Tommy Finkle began his running days on the Border games circuit as a nine-year-old.
And this was for all to see at St Ronan’s Games last Saturday, when the remarkable Jedburgh veteran beat the age barrier in winning the 100 metres handicap from a mark of 15 metres.
A former winner of the New Year sprint, as well as the Jedburgh Games sprint, plus having many other wins to his credit, 55-year-old Finkle sailed into the final of the event, with heat and cross tie wins in 10.96 seconds and10.57 seconds.
Up against Hawick trio Ryan Elliot (6.5m), Corey Wilson (10.5m) and David Hush (23.5m), as well as the previous year’s winner, Nina Cessford of TLJT (24.5m), and Graeme Armstrong of Edinburgh (18.5m) in the last outing, Finkle duly produced his best running of the afternoon when storming home in 10.50 seconds.
Cessford came in second and Armstrong third.
Coached by John Steede and running under the banner of the TLJT club, Finkle said: “I have won the 200 metres at St Ronans before but that’s the first time I have won the sprint. I had run at three meetings up the west coast during the week before running here and felt good. After winning my heat, I thought I had a chance.”
Country and Western singer Josh Turner had a number one hit with the song ‘Hometown Girl’ in 2016 in the country charts.
There might have been no sign of Josh at Victoria Park but there sure was a ‘Hometown Girl’ who was a big hit.
Filling this role was Innerleithen’s Sarah Ross, who topped the charts in winning not just one event on the programme, but two.
Coached by Gavin Taitt and representing the TLJT Club, Ross began her glory day in winning the 800 metres handicap in fine style from a mark of 165 metres.
Dean Whiteford (80m), also of Innerleithen, came in second and Matthew Fleming of Kelso (105m) third.
A winning time of 1 minute 59.09 seconds was recorded.
Ross was far from finished, though, for despite being pulled back by 45 metres for her win and going from 400 metres, instead of 445, she produced the trump card again by striding to another victory in the 1600 metres handicap in 4 minutes 32.28 seconds.
Other placings went the way of John Thomson of Glenrothes (200m) and Matthew Fleming of Kelso (210m).
A delighted Ross said : “I am so, so happy that I have finally won a race, as I have been getting places only. In fact, I am double happy as I have won two races and I just can’t believe this.”
Mhairi Henderson of Earlston (47m) also put victory the ladies’ way by taking pride of place in the 200 metres handicap.
Henderson qualified for the final by dead-heating with Samantha Turnbull of TLJT (36m) in her heat.
In the last showdown, the pair were involved in another great duel but Henderson had the edge, racing home in 22.47 seconds.
Turnbull gained the second spot, with her twin sister Natasha Turnbull (39m) emerging third.
Henderson said: “It was a real battle but I managed to get a win at the end, which was nice.”
Fresh from her success in winning in the Jedburgh Games 110 metres handicap,
Rianna Sterricks won the Ladies 100 Championship from Emily Dagg of TLJT and Eilidh Murray of Hawick in 12.63 seconds.
Scott Tindle of TLJT (8m) gave a great account of himself when winning the 100 metres invitation sprint handicap in 10.81 seconds.
‘Mighty atom’ Jason White of TLJT (250m) continued to blast on the youths scene with yet another win, coming out on top in the youths 1600 metres handicap.
Coached by John Motion, Leithenburn pair Stefan Nightingale (14m) and Grace Turnbull (26m) set the track alight by blazing to wins in the youths A and B 90 metres handicaps.
Hawick twosome Keeley Womack (28m) and Connor McLeod (40m), who are cousins, were the victors of the youths 200 metres A and B race handicap.
In the confined races on the card, the talented Aaron Glendinning of Leithenburn (105m) won the youths 800 metres American Cup.
Tiegan Gibb of Leithenburn (49m) shone in winning the youths 200 metres New Zealand Trophy.