A SELKIRK sprinter hopes he will be celebrating the new year tonight with a cold bath rather than a glass of champagne.
Instead, Colin Bruce is planning a drink of bubbly tomorrow night after triumphing in the £4,000 New Year Sprint at Musselburgh Racecourse.
The 142nd sprint, and other events in the meeting, beat the wintry weather and heats will take place as scheduled today and the cross-ties and final get under way tomorrow (New Year’s Day).
Colin, 46, finished fourth in last year’s final and is hopeful of going three places better this time round from a mark of 11.5m.
He told The Wee Paper: “I hope I am not drinking at Hogmanay because that will mean I am out. Hopefully I will be sitting in a cold bath recovering for the cross-tie and final.
“I have not given up my Hogmanay for nothing. I am reasonably hopeful of getting through the heat and I know that if I run as I can I will take some catching.”
Colin with be joined at Musselburgh by 15-year-old son Craig, who will be on the start line for the 60m and 90m handicaps.
It was through Craig’s enthusiasm to start athletics that Colin returned to the sport.
Colin told us: “I stopped running for 12 years. I had a couple of wins when I was young but having young children meant I could not continue.
“Craig then said to me three years ago he wanted to start and I thought I might as well go along too in order to get fit.”
His comeback has proved successful, with triumphs at the Jedburgh Games in 2008 and Selkirk Games this year.
And for the New Year Sprint title to be added to Colin’s CV, he is praying underfoot conditions suit him.
“Last year I ran in three different conditions for each of my races,” he told us.
“I would actually prefer a hard frost to run on than a soft boggy track, but other runners are better on a soft track. You are just in the lap of nature.”
As for other contenders for the title? “I think Leigh Marshall has a good chance of winning for a second time,” said the Thirlestane Terrace resident.
“The Jed runners are going well under Chico Woods, although Iskan Barskanmay has been pulled back a few metres. But Seb Harrison looked confident at Hawick during the summer when he won.”
Speaking of his chances, Craig, who trains with his dad under Drew Bryson at Hawick, said: “I should get through my heat if I run the way I can.
“Our training has been affected by the weather. The first week of the snow we did not manage to get to training and in the second we spent a lot of time clearing the lanes. But everyone is in the same situation.”
Other Selkirk runners due to take part in the sprint include Craig Douglas (24m), and Marc Cockburn (13m), winner of the 110m handicap at Morebattle Games last summer (pictured top of page, wearing shirt number 4).
Marc said: “Going by what I saw at the games during the summer, Jordan Maxwell could win the New Year Sprint.
“Leigh Marshall who is in the same school as Maxwell, has a chance to win, too.
“There are a good few Borders runners in the sprint – Seb Harrison, Iskan Barskanmay and Greg Turnbull – and they will all be worth watching.”
Colin Bruce, Douglas and Cockburn are also due to line up in the 90m open, while Andrew Nisbett will join Craig Bruce in the 60m and 90m youth handicaps.