UK Athletics is the governing body for the sport of athletics in the United Kingdom and RunBritain oversees road race organisation.
In 2010, RunBritain launched a handicap scoring system for road runners where each race entered, from a 5K to a marathon, is awarded points depending on the race time, course difficulty and conditions on the day. Usually the results are compiled automatically soon after the race.
The points are displayed on a graph over time, so a registered runner can see how they are progressing. Other features include how a predicted time will effect your rating, and your national ranking.
The last few times I looked at the site I was bugged by an annoying pop-up about registering for a competition. After declining several times, I eventually click the ‘enter’ button just to stop it from re-appearing. At that time my last recorded race was a 5k parkrun I ran with eldest daughter in July, in a time of 31 minutes (a decent time for her having never run this far)
Although I wasn’t ‘racing’ my time was captured and had a negative affect on my ranking. My next race was a barefoot half in October, and then the week after that I PB’d in another half. I was obviously happy to PB, but (you guessed it!) was also happy to find myself at the top of the list for October’s most improved road runner.
First prize was an Adidas miCoach training thingy, and second onwards was a pair of Sennheiser sports headphones. As I already have a garmin GPS / HRM watch I decided if I won I would donate the miCoach widget to my running club.
My first position remained unchanged until the final week, when I was overtaken and dropped to second place. Boo!
I used the handicap predictor, and if I entered the nearest parkrun and ran a 20 minute 5K, I would gain another 1.6 points easily returning me to first place. Unfortunately we were travelling on the final Saturday and there was no way I could fit in a race.
And sure enough a nice pair of sports headphones arrived a couple of weeks later. I’m sure I will put these to good use on those long offroad runs!