SHANE FENTON reports from Moss O' Balloch Park
The rain may have been incessant but it failed to dampen the enthusiasm of spectators and competitors alike who made their way to the Moss O' Balloch Park for the annual Loch Lomond Highland Games.
It was certainly a day for water-proofs and umbrella's for those spectating with those competing having to endure a quagmire like track which soon had many areas of standing water as the unrelenting rain persisted.
Fears that the elements might curtail the numbers of those participating were unfounded with good fields turning out for all of the events.
There was a full eight lane line up for the opening SHGA Scottish 80 metres Championship and it saw Greg Turnbull, Jedburgh power down the the rain soaked surface to break the tape in 9.27 seconds. There was a photo finish for the runner up spot which resulted in Craig Knowles,Edinburgh AC edging out Callum McWilliam ,East Kilbride AC.
The Open 90 metres handicap which carried a first prize of £400 was run off in four heats. In a thrilling finish to the final it was Steven Park[10.5m],Edinburgh who landed the spoils in 9.36 seconds holding off the strong late challenge of Greg Turnbull[8.25] and Callum McWilliams[8.50].
There was local success in the Open 200 metres handicap with David Allan all out to fend off all challengers in 22.78. Callum McWilliams, a New Year Sprint finalist for the past two years, was once again in the prizes finishing runner up just ahead of Craig Knowles. The latter eventually got his head in front producing an impressive run in desperate underfoot conditions to come away from the field off the final bend to win the Open 400 metres in 50.80. Inverclyde duo Mark McGhee and Scott McCluckie filled the minor berths,
There was an excellent turn out for all the middle distance events with double figures numbers in the 800m,1600m and 3200m. 16 runners contested the 800 metres where victory went to Craig Prior, Clydesdale Harriers. Running from the 100 metres mark Prior emerged from the pack to break the tape in 1:58.05. Willie Bates[105m],Tullibody finished runner up with backmarker Luke Traynor,Giffnock North coming through strong and late to snatch third place from the 25 metres mark.
Later in the afternoon Traynor showed why he is one of Scotland's leading endurance runners with victory in both the Open 1600 metres and 3200 metres handicaps.
Running from the 20 metres mark in the 1600 metres he worked his way through the field before hitting the front down the back straight for the final time and going on to stop the clock in 4:34.43.Fraser Logan,Belgrave made a bold bid but had to settle for second with Tyler White,Aberdeen AC in third.
The 3200 metres was run with the track the worst it had been all day, it didn't deter Traynor who recently graduated from University of Tulsa thrilling the crowd with a classy performance.
Running from the scratch mark he had to run all out to overhaul Angela Bell,Forfar with a 150 metres to run, Angela, who started from the 630 metres mark was collared close home for second place by Aiden ThomsonCentral AC.Traynor's winning time was 9:44.31.
There was three full heats in the Youths' 90 metres handicap where victory went to Chris Wilson[11m] Helensburgh AC who clocked 10.32. Running from a reduced handicap of 14 metres in the Youths' 200 metres Wilson had to settle for second place behind backmarker Josh Abbott, Chirnside who showed an impressive piece of running from the 12 metres mark.to win in 24.84s Hannah Steel,Lothian RC finished third.
Running from the front mark of 220 metres Steven Bates,Tullibody produced his best run of the season to win the Youths' 800 metres handicap.He made every post the winning post to stave off the challenge of Hannah Steel[195m] and Caleb McLeod[180m] who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The cycle races were a war of attrition on the bottomless under-wheel terrain. It was a day when all nine riders deserved a medal. The opening 800 metres handicap saw Perth rider Paul Anderson win his first ever race on the games circuit. Stevie Jackson,Glasgow then took the 1600 metres before Charles Fletcher Grantown on Spey went on to land a 3200 metres and Deil tak the Hindmost double. The latter was a desperate affair as the finishers came home at long intervals. The race ran it's full course although in hindsight the idea that it should be one rider out and the other eight race to the finish might have been more sensible!
I still await the full heavy event results but there is a new World champion with Lukasz Wenta taking the title. Unfortunately Scott Rider who had won for the previous four years saw his challenge curtailed due to an injury. Full results to follow.
Steven Park won both the Long and High Jumps, Greg Turnbull and Alexandria Burns,Helensburgh AC finished runner up and third.
Published: 2017-07-15 22:07:49