Penistone Footpath Runners

Senior Winter Handicap

No pain, no gain

Philip Senior Winter Handicap

The club winter handicap is a series of 6 races on Tuesday evenings running from September to Christmas, organised by Keith Gordon. It starts at 18:45 on the dates below, at Penistone Leisure Centre, and is open to all senior members of the club.

From 2022 the competition has been named after Philip Senior, who sadly died in 2020. Phil never ran but was a great supporter of the club when it was first formed and was made a life member. He was always at our races helping timekeeping or recording numbers. Pauline, Phil's wife, used to run with the club, before serving as the club's treasurer for many years, and their son Michael, as a teenager, ran some fantastic times and still holds some club records. Phil helped set the winter handicap up when it was first run and organised it and did the handicapping for quite a few years.

Dates for 2023

Race Date Winner Runners
1 12 September Shaun Swallow 45
2 3 October Oliver France 39
3 24 October Sarah Norman 35
4 14 November Hannah Pedley 40
5 5 December Matthew Coldwell 22
6 19 December Nick Pepper 24

The route 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).


Final results for 2023

Results for previous years: 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 onwards

Past Winter Handicap winners (to be added to database)


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 amount is £1 per race (maximum £4 for the series). The start (and finish) is the lamppost in front of the leisure centre. The stopwatch will start 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,

A reflective vest is mandatory (Keith can provide spares on the night). Head torches are advisable. 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, typed up, and published on the club's results website. You will then see the following information (first two lines of a full set of results shown).

Pos Name Estimated Time Finish Time Actual Time +/−
1 Joe Bloggs 39:30 47:30 35:00 −4:30
2 Jane Doe 31:30 47:50 27:20 −4:10

This shows the estimated time, the time you finished after the clock started (approximately 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 calculation that gives a percentage figure on parkruns.

The 2020 age-grading factors used for the 2021 series onwards are available here.

Also on the results pages you will see WMA Adjusted Times, which show:

Position Name Actual Time Adjusted Time Points
1 Billy Jones 24:21 24:21 25
2 Mary Smith 43:19 25:39 24

The time is each runner's actual time adjusted for their age and sex. In the example above, Billy Jones is a male aged between 20 and 34 so his time is not adjusted, but Mary Smith is a 73 year-old woman so her time is adjusted a lot to allow for her age and sex. Points are 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.

Fastest male and female times for each race, and the series as a whole, are also on the results site.

The final race

The final race will determine the overall champion. To qualify, you must run at least 3 of the previous 5 races, although genuine injuries will be allowed to count if you cannot run. The 'BS rule' (see above) applies also to the final race.


  • 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

Guests (non-club members) are welcome to run, but do not qualify for prizes.

Any questions or comments contact Keith Gordon.