Changes to Handicapping for the club championships
Handicapping in any sport is a complex and emotive issue. In motor sport and horse racing, handicapping has been achieved by using “success ballast”. They physically add weight to the car/horse to slow it down, and in boxing the fighters are segregated by weight (and gender..clearly, but I’d pay good money to watch Nicola Adams take on Barry McGuigan)
In the world of running we are segregated into fairly broad age categories on race day, so we can at least gauge our performance against those of a similar age and gender. However, when it comes to creating a level playing field across all runners of all ages, then it becomes a lot more difficult.
At the moment LFR (along with many other clubs) use the WMA tables to adjust for age and gender, and this does give a reasonable representation of effort. However, this method is not wholly suitable for such a mixed ability club such as LFR.
As a “fun” club if we are running a club championship we need a handicap scoring system that reflects the members of the club, and the club’s objective to encourage participation and competition. If we continue to use a scoring system that favours just one or two club members, then quite rightly people just won’t bother taking part. Conversely if we make it too egalitarian it won’t recognise the better runners in the club.
- Split the championship into two leagues: “Tracey Dodd League” & “LFR League”
- TD League: You must have completed 4 or 5 races in the previous years championship and have scored an average of 65 WMA points per race
- LFR League: Everybody not in the Tracey Dodd league is in this league
- “LFR League” follows the existing WMA handicapping formula, and at the end of the season 1st, 2nd and 3rd (regardless of age/gender) will win a small trophy (there is no perpetual trophy). Anybody completing 4 or 5 races with an average of 65 or more will be promoted to the Tracey Dodd league next year. There is no limit to the number of runners who can be promoted.
- “Tracey Dodd league”. Given that everybody in this league is both keen and fast for age, we will apply an additional “levelling” to these runners which they will carry forward into next year’s championship. Levelling means “how many points to I deduct to get everybody to the same level for next year”. There runners will basically start next session with a small negative points score. We will “level” down to the lowest score in the Tracey Dodd League. Let’s look at the score this year:
But to reward success we will offer bonus points (based on your previous achievement). Last year’s winner get 10pts, 2nd gets 8, then 6, 4 , 2 ,1 (so basically the top 6 get a bonus). This gives a final carry-forward handicap for next season:
If you fail to complete 4 or more races or fail to maintain a 65 point average you will be not be eligible for the Tracey Dodd league next year.