JEDBURGH athlete Craig Grieve hit the high spots this summer on the Borders Games scene when notching up wins at Earlston, Oxton, St Ronan’s and Tweedbank, writes John Slorance.
Winter has since drifted in and Grieve is now aiming for even greater heights at 143rd New Year Sprint handicap at Musselburgh Racecourse on Saturday and New Year’s Day.
Grieve, who runs for the TLJT club, is set to get down on his 7.75m mark in the 10th of the 12-heat event, which carries a first prize of £4,000.
The Jedburgh flyer told TheSouthern: “Training has been going well and I am feeling fit.
“I am hoping to do well as the New Year Sprint is a big occasion and if I can keep my summer running, I might do okay.
“My younger brother, Cameron, who belongs to a different running school, is also in the sprint.
“There is always great rivalry between us and it will be interesting to see who does the best.”
Another young Jed athlete bidding for the sprint title is Seb Harrison (8.50m). Harrison emerged third in last year’s final from a handicap of 7.75m and his coach, Chico Woods, is hopeful he can improve this year.
“Seb is in with a good chance of winning,” Woods said.
“He is a student in Edinburgh and has been training under the good eye of Charlie Affleck, who is a top coach in Edinburgh.
“This has been great for Seb, but he is still very much part of our Jed school.”
Woods added: “There has been no snow to clear off the track, unlike last year, so we have been able to concentrate solely on running.
“Iskan Barskanmay has been impressing and is a metre better off than he was last year (7.25m) and he should do all right, alongside Seb.”
Hawick coach and runner Ross Weir told us: “The race is wide open. Nobody really stands out, but young Jed runners Craig Grieve and Seb Harrison should be there or thereabouts.
“In our own school, Drew Bryson, who runs from 23.50m, has been training hard.
“We now have Colin Bruce of Selkirk in our school. Colin (14m) has been running for a good few years but still has a lot to offer.
“However I think it is going to be a young man’s sprint this year.”
Talented young Borderers to take to the start line in East Lothian include Martha Douglas (24m), Darren Tomlinson (16m), Scott Richardson (10m) from Jed AC, Craig Gillan (9m), Greg Turnbull (5.50m), Angus Stanners (9.25m) and Leigh Marshall (7.25m) all of TLJT, Marc Cockburn (15m) and Craig Bruce (17m) of Selkirk, Innerleithen’s Sean Grant (12m) and Callum Murray of Galashiels (9.25m).
Outwith the Borders, there are whispers that Fifer Graeme Lister of Kirkcaldy (12.5m) could be the man to do the business, while Fiona Cleat of Edinburgh (22.50m), who was second last year, could become the first lady to win the sprint.
A 90m open handicap, a 90m veterans’ handicap and youths’ sprint handicap complete the Musselburgh card.