Club Handicaps


Calculation Rules


New 7 May 13

There are 4 Club Handicaps each year, usually in December/January, April/May, June/July and September.  They take place on Tuesday evenings, except the December/January which is a Sunday morning.

Runners start, slowest first and fastest last, and if the runners perform to their “form” everyone should finish close together.

We have a huge collection of “form” in the Performance Database used for the Performance Certificates.  We also use this “form” to calculate the Handicap start times for each runner.

Here is a summary of the rules to calculate the handicaps.  In these examples I refer to the April 2013 handicap which was run over a distance of 5 miles, but a similar method would be used for any distance, just using different factors


·         In order to calculate each person’s handicap we take their most recent 10 races but do not go any further back than 6 handicaps ago.  So for the April 2013 Handicap we analysed back to September 2011.

·         The times for those 10 races or the races since September 2011 (whichever is the lower) are converted to 5 mile times using a method similar to the performance certificates.

·         In simple terms we take each person’s race time, divide it by the world record for that distance and multiply it by the world record for 5 miles. Eg. A 10k time is divided by 26mins51secs and multiplied by 21mins20secs

·         We take the best of those factored times

·         Clearly the figure is going to be more reliable the more races someone has run.  For people who have only run 1 race we subtract 5%, for 2 races we subtract 2%, for 3 to 5 races we leave the number unchanged, for 6 or more races we add 1% 

·         We want to give the opportunity to as many people as possible to win the Handicap, so recent winners are penalised.  For the winner of the previous handicap we subtract 5%, for the one prior 4%, prior to that 3%, there is a sliding scale after that, but you get the idea

·         We then reduce this to the next lowest 15 seconds

·         Subtract it from 55 minutes, and that is your handicap start time!


So let’s do Richard Irvine’s handicap as an example

·         10 races goes back to November 2012, which is well within the 18 month limit so we just look at 10.

·         Best time was 39:47 at Abbey Dash 2012 which equates to 31:37 for 5 miles

·         Add 1% because he’s run more than 6 races but subtract 4% because he won the Autumn 2012 handicap, gives 30:39

·         Reduce to 30:30, subtract from 55:00 gives 24:30 start mark


Another runner

·         4 races in 18 months so count them all

·         Best time 36:36 for 10k equates to 29:05 for 5 miles

·         No change to time because we’ve between 3 and 6 times

·         Reduce to 29:00, subtract from 55:00 gives 26:00


Another runner

·         Only one race in 18 months

·         52:54 for 10k equates to 42:02 for 5miles

·         Subtract 5% because we’ve only one performance to go on, this gives 39:56

·         Reduce to 39:45, subtract from 55:00 gives 15:15 start mark


Ok, so what happens if someone doesn’t have any race performances in the system?  Well I ask them a recent 5k time or 5mile time or 10k time or just a race pace and I have a ready reckoner which calculates assuming they have just one run in the system.  So if their quoted performance was 52:54 for 10k, they’d get 15:15 start mark.


Note that runners with no performances are told that they can’t win the trophy, but providing they’ve given me a reasonable estimate, the 5% rule is worth approx 2 minutes and therefore if they run to form they’ll finish just below half way.


Also runners who have a listed handicap but want to have a different start mark also aren’t allowed to win the trophy.