Rianna races to Games glory at Riverside
The smile on the face of Rianna Sterricks was as radiant as Saturday’s late afternoon sunshine.
In doing so, Sterricks had picked up a splendid winning purse of £3000, plus the glory that goes with taking pride of place in the prestigious Jed sprint.
Representing Lasswade Athletic Club, 18-year-old Sterricks (21m) had a walkover in her heat, through being the only runner making an appearance in a field that should have consisted of six.
Coached by Gordon Robertson, Sterricks was then beaten in her cross tie by Jedburgh runner Brodie Cowan (22.5m) but qualified for a final spot by emerging second.
Set to be a student at Stirling University in September, Sterricks found herself lining up against Cowan, Ryan Elliot of Hawick (8.5m), Graeme Armstrong of Edinburgh (21m), Marcus Archer of Aberdeen (7m) and Joseph Wilkinson of Level Valley AC (13m) in the final.
Sterricks appeared to have a lot to do to get into the winning frame but she produced a blistering run, over the last 30 metres in particular, to soar to an impressive victory in a very fast time of 11.35 seconds.
Elliot was placed second and Cowan third.
A thrilled Sterricks said of her memorable win: “I won the Jedburgh youths 200 metres a while back and my dad had won the same race years before that. I was really pleased about that and it has been one of the highlights of my winning days.
“However, I now managed to win the big sprint and I can’t believe it. I was just happy to be in the final but didn’t expect to win it.”
Prior to appearing in the big sprint handicap, Sterricks (5m) had run in the ladies’ 100 metres handicap.
Brodie Cowan (7m) emerged the victor in 12.30 seconds, with Sterricks next. Third place went to Sophie Elder of TLJT (6m).
The Border Athletic Sprint Championship consisted of a top line-up and brought about a superb race.
So much so that it ended in a dead heat, in which the judges couldn’t split Allan Hamilton of Edinburgh and Greg Kelly of East Kilbride.
Cameron Tindle of TLJT was edged into third spot.
Gordon Armstrong, Josh Abbot and Douglas Young all put victory Kelso’s way with ace performances in their respective events.
Armstrong (17m) powered to victory through a great run from the back to take the 400 metres handicap in 51.77 seconds.
In the 200 metres handicap, Abbot turned on the style in his heat and final.
Going from a mark of 16 metres, Abbot won the final in 22.30 seconds.
Young also fired on all cylinders when soaring through the tape in the 100 metres invitation handicap in 10.24 seconds.
He might have come from down under but Australian Matthew Newton (16m) came out on top in the 90 metres veterans handicap.
A seasoned campaigner on the Australian running circuit, Newton, on holiday with his family in the UK, in conjunction with appearing at Scottish games meetings, was beaten in his heat.
Owing to being placed second, he reached the final in which he produced an excellent run to gain the honours in 9.91 seconds.
Langholm’s Ryan Milligan (75m) was a clear winner of the 1500 metres handicap in 4 minutes 28.38 seconds.
Wallace McGowan of Sauchie (120m) did the business in the two heat 800 metres handicap.
Jedburgh’s own Roy Laidlaw made a name for himself in the world of rugby.
Capped 47 times for Scotland, scrum half Laidlaw also played for the British Lions.
At this Riverside Park meeting, though, Laidlaw starred on the track in winning the 60 metres handicap for people over 45 years, which is an event of big interest.
Laidlaw gained the bragging rights in a time of 7.03 seconds from a mark of 13 metres.
Summing up his win, he said: “I have always wanted to win a race at the Jed Games and it’s taken me until I was 65 to do it.
“I am really pleased, because now I don’t have to run again.”