Edinburgh’s Graeme Armstrong beat the age barrier as well as the opposition at Hawick Games on Sunday.
For 59-year-old Armstrong, an outsider with the bookmakers upset the odds by winning the main event of the day – the 110 metres handicap.
Competing from a mark of 22 metres, former Berwick Rangers footballer, Armstrong looked good when breaking the tape in his heat in 12.01 seconds.
The Edinburgh veteran followed this up by clocking up a winning time of 12.05 seconds in his cross tie. This victory earning him a last showdown along with Hawick trio Dylan Ali (3.5m), Leon Ali (10.5m), David Lauder (16m) as well as Craig Bruce of Selkirk (10m) and Greg Turnbull of TLJT (5.5m).
The scene was set for an exciting final and what an exciting final it indeed was to be. So much so it ended in a photo finish with Armstrong and Dylan Ali being the men in the frame. Who was the winner of the first prize of £1,000 was anybody’s guess.
It took a long wait to find out however, after a delay in which the judges consulted the photo finish system seven times, a decision was made. And it was Armstrong who got the nod of approval. A winning time of 11.83 seconds, the fastest of the event was recorded. Ali emerged the closest of seconds with Bruce coming in third.
After his win at Earlston the previous week young Chirnside Chaser Joey Brown was moved back by the handicapper but he continued his excellent form by making the final. The final itself was a close run thing and took the officials quite a while to sort out a very close finish between three athletes. On review Joey just sneaked the win by the closest of margins and took his second win in two weeks
Other Chirnside Chasers also did well at Hawic k. In the 800m Daniel Ross finished second, Josh Abbott fourth and Rory Williams fifth. In the 400m youth handicap Josh finished third, Rory fourth and Kyle Taylor sixth. Josh completed a busy weekend with an excellent fourth in the 200m final.
Not quite making it through to the places or finals were Robert Derries, Harris Ross and Isla Taylor. Another fantastic effort from all the Chirnside Chasers.
Sixteen year old Cameron Caldwell in particular emerged with flying colours through a splendid double triumph.
A young runner of great potential, Caldwell (6.5m) firstly blitzed to victory in the Novice Sprint handicap.
Caldwell was far from finished though as two events later he turned on the style again in the under 17 100 metres championship. In an event in which all runners go from scratch, Caldwell scorched home in 11.78 seconds.
Scott Tindle (100m) the younger brother of high flying top amateur runner Cameron Tindle, who had won the Earlston Games sprint from scratch the previous week, gave a fine account of himself in emerging the victor of the Junior/Youths 800 metres handicap in 2 minutes 32.37 seconds.
Producing some powerhouse running, Lee Goodfellow (23m) gave a top notch show to take the 200 metres handicap.
Girl runners Molly Paterson and Kacey Taitt also did the business for TLJT.
Paterson (34m) recorded her win on the games scene through a fine show to take the youth’s 200 metres handicap. Taitt (51m) also shone by gaining the honours in the junior 200 metres handicap.
Amy Smith of Lasswade (140m) put herself into the record books in being the first lady runner to win an 800 metres handicap at Hawick.
North East of England man Paul Bellingham of Cramlington made the trip over the Border worthwhile by taking the 1600 metres handicap. Going from a front mark of 310 metres, 56-year-old Bellingham, held on to his lead to win in 4 minutes 32.06 seconds.
Coached by John Fleming, 12-year-old Ben Lyall of Kelso, a new face to the games front, excelled in winning the junior 90 metres and junior/youths 400 metres handicaps.
The 100 metres invitation sprint was won by Jack Beattie of Rosyth.