16 YEAR OLD PIPS RETIRING SEPTUAGENARIAN TO BIRNAM SPRINT TITLE
Shane Fenton reports from Little Dunkeld
On the day he announced his retirement from a long and successful career on the Highland Games circuit, 75 year old Walter Hunter from Falkirk was pipped on the post for the 90 metres sprint title at Birnam by 16 year old Megan Shiel[21m], Hawick who was winning her first ever race as a senior.
Veteran Hunter[22.5m] who has been a stalwart on the Highland Games sprinting scene for over 50 years looked like he was going to go out in a blaze of glory only to be denied by the Border teenager in the final strides of the race. Amy Clancy[17m], Peebles who had qualified for the final as a fastest loser was close up in third.
There was further female success in the Open 200 metres where front marker Mhairi Henderson[48m], TLJT held off all challengers to win in 21.32 seconds from former Edinburgh footballer Graeme Armstrong[40m] and the fast finishing Ian Douglas[20m], Selkirk.
Douglas[28m] gained consolation in the Open 400 metres handicap producing a strong run to come home ahead of Willie Bates,Tullibody[41m] and Michael Burns[22m], Pitreavie AC in 48.89s.
There were good fields for both the 800m and 1600m handicaps. The 800m went to Dundee Hawkhill's Rory Muir[50m] who got the better of the ever consistent Wallace McGown[95m]Sauchie and Rowan Marr[55m], Selkirk. It was another two form men who occupied the first two places in the 1600m with Wayne McItosh, Kelso eventually getting the better of John Thomson, Coaltown of Balgonie both had started from the 180m mark. John McLean[150m], Selkirk just held off backmarker Mike Deason[40m], New Mexico for third.
The games also stage to Scottish scratch championships run over the old distances of 100 yards and half a mile. There was a bit of an upset in the 100 yards with David Brand, Dunfermline Track & Field Club edging out Scottish hurdles champion Allan Scott, Glasgow with leading junior 400m hurdler Ewan Dyer, Pitreavie AC in third. Brand's winning time was 10.64s.
The Half Mile produced a thrilling finish with Colin Welsh, Kelso getting the verdict by the width of a vest from Craig Robertson, Pitreavie AC in 2m 03.29s with Mike Deason in third.
There was a Fife 1 -2 - 3 in the final of the Youth's 90 metres handicap where recent Perth winner Sinead Steel[29m], Crossgates held on from Billy Doyle[22m] Pitreavie AC and Lauren Thomson[16m] Fife AC. Doyle[40m] and Thomson[31m] again had to settle for the minor berths in the Youth's 200m handicap where victory went to Eve Huxley[30m] Innerleithen who was following up her win from Meadowbank the previous week.
The Youth's 800m handicap was won by Dylan Thomson[180m], Pitreavie AC with Olivia Rodden[500m], Jed AC taking the 1600m handicap.
The Youths also had a 100 yards championship which was won by Jason McIntosh, Kelso in 12.29 seconds.
Ground conditions were ideal for the cyclists, in contrast to 12 months ago when racing was cancelled due to the dangerous rain-sodden ground. Glasgow's Steve Jackson took the 800m with Dougie Shaw, Edinburgh the victor in the 1600m. Craig Hardie, Dalgety Bay then landed a 3200m and Deil tak the Hindmost double.
Birnam Games is famous for staging the World Haggis Eating Championship and attracts entries from the heavies and runners to members of the public. The competition was won for the 3rd year in succession by Earlston athlete Lee Goodfellow.
Lukasz Wenta from Poland won six of the seven heavy events, he was foiled of the clean sweep by Lorne Colthart, Blair Atholl who won the Caber contest and also tied with Lukasz in the 56 for height.
Check out Sharon's pics for all the action from Birnam