From its big prize money and excellent running, to its fine setting and the fact it was blessed with sunshine, the City of Edinburgh Running Festival turned out to be a winner last Friday evening.
But the main winner on the Meggetland track was Craig Knowles of Corstorphine, who emerged the victor of the 110m handicap which had a winning purse of £3,000.
A beaten finalist in the Hawick Games 110m handicap, Knowles, who had not been seen on a Border Games track since, Knowles caught the eye when romping home in his heat in 11.62 seconds from a mark of 8m.
A more or less unknown in the open athletic scene, Knowles followed this up with a cross-tie victory in a very fast time of 11.57 seconds, making him the hot favourite.
And he proved he was worth that praise ... but only just, as Jedburgh’s Jazmine Tomlinson came within inches of causing what would have been a massive upset.
Representing the TLJT club, Tomlinson (19.5m) a complete betting outsider, produced a splendid run from her front mark spot, forcing a photo finish.
Following the long wait, Knowles was announced the victor with Tomlinson emerging the closest of seconds.
A winning time of 11.66 seconds was recorded.
In the 200m handicap, however, a lady athlete from Jedburgh did get into the winning frame – Jenna Gillan.
Another member of the TLJT club, Gillan (50m) first showed her mettle with a fine heat victory in 31.41 seconds.
In what turned out to be an exciting final, Gillan did it all again.
As she led the field coming down the home straight, challenges were coming in from the back, particularly from Selkirk’s Geoff Keen (27m), but Gillan dug in deep and hung on to win. Keen finished second.
Gillan said: “I am very pleased to have won something like this as it’s a big race. It was hard work, though, especially in the final. Although I have never won a sprint I have won other 200m races and this distance must suit me better”.
Amy Clancy of Peebles hit her best form of the season in the ladies’ 110m invitation sprint.
A former winner of sprint handicaps at Jedburgh and Kelso Games, Clancy, coached by Charlie Russell, blitzed to victory in a keenly contested event in 12 seconds dead to lift the £200 first prize.
Hawick’s Rory Anderson (60m) gave a top-notch show, taking the honours in the 800m handicap.
From the Alex Corbett stable, Anderson showed he was in with a real chance of picking up the £1,000 that awaited the winner when breaking the tape in his heat in 1 minute 54.22 seconds. And the Teri hit the high spots once more in a ding-dong final.
With a lap remaining Sophie Collins of Moorfoot (160m) was out in front.
She maintained this lead until the last bend, when Anderson took over with Jedburgh’s Andrew Thomson (75m) in hot pursuit.
A real batle was then to develop between the latter pair.
It was Anderson, though, who crossed the finish line ahead of second-placed Thomson.
Anderson said: “I have been training hard and listening to what my coach has been saying andit’s paid off for me.”
Making her debut on the games front, Cath Ferry of Kirkliston made it a winning one by coming out on top in the 1,600m handicap.
The back runners just could not get near Ferry, who led from start to finish from a big mark of 465m.
Steven Perrie-Clyde of Pitreavie (2.5m) triumphed in the Novice Sprint 110 metres handicap.
Jedburgh youngster Jack Amos (215m) emerged a clear winner of the youth’s 1,600m while Freddie Carcas (100m) did the business in youth’s 800m handicap.
William Darling of Galashiels Harriers (24m) won the final of the youth’s 200m handicap, edging out young Australian Casey Buchanan (23m) in a photo finish.
In another exciting and close final Samantha Dagg of TLJT (27m) pipped Nicky Sutherland of Hawick (27m) to win the junior 90m handicap.
Murray Blair of Lasswade (16m) emerged victorious in the youths’ 90m handicap.
Rugby came out on top in a football/rugby players 300m race involving players from Hearts, Rangers, Berwick Rangers, Edinburgh City, Boroughmuir, Jed-Forest and Lasswade, the winner being Bouroughmuir’s Gavin Welsh.