Every club member regardless of ability has a chance of winning this Club event. The prize is awarded at the end of each year at the AGM for the ‘most improved’ runner over this annual programme.
The handicap is a series of 3½ mile races run over the course of each calendar year. The underlying aim is to encourage runners, and perhaps particularly new members, to take part regularly and to improve their performance. The race takes place on the first Wednesday of the month, starting from the Leisure Centre at 7:15 pm. During the winter months, the course is around the roads of the village. During the summer months, the course goes west from the Leisure Centre out to, and along the river bank. We believe that the two courses are closely comparable in distance and achievable times. There are no races in July or August.
Despite claims that the scoring requires some obscure higher mathematics, the basis is actually quite simple! Once you have run the handicap, we have on record your target time, which is the best of your times from the most recent three*(see below) previous runs. So, in the next handicap, your target is to get round within that target time. The finishers are ranked by the difference between actual and target times, with the fastest runner (on this scale) being awarded 20 points, the next fastest, 19 points, and so on. You are also awarded 2 points for each run completed in the year. Points are totalled for the best performances of the year, plus the attendance points. Currently, ‘best’ is the best 4 out of a possible 6 runs on the winter course, plus 3 out of 4 on the summer course. If you are embarrassed by your target time, then it will only take a maximum of three new runs to flush any old timing out of the target calculation. Equally, if you stay away from the handicap for a full calendar year, then your target will be discarded and you will be treated as a new starter. A new handicap runner is awarded a nominal 3 points for the first race, plus 2 attendance points.
*or will be one for a new joiner, and possibly two for a runner just starting to run the handicap regularly.
A year’s series starts in January, and runs through to December. After the December handicap, we will announce the winner, whose name will be recorded on the club’s board in the Leisure Centre. Depending on circumstances, in addition to their name being engraved on the Grace Wells Handicap Shield and added to the board on display in the Leisure Centre, the winner may be offered the chance to take up a London Marathon place if this has been made available to the Club.
For more information about the Handicap email Chris Bradfield at: Chris.Bradfield@btinternet.com