Selkirk runners get set for big New Year challenge

Selkirk father and son Craig (left) and Colin Bruce prepare for the 2016 New Year Sprint
Selkirk father and son Craig (left) and Colin Bruce prepare for the 2016 New Year Sprint

A quartet of Selkirk athletes will take their marks today (Wednesday) as the heats of the 147th New Year Sprint go under starter’s orders at Meadowmill.

Father-and-son team Colin and Craig Bruce will be vying for a place in the historic Sprint final, which takes place at Musselburgh Racecourse on January 1, along with seasoned campaigner Geoff Keen and veteran speed star Craig Douglas.

Besides having the same blood running through their veins, Colin and Craig have another strong running connection – a love for running on the track and a deep-rooted passion for athletics.

Indeed, from the summer months deep into the heart of winter, the Selkirk twosome put a great deal into their chosen sport.

Of late Colin and Craig have been training in preparation for the forthcoming historical New Year event and Bruce senior – 51-year-old Colin – said: “The sprint is going to be really different this time as it is going to be run on two completely different surfaces.

“This is something really unique.

“There is a massive difference between running on a tartan track and grass, and it’s a big challenge for runners. I enjoy a challenge though and I am looking forward to the sprint.”

In recent years Colin has had his own running school which included Craig, but more recently the Selkirk runners have been travelling down the A7 for training purposes.

“Craig and I have joined the Hawick Sprint Club which has Che Campbell as coach,” explained Colin.

“Che knows his stuff and is a great coach. It has been a good move, especially for me as it has taken away the pressures of coaching.”

Colin has appeared in two New Year sprint finals in the past, as well as hitting the glory trail on the Borders Games scene in having twice won the Selkirk and Jedburgh sprints, as well as the Langholm Games sprint last summer.

“We have training on grass at Hawick and on the tartan at Tweedbank, and all of the runners from the club are hoping to do well,” he added.

Twenty-year-old Craig, who also turns out for Earlston rugby club, commented: “I have been running at the New Year since I was a youth and I enjoy it.

“Since becoming a senior I have managed to get into a New Year sprint final once and this was a big thrill for me.

“I don’t know how I will do this time, but I have been training hard and will be trying my best.”

Craig runs from a mark of 12 metres, while father Colin goes in the same heat as fellow Souter Geoff Keen, both off 15m. Also flying the flag for the Royal Burgh this week is 58-year-old Craig Douglas who has a mark of 26m.

Berwick athlete, and last year’s New Year Sprint victor, Cameron Tindle is back marker for the event and runs off 2 metres.