News

18 May 2022

AT LAST - the good news we have all been waiting for!

Meadowbank management have now taken charge of the new Sports Complex and they have confirmed that the 153rd New Year Sprint can go ahead on SATURDAY 30 JULY and SUNDAY 31 JULY.

So that's over 10 weeks to get into peak shape for the athletics event of the year!

15 May 2022

Thank you to Gordon Bury, East Kilbride, for digging into the archives and sending various items of interest relating to New Year Sprint results from the 1970s and 1960s. This will prove invaluable in helping extend the New Year Sprint results on the website.

There are still some big gaps, so information for the following years will be much appreciated:

  • 1980 (all results)
  • 1979 (all placings for the final and cross-ties. Heat entrants)
  • 1978 (all results)
  • 1977 (entrants in the heats and cross-ties)
  • 1976 (all results)
  • 1975 (all results)
  • 1974 (heat entrants and results)
  • 1971 (all results)
  • 1970 (all results)

Copies of any programmes from the 1970s and 1960s are very welcome. If they are marked up with results, even better.

If you can help out, please email the programmes to webmaster@newyearsprint.com.

1 May 2022

The handicaps for the events at the 153rd New Year Sprint meeting were set back in the winter. By the time the New Year Sprint takes place, many entrants will have competed in Games on the RSHGA and Borders Athletics circuits and in Scottish Athletics competitions during the summer.

The handicapper will take into account placings and performances at these meetings and will adjust the handicaps already assigned for the 153rd accordingly.

Nonetheless, it is an entrant's responsibility to inform the handicapper of any improved performances since their entry form was submitted; these performances being times recorded in any competition - this is rule 10 on the entry form. Please note that point 6 on the entry form gives the Promoter the right to alter any start allocated to any competitor at any time during the meeting.

A full list of the up-to-date handicaps will be published about a week before the meeting.

28th April 2022

Promoter Frank Hanlon has received the latest round of unwelcome news from Meadowbank management. They are still waiting for the sports centre to be handed over following resolution of Building Control issues, so can't provide definite dates yet. It is now looking unlikely that the new stadium will be open before July.

Nevertheless, Frank has agreed with Meadowbank management that the last weekend of July could be pencilled in for the 153rd New Year Sprint. This weekend has the benefit of not clashing with "local" Highland Games or Borders Games.

Frank extends his apologies to all entrants and would-be spectators for the continuing delay.

Further updates will be published as and when more information is available.

18th April 2022

The New Year Sprint heat draw took place today.

Left to right: Frank Hanlon, Bob Inglis, Stuart McFarlane and Archie Affleck.

At the draw, from left to right: Frank Hanlon, Bob Inglis, Stuart McFarlane and Archie Affleck

14th April 2022

A big thank you to Grant Kennedy, Auchterarder, who answered the call for copies of marked up New Year Sprint programmes from the 1970s. These programmes, handed down from his father, the late Bob Kennedy of Kelso who was the winner of the 800 metres Open Handicap at the 104th in 1973, will be invaluable in extending the New Year Sprint results on the website.

In addition to the programmes received from Grant, ones for the following years are also sought: 1970, 1971, 1974 - first day, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.

If you can help out, please email copies of the programmes to webmaster@newyearsprint.com.

11th April 2022

The good news is that Promoter Frank Hanlon has recovered quickly from his COVID-19 infection and is back to his normal self. Frank expresses his gratitude for all the messages of support.

Next, the venue for the heat draw for the New Year Sprint has been re-booked. The draw is now scheduled to take place on Monday 18th April at 12 noon at:

  • Justinlees Inn, Eskbank, Dalkeith
  • Come and witness this historic event first hand and take the opportunity to meet up with old friends. All are welcome.

    The draw will be published on this website later in the day.

    Finally, Meadowbank management will be convening in about 10 days and we hope they will be in a position to offer Frank dates for the 153rd New Year Sprint. Expect another announcement then.

    3rd April 2022

    Promoter Frank Hanlon tested positive for COVID-19 today. As a result, Frank has entered a period of self-isolation at home, according to NHS Scotland guidance.

    This means that tomorrow's draw of the New Year Sprint heats has regrettably been postponed. A new date will be announced when Frank has recovered sufficiently and is able to end self-isolation.

    Thankfully Frank is experiencing relatively mild symptoms, so hopefully he will be back to his normal self quite soon.

    13th March 2022

    With developments at the new the Meadowbank Sports Centre gaining momentum, Promoter Frank Hanlon has set a mark for the Heat Draw of the 153rd New Year Sprint.

    The draw will take place on Monday 4th April at 12 noon. The venue is:

  • Justinlees Inn, Eskbank, Dalkeith
  • Come and witness this historic event first hand and take the opportunity to meet up with old friends.

    All are welcome.

    11th March 2022

    With Meadowbank Management still awaiting resolution of issues raised by Building Control, it is now clear that the new athletics stadium won't be open for business in April, as had been hoped.

    Promoter Frank Hanlon is now targeting mid to late May for the 153rd New Year Sprint.

