Warrnambool Athletics Club races are conducted using a handicapping system with the aim of allowing athletes of varied ability to compete on a level playing field in a supportive and competitive environment.


Under ideal conditions a handicapped race would have every runner cross the line at the same time, however anyone who has run any distance will know that can NEVER happen. Variants such as health, fitness, course, weather, “mind set”, hangovers all conspire to make the handicappers job all the more difficult, so we know it is an inexact science. The handicapping team will use its discretion to account for some of the factors mentioned above that complicate individual’s results.


The club has a number of handicap “groups” which start at group 1 being 7min km’s through to group 45 being 02:50min km’s, and these are assigned on a runner’s average pace performance with the club. Runner’s handicaps are adjusted accordingly throughout the season.


Key points:

  • Our aim is to have the majority of our field finish within a four-minute window.

  • A runner’s handicap is based on their performance throughout the running season. All handicaps are closely monitored and reviewed at the commencement of each new distance category. To be eligible for a handicap win, a runner must have completed at least one run of each new race distance.

  • Runners who finish in the top 10% will be penalised to give other competitors the chance to win subsequent races.

  • A runner may ask for their handicap to be reviewed. For a handicap review to occur the runner must have completed 6 races and not finished within the top 10 placings.


Race starts explained:

The club assigns a handicap ‘group’ to each runner, which correlates to the handicap time used for different distances.


  • For staggered start races (handicap), runners start at different “go” times depending on their spot. The runner who finishes first is the winner.

  • For sealed handicap races, runners start at the same time. After the race is complete, the officials will adjust the finish times using the handicap times to determine the net time for each runner. The runner with the lowest net time is the winner.

  • For mass start (time trial) races, runners start at the same time. The runner with the quickest time is the winner.



  • The top 3 placings will receive a medal.

  • Club members competing on race day will be eligible for over $3,000 worth of spot prizes throughout the season.