Following the hustle and bustle of Rio 2016, four Team GB Paralympians arrived in Jedburgh on Sunday, in search of peace and tranquility.
In terms of the weather and the beautiful surroundings, competitors in the 13th Jed Renilson 10k Wheelchair and Hand Cycle races found what they were looking for.
As far as the race itself was concerned, however, competition proved as tough as ever, with the highlight of the day coming in the form of an epic battle between the Borders’ own Sammi Kinghorn and fellow Paralympian Jade Jones in the women’s 10k Wheelchair Race.
Following a gruelling outward run, which took the racers eastwards along the A698 from Bonjedward, the two ladies were neck and neck as they approached the final 50 metres just past the Caddy Man restaurant, Mounthooly.
Cheered on by the many supporters lining the roadside Sammi, from Gordon, then found a finishing flourish which saw her not only win the race for the first time but beat her personal best by four minutes and produce a Scottish record and a British best time of 22 minutes.
“I felt good during the race, though, and although it was a bit windy as I was heading back towards the finish, I just thought ‘well I have already come this far’ and I could see the line, so I just stuck in and kept pushing for it,” said the 20-year-old Borderer.
“Having my friends and family around to support me made a big difference,” she added. “You always want to do well when you have people watching.”
Sponsored by the Randolph Hill Nursing Homes Group, both races were started by former Scotland and Jedburgh rugby scrum half Gary Armstrong, who set seven hand cyclists on their way before releasing the 11 wheelchair racers.
Cumbrian racer Simon Lawson took his outstanding tally of wins in the men’s race to eight when crossing the line in 20.27 minutes, with fellow Paralympian Isaac Towers beaten back into fourth place by Callum Hall (21.58) and current Scottish champion Mark Telford (22.03).
“Last year, we set off a little closer to the hand cyclists which gave me a bit of a target,” said Lawson.
“It was a bit lonelier this time around, though, as they got a big head start and we were left to our own devices.”
Co-ordinated by the Scottish Borders Disability Sports Group, the event is now in its 13th year, thanks to the hard work and persistence of the friends and colleagues of the late Jed Renilson, who launched the Wheelchair Race in 2004.
Graham Cook, chairman of the Disability Sports Group, said: “After Jed died last year, his friends made it their mission to keep this event going and build on its success.
“This year’s numbers equalled last year’s record- breaking entries and the standard of competition was even greater than ever, so the goals set have definitely been achieved.”
Longtown’s Alistair Corps-Bell finished first in the Hand Cycle Race in a time of 16.32 minutes, setting a new course record in the process.
Results of Jed Renilson 10k Wheelchair Road Race:
Men – 1. Simon Lawson 20.27 mins, 2. Callum Hall 21.58, 3. Mark Telford 22.03, 4 Issac Towers 22.50, 5. Stuart Bloor 23.03, 6. Sean Frame 24.35; 7. Tiaan Bosch 26.30; 8. Kyle Brotherstone 28.36.
Women – 1. Samantha Kinghorn 22.00 mins, 2. Jade Jones 22.02, 3. Yasmin Somers 43.17.
Jed Renilson 10k Hand Cycle Race:
Men – 1. Alistair Corps-Bell 16.32 mins, 2. Mike Thomas 20.01, 3. Ian Thompson 22.03, 4. Steve Hoskins 22.33, 5. David Wise 23.11, 6. Marcus Brook 25.38.
Women – 1. Catherine Lewis 45.26 mins.