Sunday, 6 January 2013

Stats the way to improve your handicap

I mentioned previously that the Christmas Day Glasgow parkrun had been graded with an SSS of 2.8 and that the long New Year’s Day one would probably have an even higher rating and I was right.  Runbritain graded the race as 4.4, the highest I’ve ever seen is 5. 

Andy Capp
The SSS is an indication of how difficult the race was on the day, a low SSS indicates that runners recorded fast times and a high SSS reflects slow times.  Runbritain also calculate a thing known as ‘relative SSS’ or vSSS, which measures individual performances relative to the race SSS.  Therefore the lower your vSSS the better you performed in the race, relatively.  My vSSS on New Year’s Day was 1.7, which was significantly lower than the 4.4 of the race, meaning that I ran relatively well. 

Runbritain then use the vSSS to calculate your handicap, which allows you to monitor your progress or otherwise.  To reflect your present form, rather than using your best ever times, Runbritain use up to five recent best performances in the calculation. These are denoted by a + next to your results on your Runbritain page.  Note Runbritain use the results of UK Affiliated races, including parkruns, which are published on the Powerof10 website.  If you can’t find your name, simply register and a whole new world of your race stats will open up to you.

What does SSS mean?

Tim Grose, founder and chief statistician of Athletics Data (who operate Powerof10 and Runbritain) gives the following explanation:

"Each 'raw' performance is converted to a points score on scale 0-36. The SSS is then what is taken off that score to give the adjusted score for that race and it is that adjusted score that contributes to your handicap - a weighted average of your best five. The harder the conditions the higher the SSS is. SSS is a golf term meaning standard scratch score so I basically borrowed the terminology. In golf SSS indicates the difficulty of the course and not necessarily the sum of all the pars. Royal St. Georges has a par of 70 but you can bet the SSS is a few shots higher."

This Blog is brought to you by a runner suffering with the Flu and not being able to do any actual running.


  1. This makes the Run Britain site perfectly understandable now. Thank you

  2. Thanks for your kind comment Sandi