Jedburgh’s Dylan Murray was a complete unknown at the start of the current open athletic season.
For, in a matter of weeks, 20-year-old Murray has made a name for himself, winning two major events on the Border Games circuit.
The TLJT Club runner first of all came from out of the blue when emerging victorious in the Earlston 90 metres handicap.
And, at Kelso Games, Murray did it all again by triumphing in the main event of the afternoon – the 200 metres handicap.
Going from a front mark spot of 65 metres, Murray led all the way to take his heat and a final place in a time of 21.64 seconds.
The final was to bring about a similar story.
Challenges came in from the back but Murray stuck to his task in holding on to his lead to break the tape ahead of Hawick pair Jai Patterson (30m) and Ryan Elliot (14m) in 21.58 seconds.
Murray said: “I like the shorter races better and I thought I might get beaten.
“But nobody got past me and I have now won twice and I am very pleased about this.”
Murray’s coach John Steede said: “Dylan doesn’t do a lot of 200 metres races and I was surprised how strongly he won.
“He never misses a training session, though, and works hard.”
Michelle Donnelly had made the trip from Workington to compete at the games.
But her journey was well worthwhile, for she returned home across the Border in triumphant style, having won the 100 metres handicap.
After having won her heat in 10.38 seconds, Donnelly (24.5m) was involved in a sizzler of a final in which little or nothing separated the eight finalists on the tape.
After the judges had consulted the photo finish systems for some time, Donnelly got the verdict.
TLJT twosome Mhairi Henderson (26m) and Tommy Finkle (15m) were given second and third places, with the winning time being 10.52 seconds.
Donnelly, coached by Gordon Eland, a repeated veteran runner of the games, said: “I have been running at the games for five years – this is the first time I have got a win and I am just thrilled.
“It was a really close final and I hadn’t a clue who had won, which was the same as the other runners.”
Kelso ruled the roost in the 1600 metres handicap by taking the first three places, which was a great achievement for the Adie Gray running school.
Sarah Ross of TLJT (400m) headed the field at the start of the last lap, with Kelso pair Darrell Hastie (40m) and Colin Welsh (90m) close behind.
Welsh, in turn, took the lead and strode purposefully on to cross the finishing line in 4 minutes 30.19 seconds.
Hastie came in second with fellow Tweedsider Matthew Fleming (210m) getting third place.
Dean Whiteford of Innerleithen (100m) emerged a clear winner of the 800 metres handicap.
Running well from the gun, Whiteford, who always gives his all, showed the opposition a clear pair of heels to come home in 1 minute 57.51 seconds.
The ever-prominent Colin Welsh of Kelso (30m) was second and Langholm’s Ryan Milligan (65m) third.
Reflecting on his winning performance, Whiteford said: “I have had a calf injury since running at Blackford Games at the very start of the season and this was my first appearance in the Borders.
“I wasn’t expecting to do anything and have surprised myself in getting a win.”
As has been the pattern throughout the season, the youth racing has produced some excellent running.
Stealing the show on the Poynder Park meeting was Leithenburn’s Aaron Glendinning, who notched up a magnificent double in taking pride of place in the youths’ 1600 metres handicap and youths 100 metres ‘B’ race handicap events.
Contrasting distances they may have been but they were one and the same for 12-year-old Glendinning. Coached by John Motion, Glendinning is a real talent. Rory McDonald also put victory Leithenburn’s way in winning the youths 800 metres handicap.
The TLJT Club also had a double triumph.
Samantha Dagg won the youths 100 metres ‘A’ race handicap and Charlie Robbie the youths 200 metres ‘B’ race handicap.
Hawick’s Finlay Douglas won the youths 200 metres ‘A’ race handicap.
Lewis Fleming came in first in the youths 100 metres (confined) handicap. Athlete of the games was Colin Welsh.