“I am not a great runner and I know I have not got any style. But when I run I run my guts out and give everything I have.
“Apart from coming in third in the mile at Earlston Games at the start of the season, I have never come near to winning a race and normally finish way at the back. So getting a win today has been a big thrill for me and I feel on top of the world.”
These were the after-race comments of veteran Hawick athlete Gary Law, after the 45-year-old had upset the applecart in winning the 1600m handicap at Peebles Beltane Sports on Sunday.
It was a victory that came out of the blue, as the big-hearted Law, on most occasions, is at the tail-end of the race at the finish. The time around, however, ‘The Lawman’ ruled supreme.
Competing from a big mark of 410m, he led the field from the gun. And that’s the way it stayed. With the crowd behind him all the way, the Ged Smith-trained Law simply dug in deep.
His lead was cut down dramatically in the latter stages, but showing great grit and determination, Law hung on to his first place spot to gain the honours in four minutes 22.25 seconds. Colin Welsh of Kelso (40m) emerged second and Craig Robertson of Pitreavie (40m) was third.
Following his triumph a tired but thrilled Law told the Hawick News: “I only started running to keep fit and asked Ged Smith, who was a runner, to help me out.
“At the start I had no intention of running at the games, but somehow this came about and Ged is now my coach.
“I’m glad I took up athletics, for although I find it hard, I enjoy competing on the circuit, and this afternoon I have enjoyed it even more.
“On the last lap I kept expecting runners to pass me, which is the normal thing, but this just didn’t happen and I kept my lead to win.
“I am absolutely shattered, but I am absolutely chuffed as well. Ged Smith has helped me a lot with my training, and the crowd were a big help in getting me my win today. I could hear people cheering me, and shouting me on, and thought this was just great.”
Keith Murray also put victory Hawick’s way in giving an excellent account of himself to take pride of place in the 3,200 metres handicap.
Murray (420m) ran well throughout to emerge a clear winner, ahead of Kelso’s Chris Black (140m) and John Thomson of Coaltown (240m) in nine minutes 48.61 seconds.
Talking of his winning show, Murray said: “I was pleased with my running, but I almost dropped out at the end of the race.
“During the early laps I felt a twinge in my hamstring and thought about stopping. Luckily I decided to run on, and I’m glad I did, as I got my first ever win at Peebles.”
Hawick sprinters Ross Weir (21m) and David Hush (21.5m) both blitzed to impressive wins in their heats in the 110m handicap.
Producing his best running of the season, Weir then booked a spot in the final when surging to victory in his cross-tie. Hush also secured a last run by emerging one of the three fastest losers of the cross-ties.
In the final, however, Hush, who had shown up well in his two opening runs, jumped the gun. This resulted in the former Hawick Royal Albert footballer and one-ime junior rugby player being pulled a metre.
The final, in turn, was a real thriller, which ended in a photo finish. The judges verdict went the way of recent Earlston Games sprint winner Callum Murray of TLJT (10m). Weir came in a very close second, and Bruce Scott of TLJT (19m) was third.
Jack Wilson (29m), from the Billy Edgar stable, looked the part in sailing to victory in the heats of the one-lap youths’ handicap. Come the final, Wilson showed up again with another top-notch run, but had to be content with second place in being edged out by Kelso’s Euan Pettigrew (21m).
In the junior 90 metres handicap, Hawick schoolgirl Philippa Robertson (9m) qualified for the final, after winning her heat in style. Matt Dougall of TLJT (7.5m), however, gained the honours in a sizzling final. .