NEW YEAR SPRINT glory may have evaded Borders senior athletes this year, but that was certainly not the case at the undercard events on Musselburgh racecourse the previous day.
Competing just days after his 11th birthday, Galashiels sprinter Josh Dougall (24m), running under the TLJT banner, was one of the youngest entrants in the Pat Mulgrew Youth Sprint, and was the youngest to reach the final.
Running among a large field of sprinters from across Scotland as well as the North-east of England and Manchester, he emerged the firm favourite after flying to a heat win in 9.9 seconds – a fantastic run on a wet track into a strong headwind.
Josh held his nerve as the pressure built for the final and the athletes were introduced to a healthy-sized crowd. The tension increased and over the next five minutes the runners were exposed to the biting wind and wet track conditions.
Following three false starts, the race eventually got under way and Josh blasted from the blocks, driving into a convincing lead which he increased to over three metres by the tape, in a winning time of 10.36. Josh Abbot (22.5m) from Kelso was an excellent second with Edinburgh’s Sarah Malone (18.5m) taking third.
Josh received the Mulgrew shield and medal which was won by Ben Robbins the previous year. Now in his first year as a senior, Robbins was the winner of this year’s New Year Sprint.
Shortly after his victory, Josh donned his spikes once more and won his heat of the youths’ under-13s 60m sprint. He was pulled one and a quarter metres as a result of his win in the 90m and in the final he ran a close second to Josh Abbot, who led from gun to tape to take the title.
A pupil at St Peters Primary School, Josh Dougall has had fantastic coaching and support from Bruce Scott, Tommy Finkle and the TLJT club.
During 2012, he competed throughout Scotland where he took on the country’s best young athletes in Scottish Athletics Association competitions and over the 100m and 150m remained unbeaten. He represented the newly-formed Borders team that gained promotion to Division One of the JSB Athletics League and also turns out regularly for Gala Mini Maroons rugby side.
He would like to express his gratitude to the Rowan Bowland Memorial Trust for its financial assistance, noting that his starting blocks were “used to great effect all season and at Musselburgh last week”.
In other supporting events last week, a photo-finish showed William Hutchison of Lasswade AC (4.5m) the winner in a blanket finish in the 60m under-16 youths’ final, getting the nod over Gala’s Freddie Rouke (3.5m) and Sarah Malone (11m) from Corstorphine.
In the seniors, 16-year-old Jessie Concannon of Dunfermline & WF AC (20.5m) sewed up the 90m handicap final. Two metres back was Jordan Charters of Lasswade AC (9.5m). Kieran Reilly of Edinburgh AC (8.25m) just claimed third place from Martha Douglas of Jed-Forest AC (21.5m).
Cameron Smith of Tullibody (7.25m) celebrated his first year as a veteran pipping Iain Heard of Jedburgh (19.5m) to win the 90m veteran handicap, with Colin Bruce of Selkirk (12.25m) a foot behind in third.
In the 110m invitation handicap, backmarker Allan Hamilton of Edinburgh AC (4m) won by two metres from Craig Gillan of TLJT (7.75m) and Kieran Kivlin of Edinburgh AC (4.5m).
Middle distance running made a welcome return with 880yd (approx 800m) events in both youths’ and open categories.
Backmarker Ross Matheson of Lasswade AC (22.5m) won the open event, followed by Craig Robertson of Pitreavie AC (37.5m) and Craig Bell of Forfar (127.5m). In the youths’ event, Dominic O’Hare of Edinburgh (90m) took victory ahead of Jason McIntosh of Kelso (100m) and Dylan Thomson of Pitreavie AC (180m).