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Pitlochry 'on it's marks' for Glorious Finale.

Shane Fenton previews what looks set to be a day of compelling action from Recreation Park.

Pitlochry Highland Games is very much a favourite games amongst the competitors and spectators alike. Whether it's for the wide range of events on offer or to soak up the amazing atmosphere generated by the big crowd, usually in the region of  8000. The high-banked seated terracing along the home straight was upgraded before last years Games and gives the crowds the opportunity to interact with the competitors like nowhere else on the circuit.

Events are always fiercely competitive but there always seems to be great camaraderie between all the competitors, with many just wanting to be there because it is the last big games of the year, and to say their farewells until the season resumes next May.

There is always a good entry for the various events and this year the Open track athletics programme has been boosted by around 30 athletes both male and female from some of the top clubs in the South of England, all are also members of the Cambridge University Hares & Hounds Athletics Association. They will join the Scots, and Irish in contesting events over 90m,200m,400m,800m,1600m and 3200m all handicaps.The better runners will compete in the SHGA Scottish 1600 metres Championship where John McFadean's record of 4 minutes 19.57 seconds has stood since 1996. That time has never been bettered anywhere on the circuit since then.

Pitlochry, regularly attracts big fields of Youth competitors. As in previous years the Youth 400 metres and 800 metres handicaps will be split into seperate races for boys and girls. The 90 metres won't be split and will be run-off in seven heats.
Once again the games will stage the Scottish athletic clubs Youth relays for 12-15 year olds with 2 boys and 2 girls in each team, with East Kilbride AC defending their title.
The introduction of the SHGA Scottish Junior Jumps Championship three years ago further emphasized Pitlochry's reputation in encouraging Youth competitors into Highland games.  The curtain comes down on the track programme for another year with the Open and Youth relays. And to add to the camaraderie on the day the cyclists also include teams in both the relays at the close of proceedings on the track.

The cycling has also attracted a good entry with a total of 18[11 Open/7 Youth] bikes, they have a full programme of events including the 3200m Championship of the Highlands.There is a boost for the junior cyclists this year with the top rider of the day being the recipient of the Sir David Butter medal and £100.

As well as the aforementioned Junior jumps competition there is also a full Open programme of Long, High and Triple Jump.
As ever the heavy event competitors will take centre stage, it is the final event in the season long Perthshire competition while in the Open competition many of the countries top throwers will once again do battle over the various disciplines. There will also be competitions for under-15s and under-17s as well as locals.

The Tug o War at Pitlochry is always one of the best competitions of the season and this year has the added attraction of being the British Championship.The team from Strathardle will be defending their title.

Many of the prizes in the season long SHGA leagues are still up for grabs and that will add extra spice to the competition on the day.

Add in the childrens fun races, Highland Perthshire schools relay, highland dancing, pipe band contest and solo piping a great days entertainment is in prospect.

Published: 2018-09-06 11:39:12