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All roads lead to Braemar & Blairgowrie

From Braemar to Blairgowrie by SHANE FENTON

From the Princess Royal & Duke of Fife Memorial Park to Bogles Field that is the scenario for competitors, officials and spectators alike on the Highland Games circuit this weekend.

This is the last double header of the season with Braemar Games on Saturday[2nd] and Blairgowrie on Sunday[3rd]. With Blair being on the road back from Braemar many make a weekend of it.
Quite a few take the opportunity to celebrate the season by taking in the entertainment and joining in the revelry of the famous Braemar Night in Blairgowrie's Wellmeadow.
For those who make it out the next day to Bogles Field - which is situated in on Lethendy Road - the hangover usually adds to the handicap for many!

Competition looks set to be keen with many of the SHGA  points league's still in the balance for both winners and places.

A number of the top athletes have contested the track & field events at Braemar over the years, this year will be no exception.  The games have hosted all the top throwers down the years including Capes, Rowe, the Anderson's, Davidson,Robb etc.

The Royal meeting also stages the SHGA  80 metres championship and has been won by many of Scotland's top sprinters in the past, the race was formerly the 100 yards championship and was won by the likes of Dave Deas, in 1969, the legendary George McNeil is also a former winner as is Flying Fifer Bert Oliver who ran 9.8 in 1976.
All are former New Year Sprint winners as is William Snoddy USA who won the 80m in 1986 in 8.91s, then won the 90m handicap from scratch, in 9.81. Snoddy once held the record as the World's fastest man[wind assisted] over 100m.
From 2001, the race was dominated by former Scottish champion Nick Smith who took the title 10 years in succession,Smith who won the New Year Sprint in 2000 won in 2002 recording a time of 8.52.
Braemar will stage events for Youth athletes  [9-15yrs] including running,jumping and a relay, with hopefully the latter being staged in front of the Royal party. The jumping events are always popular and last year Allan Hamilton landed the treble of HJ,LJ AND TJ on his way to being named the SHGA Athlete of the Year.

Blairgowrie Games also stakes it's claim to a piece of track history. In 2005 Sarah Inglis, Lothian Running Club, [then 14] became and still is the only female athlete to win a mixed SHGA handicap race from the actual scratch mark. Sarah, who is currently working as a fitness coach at a tennis club in Vancouver, Canada gave starts to nine males and three females on her way to winning the Youths 1600 metres Handicap at Bogles Field. Sarah is currently the top ranked female half marathon runner in Scotland for 2017 following a 74.51 run in Lisbon back in March.

Blairgowrie has a full programme of running events Open 90,200,400,800,1600 and 3200 metres and Youths 90m,200m,800m and 1600m all handicaps. Many of the 'heavies' who were at Braemar will also be in action.

Both games also stage hill races which have been won in the past by some of the top names in that branch of the sport.
For Games enthusiasts, this promises to be a not to be missed weekend.

Published: 2017-09-01 13:24:00