    Further updates will be published as and when more information is available.

    6th March 2022

    Can you help?

    The webmaster is looking to add the full results of the New Year Sprint for 1970 - 1979 and 1980 to the website. In order to do this, he would like copies of marked up programmes, preferably showing runners/non runners (though this isn't essential). If you can help, please email webmaster@newyearsprint.com.

    18th February 2022

    Promotor Frank Hanlon received the unwelcome news at his weekly meeting with Meadowbank Management that a March date for the 153rd New Year Sprint is no longer possible. Frank was advised that, as things stand, dates in April should be made available for the meeting. Frank is awaiting confirmation of which dates are available.

    Frank apologies for this delay and the continuing uncertainty surrounding when the 153rd will take place.

    Rest assured that Frank is doing his utmost to ensure that the 153rd is held as soon as possible and that as much notice will be given as possible.

    Further updates will be published as and when more information is available.

    17th January 2022

    In the last few days Meadowbank management have reiterated their commitment to staging the 153rd New Year Sprint meeting in the first quarter of 2022, which almost certainly means sometime in March. As yet, they have not offered specific dates. Further updates will be published as and when more information is available.

    Meanwhile the handicap lists for the Youths events have been published:

  • 90 metres Youths Handicap.
  • 800 metres Youths Handicap.
  • 200 metres Youths Handicap - aged 9 - 13 years.
  • 200 metres Youths Handicap - aged 13 - under 16 years.
  • These conclude the handicap lists.

    10th January 2022

    As we settle into the new year, Promoter Frank Hanlon is still awaiting possible meeting dates from Meadowbank management. Nonetheless, the handicap lists for the following supporting events are now available:

  • 800 metres Open Handicap.
  • 1 Mile Open Handicap.
  • 200 metres Open Handicap.
  • 90 metres Veterans Handicap.
  • 90 metres Ladies Handicap.
  • The handicap lists for the youths events will follow next week.

    17th December 2021

    For the first time in sixteen years, the handicap list for the 153rd New Year Sprint sees a runner on the scratch mark, with the honour falling to Krishawn Aiken who was fourth in this summer's New Year Sprint. E. Evelyn of Australia was the last runner allocated the scratch mark - back in 2006 at the 137th meeting. Returning to the present, this summer's winner, Molly Reville, is back 8.5 metres on 17.5 metres with second placed Janine Boyle back 7.5 metres on 15.5 metres and third placed Sarah Malone back 7 metres on 15 metres. Starts are typically 4 or 5 metres less compared with the 152nd New Year Sprint.

    The full handicap list for the 153rd New Year Sprint is here.

    11th December 2021

    The current forecast is for the New Year Sprint to be held sometime in March 2022, almost certainly not before. Whilst Meadowbank management are unable to commit to any dates, they appear confident that the new track will be ready to see action before the end of first quarter next year. Further updates will be published as and when more information is available.

    On a more definite note, the handicaps for the New Year Sprint are due to be published in less than a week's time, on Friday 17th December.

    13th November 2021

    Entries for the 153rd New Year Sprint meeting officially close today.

    However, if you completely forgot about posting your entry form, promoter Frank Hanlon will probably accept it as long as it arrives no later than Tuesday...

    9th November 2021

    It is with regret that we record the death of Ricky Dunbar, former New Year Sprint winner and the foremost professional sprinter of the 1960s.

    Dunbar first made his mark at New Year at the the 93rd meeting in 1962 when he claimed runner's up spot, from a start of 6.5 yards, behind the strong finish of Charlie Harrison of Ashington, 7 yards, who won in 11.58 seconds.

    Despite being 2 yards worse off the following year at the 94th meeting, Dunbar went one better, winning the 120 yards race in 11.39 seconds which equated to "comfortably inside even time". Dunbar had to pull out all the stops in the final to overhaul Dave Campbell of Ballingry, 8.5 yards, in the final few strides. Victoria Park Stadium, Newtongrange, was the setting for Dunbar's victory, a couple of years before the Sprint returned to New Powderhall Grounds.

    Dunbar's success at New Year was a springboard to higher levels of performance which culminated in a British Record of 11.34 seconds for 120 yards set at Jedburgh Games in 1965, a sterling run of "6.5 yards inside even time".

    Later that year, on the advice of ace coach Jim Bradley, Dunbar travelled to Australia to seek further challenges in a more welcoming climate (weather-wise).

    This decision paid off as Dunbar was successful in numerous handicap and invitation events, though he was too well handicapped to achieve glory at the famous Stawell Gift, Australia's premier pro athletics meeting.

    However, Dunbar went on to win sprint championships at a range of distances at both state and national level in Australia.

    Perhaps the pinnacle of Dunbar's career came in 1968 when he won bronze medal in the World Sprint Championship.

    Dunbar retained his fitness and competitive levels well into seniority and was still winning races at the age of 79.

    Ricky Dunbar died aged 82 in Melbourne in his adopted country.

    Here's Ricky Dunbar's obituary in the Scotsman.

