When I ran my first race after returning to running a couple of years ago, the results email contained a link to “Claim my Handicap”. I’m a numbers geek so I headed straight to runbritainrankings.com to find out more. Based on a similar theory to that in golf, you get a handicap to compare your results across multiple races, distances etc.
My first handicap was 16.1 and it was a great feeling when, after my next race, it dropped to 15.2. Progress! Over the past couple of years I’ve looked forward to seeing the progression after each run. Could I improve any more?
One problem was that I could not work out how to calculate my score. Why was it sometimes it seemed to drop quickly and others not? Why did one, seemingly easy, run get a higher difficulty rating than one that sapped every ounce of energy? Then in December I came across the answers in this forum. With my score at around 11, I started to wonder if I could get my Handicap below 10? My target for 2019 was now set!
With my new found knowledge of the system, I knew to go sub-10 was going to need either: about a minute parkrun PB or some good times in tough conditions. Both were going to take some hard work!
Then, in what I thought were tougher conditions, I pulled out a 25s PB at the end of January. Frustratingly though a lack of runners with handicaps meant the run got scored with a difficulty of only 1.0. This reduced the impact! However, I backed up that time with good times in really tough conditions (and hence high handicaps) at Storthes Hall and the wind of Pocket! When I picked up my unexpected PB two weeks ago, suddenly my handicap was sat at 10.1. My challenge now didn’t look too far off.
I knew to get below 10 I needed to back up the PB. Therefore I had thrown in some sprint interval training this week as well. 1km in and I could see the benefit if this, the question was could I hold the fast pace, especially over the muddied parts of Pocket! As I crossed the line with another PB of 21:31, I knew that should be enough. An added bonus was it was the first time I have been in the top ten finishers as well. Today, with the run being rated as 2.0, my handicap has now dropped to 9.7! Challenge complete!
Now the only remaining question is can I get any lower? I just need to regularly get down to 20:50 to go sub 9 I think!
Some random stats:
- 16th parkrun in total
- 13th parkrun at Pocket
- Knocked 31 off stopwatch bingo (14/60)
Do you keep track of your runbritainrankings handicap and if so, what’s your target?