BORDERS teenager Ryan Houten is already aiming for next year’s New Year Sprint after narrowly failing to break the tape at Musselburgh this week.

The 19-year-old from Cardrona was inched out of the £4,000 first prize by Calum McWilliam from East Kilbride.

The 22-year-old broke the tape by around half a metre from Lasswade’s William Hutchison, who was given runner-up following a lengthy deliberation over the photo-finish, and Houten in third.

Despite the disappointment of yet again missing out on first, having twice finished runner-up in the past, the teenager is hungrier than ever to have another crack at winning the world’s oldest footrace.

Ryan’s coach Charlie Russell said: “Considering Ryan hasn’t raced for two years he did exceptionally well.

“He has trained hard these past few months and I have no complaints with the way he ran - there was just someone a little bit stronger in the final.

“We had a good chat and he’s got the enthusiasm back again for running - it’s up to me now to try and improve him further.”

Houten was one of six Borders athletes to make it through from the opening day’s heats at Meadowmill.

Despite impressing on the Saturday, Leithenburn’s Rianna Sterricks and West Linton’s Stacey Downie failed to progress further from the cross-ties on the Musselburgh Racecourse.

TLJT duo Cameron Caldwell and Christie Rout were also edged out of qualification to the final.

Kyle Potts from Hawick did go through as a fastest loser from the fourth and final cross-tie. And he ran well to claim seventh place in the hotly contested showcase.

But it was McWilliam who was celebrating after running his way into the history books.

The East Kilbride athlete, who finished fifth in last year’s final behind training partner Greg Kelly, said: “It’s still a bit surreal.

“I never thought it would come true.

“I’ve been in the last three finals here, so it was third time lucky.

“It all worked out perfectly this time.”

Last year’s winner, Kelly, finished just behind Houten in fourth.

Kieran Reilly from Lasswade and Larkhall’s Alexander Young claimed fifth and sixth, respectively.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the New Year Sprint next year, promoters have doubled the prize money for the final with the winner taking home £8,000.