    The article dated March 2019 in Anent Scottish Running is an interesting read.

    Here's the famous action photo of Ricky taken before leaving for Australia, from John Franklyn's book Gold at New Year.

    Action shot of Ricky Dunbar.

    6th November 2021

    The 153rd New Year Sprint meeting is due to be staged at the new Meadowbank Stadium, which is still under construction.

    Unfortunately progress at the venue has slipped, so the proposed meeting dates of 15th/16th January are no longer feasible.

    Promoter Frank Hanlon is in regular contact with the venue management who are currently unable to provide new dates.

    Frank apologises sincerely for this delay, especially coming hot on the heels of the 152nd meeting that was delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

    Please be assured that the meeting will go ahead, and it will happen as soon as is practically possible. The new dates will be published as soon as they are available.

    Please note that the closing date for entries remains the 13th November, which means just one week to go!

    29th October 2021

    We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Geof Harrington, winner of the 82nd New Year Sprint held in January 1951 at the New Powderhall Grounds.

    Geof accomplished another feat at that meeting, setting a new record of 11.85 secs for the 130 yard handicap, when running off a start of 7.5 yards. This performance in the cross-tie of "4 yards inside even time" saw Geof overcome the legendary Australian Eric Cumming, who was giving Geof a 4 yards start.

    The local council of Geof's home of Brownhills in the English Midlands recognised these outstanding achievements, and the prestige they had brought to the area, and feted Geof and treated him like the hero he was.

    Following his professional running career, Geof went on to lead a remarkable life, becoming a highly respected snooker and billiards referee, in which capacity he met many of the world's top players. Latterly, Geof's interest in the history of the local community saw him become an authoritative figure, giving talks and writing books on the subject.

    This article contains a fascinating interview with Geof that includes details of the two Powderhall "preps" that he underwent.

    Geof passed away just a month before his 100th birthday.

    Here's Geof winning his cross-tie in that record time. The image is from "Around Pelsall and Brownhills in old photos" by David F. Sodden.

    Geof Harrington winning 82nd New Year Sprint in 1951 at the New Powderhall Grounds.

    27th October 2021

    The RSHGA is delaying opening their registration scheme until spring 2022 and until they are fairly sure they will be having a full 2022 season. Athletes should follow the guidance on the New Year Sprint entry form and take out an RSHGA day registration.

    11th October 2021

    Bob Inglis will be the handicapper for the 153rd New Year Sprint. Adam Crawford, who is retiring this year after 40 years at the helm, will be on hand to assist Bob as needed.

    11th October 2021

    Entries are open for the 153rd New Year Sprint meeting. Last year's entrants should have already received an entry form in the post. The entry form can be downloaded from here.

    8th October 2021

    The 153rd New Year Sprint is due to be held at the new Meadowbank Stadium on the weekend of 15th and 16th January 2022. Click here for details.

    7th July 2021

    Here's confirmation of the lucky winners in the 1870 Club Sweepstake:

    Place Prize Ticket No Winner Town
    1 £1000 0231 G. Eland

    Great Broughton
    Great Broughton
    2 £500 0194 E. Kivlin

    Portobello
    Portobello
    3 £250 1481 D. Rothwell

    Manchester
    Manchester
    4 £100 0289 D. Coppola

    Macmerry
    Macmerry
    5 £100 0532 M. Steede

    Jedburgh
    Jedburgh
    6 £100 1351 Cosmo's Ltd

    Bonnyrigg
    Bonnyrigg
    7 £100 1236 S. Cunningham

    Haddington
    Haddington
    8 £100 0060 Harrison, c/o J. Steede

    Jedburgh
    Jedburgh

    5th July 2021

    Check out the following for the 152nd New Year Sprint meeting:

  • Results of all the finals.
  • Full results of all rounds of the New Year Sprint.
  • Meeting report.
  • 4th July 2021

    It might have been 6 months late, postponed several times and dogged by COVID restrictions, but the 152nd New Year Sprint has finally happened!

    In a hard fought final, newcomer Molly Reville of Edinburgh AC proved just too strong, edging out Janine Boyle of TLJT and fellow clubmate Sarah Malone to win the prestigious title and £5000 first prize.

    The full results and meeting report will be available tomorrow. Meanwhile, in the year of female domination, here are the leading results:

    NEW YEAR SPRINT

    1. Molly Reville 10.83 secs
    2. Janine Boyle 10.85 secs
    3. Sarah Malone 10.90 secs
    4. Krishawn Aiken 10.94 secs
    5. Douglas Young 11.02 secs
    6. Sol Stewart 11.05 secs
    7. Euan Smith 11.11 secs
    8. Alessindro Schenini 11.25 secs

    LADIES 90 METRES

    1. Sofia Vidak 8.82 secs
    2. Layla Zuill 9.13 secs
    3. Nina Cessford 9.24 secs

    VET 90 METRES

    1. Nina Cessford 8.94 secs
    2. Ian Horsburgh 9.23 secs
    3. Fiona Jordan 9.31 secs