelso (scratch) got the other placings.