You know those men and women who wear funny trousers and wonder around large swathes of the countryside all through the year on a never ending mission of attaining the illusive "scratch handicap"? Yes? Ah, but do you really? If you're thinking I'm referring to golfers, think again.

Let me introduce you to the new breed of British runners, yes runners, who now have a handicap. runbritain has just introduced a new handicap scoring system that is designed to give road runners of all abilities the ability to benchmark their progress and compare their results across a range of distances and terrains.

To quote the runbritain Rankings site:

The scoring system, which has been developed in conjunction with the team behind the McCain Power of 10 website, rewards regular racing and factors in a degree of difficulty for slower courses. The score is derived from your results at 5K, 10K, Half Marathon & Marathon during 2010 and thereafter on a rolling 12 month basis although you only need to have done one race in 2010 to claim a handicap.

Once registered, you just need to enter at least one race you've run this year and then be amazed at your handicap which will be in the range of -2 for the elites and 36 in 0.1 increments. Keep adding race results and watch your handicap adjust.

Everytime you login, you'll be taken to your personal biography page which displays:

  • current rankings at each distance
  • personal progress graph
  • direct comparisons with other runners with a 'head-to-head' function
  • handicap score updated automatically after each run
  • target times to bring score down to the next level
  • training schedules to help you achieve your targets

So if you haven't done so already, head on over to runbritain Rankings and claim your handicap. Oh and don't forget to bring up your handicap when chatting over that ice cold beer after your next race.

For the curious, my handicap after three 5k Parkruns and two 10k races is...

My runbritain Rankings Handicap

... with all races done completely barefoot. Not bad if I say so myself. Now to see how I can get this automatically updating in the sidebar of this site.