PFRAC Winter Handicap

Winter Handicap 2017–18

The club winter handicap is a series of 8 races on Tuesday evenings over the winter, organised by Keith Gordon.

Final results for the series are here.

Keith’s final report

A disappointing turnout of 42 runners for the last race despite a pleasant enough evening, albeit a bit breezy on the tops. Obviously this helped Andrew who, in his first race for a few years, ‘breezed’ to a win by over two and a half minutes. Not that this mattered, as tonight was really about who won the championship. Jill was second in the race with a much improved time but the big winner was Shelley Gill who can claim the winter handicap championship. Second place goes to Sue Hall and third to Simon Pike. All the qualifying runners are in bold on the results. Times in general were down due to the wind but yet again Alan Knox was consistent enough to take 3rd place in the WMA on the night and first place overall. 2nd in WMA was Richard Mackie and 3rd was Matt Robinson. They will be joined as trophy winners by Laura Gill and Damian Kilpin as fastest lady and man. Congratulations to everyone. A great series blessed by good weather and many thanks to the helpers. Martyn, Janet in particular and Paul for the excellent results service. It might seem a long way off but it will be no time at all before it all begins again. Enjoy the summer and don’t forget it’s the Winter (Christmas) Handicap (the other one) this coming Sunday. Details here.


Dates for 2017-18 are listed below.

Race Date Runners Winner
1 19 September 2017 63 Kate Booth
2 10 October 2017 58 Nick Whittingham
3 24 October 2017 56 Carl Matthewman
4 14 November 2017 56 Colin Porteous
5 5 December 2017 49 Rebecca Timms
6 19 December 2017 48 Marysia Pozorski
7 9 January 2018 44 Myfanwy Cross
8 23 January 2018 42 Andrew Shiel

The course is approximately 4½ miles long with about 600 feet of ascent. It starts from Penistone Leisure Centre and runs up to the windmills, back to the main road, up Rockside and back to the leisure centre, or in reverse of this. Odd numbered races go in a clockwise direction (ie up Rockside first) and even numbered races go in an anti-clockwise direction (ie up the steps and past the Crystal Palace pub first). (route map).

The event starts at 18:45 and the intended finish time is 19:37. The aim is for all runners to pass the finish line at the same time. To achieve this all runners are given a handicap based on their ability.

When the handicap list is published (usually the weekend before) you will see three times: Your expected time to run the 4½ miles; your handicap; and the time that you will start.

So if, for example, Keith expects you to run the course in 35 minutes 30 seconds: this means your start time is calculated as 19:37:00 – 00:35:30 = 19:01:30.

As the event starts at 18:45, your handicap will be 19:01:30 – 18:45:00 = 16 minutes 30 seconds.

This appears as:

  Estimated Handicap Start time
Alan Runner 35:30 16:30 19:01:30

On the night

You must register, so the organisers know how many runners are out. This is essential as we do not want anyone left in a ditch all night.

There is no cost but you may make a voluntary contribution. Suggested amounts are 50p per race or £3 for all 8 races.

The clock and the stopwatch will start ticking from 00:00:00 at 18:45.

You will be called a minute or so before you are due to set off, but IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE AT THE START. Don’t blame the officials if you are having a chat and miss it.

The start (and finish) is the lamppost in front of the leisure centre.

A reflective vast is mandatory (Keith can provide spares on the night). Head torches are optional. The run is in darkness on quiet back roads. Runners run at their own risk and are advised to take care, particularly if it is icy. The road surface is rough in places. Extra care should be taken on the final run in as it is on the main road. Keep on the pavement.

When you finish

Just after you cross the line, you will be given a card with your finish position on it. At some stage you must take this to the recorder in the leisure centre who will write your name down by your finish position. Don’t forget to leave the numbered card.

The first three back will get either a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates (but see the note below) and occasionally, if Keith feels he has got a person’s handicap terribly wrong and they struggle in minutes after everyone else, a compensatory box of chocolates.

Once all runners are in, the times will be added to the finish list, these will be placed on the spreadsheet which will be published on the PFR Facebook page and on this page. You will then see the following information (first two lines of a full set of results shown).

    Est H’cap Finish Actual +/–
1 Joe Bloggs 39:30 12:30 47:30 35:00 –4:30
2 Jane Doe 31:30 20:30 47:50 27:20 –4:10

This shows the estimated time, your handicap, the time you finished after the start (18:45), the actual time you took to run the course and the difference between this and Keith’s estimated time.

The ‘BS rule’

In the example above Joe Bloggs has run 4½ minutes quicker than Keith expected. If, in Keith’s judgment, he feels that he has been wrongly informed about an injury or someone’s ability then he can apply the ‘BS rule’ and not allow a prize. It is a handicap race after all, and to be fair to all runners, everyone needs to finish within a narrow window of times.

WMA times and championship

Alongside the handicap there is also a WMA championship. This is based on ‘World Master’s Athletics’ tables which are used to give a comparative performance time based on age and gender. This is the same thing that gives a percentage figure on parkruns.

The 2015 age-grading factors used for the 2015-16 series onwards are available here.

Also on the results spreadsheet you will see, on the right-hand side:

    Time Points        
1 Billy Jones 24:51 25        
2 Mary Smith 26:12 24        

The time is each runner’s actual time adjusted for their age and sex. Points will be allocated on the following basis: 25 points for the best WMA time, 24 points for second WMA time and so on down to 5. All WMA times thereafter will receive 5 points.

The final race

The final race will determine the overall champion. To qualify, you must run at least 5 of the previous 7 races, although genuine injuries will be allowed to count if you cannot run. The ‘BS rule’ (see above) applies also to the final race.

The prizes are

  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall winter championship
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd WMA championship
  • Fastest lady on actual times over the series
  • Fastest man on actual times over the series

Any questions or comments contact Keith Gordon.


Winter Handicap 2016–17

Final winter handicap result: 1 – Thomas Hudson; 2 – Peter Claydon; 3 – Ashleigh Bowskill

WMA series result: 1 – Shaun Dimelow; 2 – Martin Ball; 3 – Bill Phillips

Fastest lady: Julia Johnson (32:55); Fastest man: Shaun Dimelow (26:19)

Results for all the races and final tables for the series are here.

Winter Handicap 2015–16

Final winter handicap result: 1 – Nell Law; 2 – Nick Whittingham; 3 – Steve Sanders

WMA series result: 1 – Barbara Haigh; 2 – Martin Ball; 3 – Alan Knox

Fastest lady: Lesley Latchem (32:58); Fastest man: Shaun Dimelow (26:42)

Results for all the races and final tables for the series are here.

Winter Handicap 2014–15

Final winter handicap result: 1 – Matt Goulding; 2 – Alan Knox; 3 – Simon Pike

WMA series result: 1 – Martin Booth; 2 – Pete Stanley; 3 – Barbara Haigh

Fastest lady: Lesley Latchem (33:03); Fastest man: Andy Swift (26:05)

Results for all the races are here and WMA times and totals for the series are here.

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