AN HISTORIC milestone will be reached on Tuesday as the 150th New Year Sprint takes place.

The traditional race, which is held at Musselburgh Racecourse, has proved a popular fixture on the calendar for a century and a half now.

Frank Hanlon has been organising it for more than a quarter of a century and was looking forward to the big day.

Heats take place at Meadowmill on Sunday before the semi-finals and final on the first day of the New Year.

And, with 2019 marking 150 years of the New Year Sprint and 20 years at Musselburgh, the prize money on offer has been increased.

Hanlon told Courier Sport that the winner of the 110m main event could potentially leave with a total of £28,000.

The winner of the race will be presented with a medal, the Eric Liddell Memorial Trophy and the £8,000 prize for first place. Second place will receive £1,800, with the final person on the podium given £900.

And the promoter is once more offering a £20,000 bonus to anyone who beats the world professional record of 11.14 seconds over 120 yards (approximately 110m), set by Tranent’s George McNeill 47 years ago.

Now he is hoping for some decent weather on the day. He said: “You always hope Jack Frost stays away.”

This year will also see 20 men compete for the Pilmar Smith Memorial Trophy for the first time over 800 metres. Mr Smith, a former Labour Party stalwart and former vice-chairman of Heart of Midlothian Football Club, passed away last month at his home in North Berwick.

Hanlon said: “I was at his funeral and I got in touch with his family about this.

“I knew him quite well through Lothian Buses (where he was previously chairman).”

Action gets under way at Meadowmill at 11am on Sunday, with free entry and races continue into the afternoon.

Then, on January 1, the contest moves to Musselburgh Racecourse, where a full day of horse racing is also planned, with the £30,000 Hogmaneigh Hurdle the highlight.

Doors open at 10.30am, with a traditional piper’s welcome and canapés on arrival.

The final of the New Year Sprint is set to take place at about 2.45pm.

For more information and tickets, visit

The racing, including the New Year Sprint, is also televised on ITV.