Teri ace John Paxton ended an eight-year wait for sprint glory with a stunning victory in Sunday’s Hawick Border Games 110m handicap.
His victory was all the sweeter as Paxton, a games committee man, had spent Saturday morning helping prepare the Volunteer Park track, and was back on duty againon the morning of the race following Saturday’s heavy rainfall.
Come late Sunday afternoon, however, Paxton was king of the track that he had put such a lot of graft into making sure was at its best along with others.
This was a great win for the 49-year-old and something of a turn up for the books considering he has been out of the winning frame for eight years since landing the Peebles Beltane Sport 110m handicap in 2006.
A member of the Billy Edgar running school, Paxton (17m) showed he had something to offer when coming out on top in his heat in 12.37 seconds. He then booked himself a place in the final through an impressive cross-tie victory in 12.10 seconds.
Could Paxtonproduce the goods for a third time? – was the question being asked.
Well the answer was Yes, as the former Hawick YM rugby player soared to a photo-finish win in an exciting last showdown, which also included Hawick’s Dylan Ali. Billy Martin of Markinch (9m) came in second, and Craig Grieve of TLJT (4.5m) third.
A time of 12.10 seconds was recorded.
Talking of his victory, Paxton, who picked up £1,000 for his efforts, said: “That win has been a long time in coming but it has been well worth the wait. The fact that it was on my home track makes it even more special.
“It’s great to win but for me running at the games is not all about winning. I just love the sport and that’s why I have kept on turning out for all these years.”
Paxton, however, was not the only athlete to put victory Hawick’s way as three others shone for the grey auld toon.
Fraser Clyne (185m) gave an excellent account of himself to win the youths’ 800 metres.
On hitting the home straight, Clyne appeared to have a great deal to do to overhaul race leader, Olivia Rodden of Jed AC (285m).
Do it, however, he did. And striding out well, Clyne gradually began to close a big gap and in a thrilling finish snatched a dramatic victory on the tape in one minute 57.92 seconds.
He said : “I had to really sprint to catch the girl who was out in front of me as she was running very well. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pass her so I just had to keep going and I just managed to do this near the finish.”
Twelve-year-old Amy Campbell (19m) gave an explosive performance to win the youths’ 90m ‘B’ race. A youngster who always gives her all, Campbell raced to victory in her heat in 10.46 seconds.
From the David Rae/Che Campbell stable, Campbell then excelled even further in the final. Buzzing from the gun, she surged home in an improved time for what was her fourth win of the season.
The in-form Campbell said: “I didn’t think I would win the final as the other heat winners had faster times than me, so I just went out to do my best and I got a surprise when I won.
“It’s the first time I have won a race at the Hawick Games and I am very happy to have done this.”
Hawick youngsters Tom Fowler (39m) and Max Hope (57m) both caught the eye when romping to wins in their heats in the 200 metres ‘B’ race handicap.
In the final, the Hawick twosome both made their mark again with tip-top runs. Fowler emerging the victor and Hope coming in second.
Drumlanrig school pupil Fowler, who is trained by Billy Edgar, commented: “It was very close in the final and I wasn’t sure who had won”.
Hawick runners Keith Murray and James Mercer came in second and third in the hill race, which was won by Mark Sutherland of Lauder.
Commenting on the games, chairman David Grieve said: “The games had its biggest crowd for years and there was also a big turnout of runners and some great running. I’m just delighted with the way everything went.”
n At Helensburgh Games on Saturday, Hawick flyer Dylan Ali chalked up a magnificent double. Ali won the SGA British 90 metres Championship as well as lifting the Scottish 90 metres crown.
Ali’s brother Leon triumphed in the 200m handicap, while Leigh Marshall emerged victor of the 90m handicap.
The trio are all from the David Rae/Che Campbell camp.