December 2020 Handicap + Year in Review

The nicest way to describe the final 9 months of 2020 would be ‘different’, but as we approach 2021 with hope for a better future, I’m going to focus on the positives of this year in this December 2020 handicap write up and also review of the year.

We had 10 runners completing the handicap, either on the OS course, or on another 5k route of their choosing, with big praise to Dan King who ran an OS handicap PB of 21:19 on a reasonably flat course around Hedge End. I (Matt) once again ran the OS Handicap course both ways, but this time anti clockwise first (20:58) and then clockwise (21:06). Last month I ran clockwise first and was 30 seconds quicker on the anti-clockwise loop. For me, anti-clockwise is quicker, as I can get up Jerretts Lane, Redbridge Lane and Romsey Road relatively ok, whereas Paulette Lacave Avenue (the steep road up to roundabout when running clockwise) does me in ๐Ÿ™

Congratulations to James Norris who has run in every handicap this year (7 events) and hasn’t missed an event since October last year, while my last ‘miss’ was in July last year.

Interestingly our ‘WFH handicaps’ have a remarkably similar average time across all events – from August onwards – 25:31, 25:09, 25:31, 25:27 to 25:19 in December. The times from December are below, well done to everyone who ran.

Review of the Year

A total of 103 handicap runs were recorded, by 54 different athletes, (average 1.9), across 7 events (14.7 per event). In 2019 we had 241 runs by 49 athletes (4.9), across 12 events (20 per event). You covered a collective distance of 515km (320 miles). Importantly 17 PB’s were achieved and a couple more PB PB’s (post baby PB – well done Naomi and Vicki).

In terms of attendees, the top 9 are – 3 events – Vicki, Tim M, Mark T and Mark S, 4 events – Peter Baker, Naomi and Gary Ashley, 7 events – James Norris and me. There are alot of people tied on 2 events, but I think its fair to use ‘timer’ as the deciding factor – so Karen tops the ‘2 runs’ group as she also timed in February.

So what were my highlights of the year?

3 – The RED runners in January going round as a big group to celebrate the final day of their ‘Run Every Day’ challenge in January

2 – I didn’t know it at the time, but although the February handicap was wet and windy (& consequently my mood while running was darker than the clouds), it was to be our last for a while, looking back I would have made more effort to enjoy it had I foreseen the approaching metaphorical storm clouds

1 – August, not only was it great to be back in competitive running after 5 months, but the sun came out just before we started (having rained all day) and also for the below picture ๐Ÿ™‚ It took some effort from the OSR team to safely get the handicap back on, but to run (race) with other people and be able to see my OSR friends again was brilliant

If there’s 1 thing I’ve learnt in 2020 its that friends and social stuff is really important.

Lets all hope that 2021 brings a return to pre COVID life, as vaccinations roll out and consequently life is much safer for us all.

In the meantime, have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.