Halifax Hariers
Halifax Harriers Athletics Club - Est. 1888

Christmas Handicap Races

Christmas Handicap 2016 review

In both the ladies and men's handicap races this year the first 3 in both races finished within 30 second of each other. (All times below include handicap)

In the ladies Jane Hobson (43:33) was first back just holding off the challenge of Lucy Hall (43:44) and Johanna Winks (43:57), last years winner.

There was confusion in the men's race as Harry Johnson started before his allocated time, but the officials corrected his result, placing him third. The winner was Will Stewart (59:39), closely followed by Richard Palethorpe (59:42), Harry's corrected time (59:45) placed him 3 second behind Richard. 

John Greenwood continued his unbroken sequence by completing every race since 1985 (32 in total)

All actual running times are on the Excel File above.

The Christmas handicap races are a traditional event for club members only and intended to give all runners an even chance of winning. There are races for all member categories including senior men and ladies, juniors and boys and girls age categories.


The handicap races date back to pre-1960 but club records began in 1985. Prior to this, results were published in the Daily Mirror on the Monday morning after the race which demonstrates not only the interest in such a local event but also the value placed on being recognised as the club's handicap champion.The men's course is 5.8 miles long and the ladies course a slightly shorter 4.5 miles. Junior athletes have competed over various distances around the moor.

The handicapper has the unenviable task of allocating a start time to each member with the slower runners starting first and the faster runners going last. It's often traditional for the handicapper to be slated by some members who think they've been given a bum deal but this is usually taken in good humour - and remembered for next year!

If done correctly all runners should cross the finish line at the same time but of course this never happens. Getting all runners in within a few minutes of each other is usually considered an excellent effort. The handicapper can use a variety of methods to determine an athlete’s start times from recent race results, known current form, how much a runner complained during last year's handicap or a mixture of these.

To encourage greater participation in this long standing traditional event it has been decided participants no longer need bring a gift to swap. Instead, senior members are invited to meet at the Three Pigeons afterwards and if they're still feeling like giving, buy each other a drink!


Men's - Fastest times: Stephen Halliday 29:27 (1992)

Most appearances: John Greenwood (32/32)

Ladies - Fastest time: Katrina Oddy 28:40 (2000)

Most appearances: Linda Hayles (13/32)

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