What is the Handicap and how does it work?

The handicap is a time trial race where over a 5km course. However, unlike a normal race, where the fastest runner wins, with the handicap, you try and beat your personal best (your handicap), and the winners are based on the improvement. Therefore, anyone could win not just the fastest.

Points are awarded for each race and these are put into a series year table where we award prizes for the runners with the highest number of points over the year. The series runs from January to November.

For the 2019 series, we have changed the calculation of the improvement from a straight time improvement (time minus the handicap time) to a percentage improvement so time improvement divided by the handicap time. This is to further balance the winner across the field as previously a 40-minute runner who improves by 2 minutes would have been ahead of a 20-minute runner who improves by 1 minute. The percentage improvement now gives them the same improvement percentage.

For 2022 we are setting a sealing of 9% as the maximum improvement. This takes into account when people are pacing other runners for their first few races and anyone trying to play a numbers game. 


How does the Points system work?

Points are awarded based on your improvement on your Handicap, PB.

The most improved runner is awarded maximum points based on the number of participants, second place is awarded one less point, and so on. A bonus of five points is added if a runner beats their Handicap, and an additional points are awarded 5 fastest men and women, 5 for the fastest, 4 for the second fastest and so on.

Points, are not awarded to scratch runners who are running their first handicap, and bonus points are not awarded to runners that have only run one previous handicap. However, they do receive points for being the fastest.

These point are collected across all 11 races that form the series.

Trophies are awarded to the first three based on the biggest improvement

What is the Point Series?

The points awarded for each race are accumulated into the series points.

The series starts in January and ends in November, there is no race in December. Trophies are awarded to members and non-members who have the most points at the end of the series.

For 2020 only 6 races count towards the series.


New Runners

All runners are required to register to run. Once registered you need to come along to the registration desk to collect your race number which you then keep for all future races.

New runners need to run one race to set a handicap time. They are not awarded any points for this race.

We have marshals will be at key points on the course and it is clearly signposted, you can view a map of the course here.

After your first race, you will be given a handicap time, this will establish your target time for the next race if you beat this time the new time. Most runners need a couple of races to familiarise themselves with the route, points are awarded for the second and subsequent races.


You are required to register for the race series online so we have up to date emergency contact details and to confirm. This enters you into each remaining race in the series.

Please visit the registration link.


Once registered you will be allocated a number and this can be collected from the registration desk. 

This opens at 08.45 am and closes at 9.15 am prompt.

The race will start at 9.30 am. 

All results are recorded on a computer database and results are usually available within 30 minutes after the race finishes, they are published on our handicap results page.

When are they run?

The last Saturday of the month apart from December.

What is the course like?

The course is a mixture of hard surfaces and trail paths and hilly so a reasonable challenge.

From the start, you run down the “pineapple” (the main avenue in Trent Park) down towards the animal centre, turn back towards the Southgate Hockey Centre and then down the “concrete road” into the woods. Follow the path down “Everest” and then up the hill towards Hadley Way. Run past the car park and then turn left down “Dog Bin Hill”. Follow the gravel path down the hill and around to the right past the lakes. Follow the path past the large oak tree and then head straight up “Cottage Hill” back towards the animal centre. At the top of the hill turn right and run back down the pineapple. Run past the start/finish and then turnaround and head back down the pineapple to the finish.

What shoes do I need?

Any running shoes are fine but not spikes due to the amount of hard surface.

In poor weather or where it has been raining for a few days before, you may benefit from trail shoes for some of the muddier sections. However, generally speaking, normal road shoes are fine.

Is this only for club members?

No, it is open to anyone. We use to charge a guest fee but for 2019 it is now free to all.

Are there any rules we need to follow?

Yes just a few:-

  1. You must be registered to run.
  2. You must wear your race number on your front, this is so it can be seen by the results team and bar code scanned at the end. Therefore, if you pin this to your leg please put this on the left leg. Similarly if you have taken your top off or put a top on, please hold up or reveal you number as you approach the finish. If you number is not visible you will be directed passed the finish.
  3. Do not cut or cover the number as we need to be able to see the bar code.
  4. Do not run with an old number or someone else’s number. You will be disqualified from the results if running with an old number or someone else’s.  If you are unsure if you have the correct number or you have lost yours,  then please visit the registration desk before the race.
  5. You must run the full course, no shortcuts.
  6. You must finish in the finish funnel. If you run past then turn around and finish correctly as your time is only recorded as you cross the actual finish line.
  7. You must stay in order in the finish funnel so we can record your number and scan your bar code.
  8. If you have already finished do not go through the finish again. If you are pacing some one cut off well before the finish.
  9. There is a strict 45 minute cut off for the race. Anyone finishing after 45 minutes will not have time recorded.
  10. Don’t argue, be abusive or threatening towards any of our marshals, officials or other volunteers. There is a zero tolerance to this and it may result in you being disqualified from the race and barred from any future events.
  11. The race director decision is final.