Glenrothes handicapper celebrates 40 years as New Year Sprint official

Handicapper and starter Adam Crawford from Glenrrothes
Handicapper and starter Adam Crawford from Glenrrothes

A former Glenrothes athlete is celebrating his 40th year as an official race handicapper at one of the oldest events in UK athletics.

The New Year Sprint – a 110m metre handicap sprint – is in its 150th year and Adam Crawford has been the race handicapper for the last 39 meetings.

Since 1980 Adam has been tasked with ensuring a level playing field for all competitors, and is the longest serving official. This event on December 30 and January 1 will be Adam’s 40th but he can still remember his first.

“There was a bit of pressure going into the 1980 meeting, but it was self imposed,” Adam, who had previously only handicapped meetings in Fife, said.

“When the marks came out Wilson Young said that about 35 runners were in with a chance so I think I did my job.”

Adam took the 1980 meeting after controversy surrounded the 1979 event, handicapped by Bill Reay, when the powerful Wilson Young squad staged a boycott in protest at the mark given to eventual winner Tony Forster.

As the dust settled it emerged that the bookmakers - possibly because of a depressed betting market owing to an obvious favourite were demanding change. Their spokesman C.J. Brittee, winner of the sprint in 1926, called for the job to go to Adam Crawford or his brother Campbell... and the rest is history.

Asked what advice he would give to any budding handicappers as he marks his 40th year, Adam said: “Honesty will get you everywhere.”