Eland runs off with main prize at Earlston

Earlston Games Chirnside's Rory Williamsbreaks the tape to win the 90 meters Junior (9-12years) Handicap
Earlston Games Chirnside's Rory Williamsbreaks the tape to win the 90 meters Junior (9-12years) Handicap

Throughout the summer months, Richard Eland and his father Gordon make the long trip from their homes in Cumbria to the Borders.

The Eland’s don’t make these journey’s to take in the scenery but to run. Yet, they often return back over the border with no glory.

However, at Earlston Games on Saturday it was time for the Eland’s to get a taste of victory as Richard gave a glorious show in winning the main event on the card, the 90 metres handicap.

Running from a mark of 16.5m, 30 year-old Eland made the final and went up against stable mate Craig Sowerby of Seaton (6.5m), Tommy Finkle (11m), James Park of TLJT (8.5m) both of Tweed Leader Jed Track and Edinburgh’s Lawrie McCombie (12m) and Keiran Kivlin (2m).

And it was Eland’s last run that was to be his best as he stormed to victory in 9.38 seconds, with Kivlin and Finkle second and third respectively.

Speaking afterwards, Eland said: “I am really delighted to have won a big race in the Borders. Since January I have been training six times a week and this has really paid off for me as I have lost over a stone in weight and I am feeling really fit.

“After winning my heat I thought I might be in with a chance of doing something and just went for it.”

Dean Whiteford of Innerleithen celebrated his 37th birthday on the Earlston Haugh track in great style with a win in the 1600m. Striding out well from the sound of starter Gerald Paxton’s gun, the birthday boy duly emerged a clear winner ahead of Selkirk pair John McLean and Alistair Laurie in 4 minutes 19.04 seconds.

Whiteford said: “I thought I might have got things wrong halfway through the race by having went too fast at the start and felt I might tire.

“However, I have been training hard and managed to keep going. I am really pleased to have won a race so early on in the season and hopefully there might be more to come.”

Hawick teenager Dylan Ali (15m) produced some top notch running to take pride of place in the 200m. Victor of the 90m and 200m races at Blackford Games the previous week, Ali produced a scorching run from the back to hit the tape in 21.05.

Thirteen year old Phillippa Robertson (33m) also put victory Hawick’s way by doing the business in the youths 200m. Bidding for her second win of the term after having triumphed in the youths 90m at Blackford Games, Robertson took the honours in 20.23.

Berwickshire village Chirnside went two better than Hawick with four triumphs. Jamie Kinghorn was first to put victory Chirnside’s way in the youths 800m and Cameron Burnett was next to shine in the senior 800m handicap. Both are part of Henry Gray’s school.

Burnett said: “Last year I won the youths 800m at Earlston so I was determined to try and win the senior 800m.”

Rory Williams then hoisted the Chirnside victory flag not only once but twice. Also from Gray’s stable, 11 year-old Williams (8.5m) firstly made his mark by taking pride of place in the junior 90m and then the junior 200m.

Running from a back mark position off 25m, Berwick youngster Nathan Cox, who competes under the banner of Gala Harriers, gave a top class show to win the youth’s 1600m.