HAWICK athletes brought the curtain down on the Border open athletics season in fine style at Morebattle Games on Saturday.
David Hush, Amy Campbell, Jack Wilson and Keith Murray all blasting their way into the winning frame for the grey auld toon, while Darcy Graham also hit the high spots by emerging Borders Athletics youth champion of the year.
Hush triumphed in the 110m handicap, and this win brought an end to a wait that has lasted more than a quarter-of-a-century. For since first pulling on his spikes on the games circuit 27 years ago, Hush had never won a 110m handicap. Ninety, 200 and 400m handicaps wins had all come his way, but never the 110, until the 49-year-old layed his bogey on the Tofts running track on Saturday.
Hush was delighted with his well-earned win, and told the Hawick News: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s been a long time coming, but at last I’ve won a 110m final, and it’s a great feeling.
“I’ve always believed I could do it even though it’s taken me 27 years.
He added: “I’ve a lot to thank my coach big Bill Edgar for, as he’s a real inspiration. He sometimes thinks I don’t listen to him, but I do, and I sure did today.
“Bill told me to keep calm and relaxed and just do my running, and I would win the sprint. After winning my heat and cross-ties in quick times I felt confident in the final, got completely focused, went for it and managed to get it.”
Competing from a mark of 24m, Hush soared to a heat victory in 11.80 seconds. This was followed by a cross-tie triumph in 11.61 seconds, which booked him a place in the final along with fellow Hawick runners John Paxton (18.5m), David Grieve (17m) and David Rae (11.5m), as well as David McKay of Kelso (16.5m) and Edinburgh’s Kieran Reilly (10.5m).
In his last run, Hush produced the goods to the full again when storming to a win in 11.90 seconds, with Rae and McKay coming in second and third respectively.
Amy Campbell (16.5m) nailed her colours to the mast by emerging victorious in the junior 90m handicap.
First season campaigner Amy showed she had something special to offer in the heat when sailing through the tape in 11.95 seconds, which was the fastest time of the opening runs. Amy was now in the final, which was a family affair, as she was up against her sister Nicole (14m), who had also won her heat impressively.
In what turned out to be an exciting and closely-contested final, pocket dynamo Amy pulled out the stops again to gain a photo-finish victory over Natalie Robbins of Edinburgh (scratch) and Peebles’ Robbie Renwick (1.5m) in 12.02 seconds.
From the Billy Edgar school, nine-year-old Amy said of her win: “I’m really pleased and excited that I’ve won, as usually the other runners catch me and I’m beaten.
“I had butterflies before I ran in the final, and even more after it as it was a photo finish, and I had to wait a long time to hear who had won.
“I was real happy to hear it was me, and was happy that my sister Nicole was in the final as well.”
Sixteen-year-old Jack Wilson (13m) also put victory the way of the Billy Edgar, Trinity Bar, Gibson Insurance Services-sponsored stable by coming out on top in the youths’ one-lap handicap.
Following a heat victory in 34.56 seconds, Jack duly did it all again in what was a cracking final.
Metres from the end of the race, Matthew Bell (40m), who had shown up well when winning his heat, and another member of the Billy Edgar camp, was out in front. And in a dramatic finish, Wilson and Craig Smith of TLJT (17m) came surging in from behind, and the latter threesome more or less hit the winning line together.
Afte the judges had consulted the camera, Wilson was declared the winner, with the other placings going the way of Smith and Bell. The watch recorded a winning time of 21.42 seconds.
Summing up his victory, Jack said: “That was my first win of the season and it was a good way to finish. In the final I didn’t think I was going to be able to catch Matthew Bell as he was running very well. He won the race last year and I thought he was going to win it again, and I was a bit lucky to beat him on the line.”
Keith Murray (440m) excelled in emerging a clear and positive winner of the 3,200m handicap.
Giving a tip-top performance, Murray broke the tape well ahead of John Thomson of Coldstream (250m) and Hawick’s Derek Scott (340m) in nine minutes 50.89 seconds.
Following his victory, Murray commented: “I haven’t been able to do full training for a couple of weeks, so I wasn’t sure how I would do.
“There was a strong wind and it was tough going running into it when you are slightly built like I am.
“However, I got a lift when I had the wind on my back, got fresh legs, and everything worked out just fine for me.”
Following the last event on the card it was officially announced that Hawick’s Darcy Graham was the Borders Athletics youth champion.
This was an excellent achievement for 14-year-old Darcy who won the league by four points, after recording five wins during the season as well as two second places.
He told the Hawick News: “When I began the season I didn’t think I would even win a race never mind a championship. And I just can’t believe I’ve been able to do this. I’m really thrilled as being youth champion means a lot to me.”
Hawick distance runner Rory Anderson, who has also had a splendid season, gained second place in the Borders Athletics senior championship league. Graeme Lister of Kirkcaldy lifting the title in edging out Anderson by two points.