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Adam Crawford celebrates 40 years as ''POWDERHALL SPRINT'' handicapper.

Adam Crawford has  celebrated 40 years as handicapper of the famous New Year ''Powderhall'' Sprint.
Uninterupted by war or weather the the event has taken place continuosly since 1870.

The race is the most prestigious run under SHGA rules, and this year, with the event celebrating it's 150th anniversay promoter Frank Hanlon doubled all prize money and race winner Greg Kelly East Kilbride AC sprinted to an £8000 first prize.

Adam, who is a past President of the SHGA and a current General Council member began handicapping the race in 1980.

The article below written by Gordon Bury featured in this years programme at the two-day event.

''Be your own man,'' Those were the promoter Mary Young's words of advice in 1979 as she and son Tom gave the job of handicapping the New Year Sprint meetingto a seasoned runner but relative novice in his new role-Adam Crawford.

Fast forward four decades and they're still words the Glenrothes man and adheres to for the 2019 running of the the New Year Sprint - his 40th as the handicapper - making him the longest serving official in this key role.
Adam took over for 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. There 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.

''There was a bit of pressure going into the 1980 meeting, but it was self imposed,''said Adam, who had previously only handicapped meetings in Fife. ''When the marks came out Wilson Young said that about 35 runners were in with a chance so i think i did my job.'', he added.
Taking a bit of flak goes with the territory of handicapping. Mrs Young, whose husband Tom snr was handicapper for 32 years, warned ''You'll have no friends'' interestingly Adam said that no backmarker had complained to him about his mark - even if, on the odd occasion they might have had reason to!
Steeped in New Year folklore even before he accepted the role of handicapper Adam was no stranger to the mystique of the event.

From a time when he was still competing, Adam recalled when Tom McBeath of Dunbeath arrived in Glenrothes on a sponsored preparation for the New Year meeting. The Highlander wore a balaclave to to protect his identity at the track but it took Adan no time at all to recognise him.Cover was blown!

Adam himself was 3rd in the 90 metres at the New Year and enjoyed wins at summer Highland and Border Games. His foray at handicapping came at Thornton Games and 2019 will be his 44th time at the helm then.
As he marks his 40th handicapping of the New Year Sprint and the sport says congratulations to Adam, has he any advice for budding handicappers out there?


Published: 2019-01-03 15:47:02