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Update from the Distance Handicapper

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Update from the Distance Handicapper

31 December 2014

Hello Distance Runners

It has been an encouraging start to the 2014/15 season, with many good performances being recorded in the early distance events. As we start 2015, I look forward to seeing this trend continue as the bigger meetings start to roll around.

For me personally, it has been a steep learning curve in my new role as handicapper. I have received plenty of encouragement, and also some criticism, but that is to be expected. However, now that I have a few meetings under my belt, I am becoming more familiar with what is expected of me, and what to look for in terms of your performances.

One of my goals when I took on the job was to communicate regularly with runners, and many of you will have already heard me on race days. This update is part of that communication process, but I do not want the communication to be only one way. Whilst it is not my intention to discuss individual handicaps on race day, I am open to questions regarding the application of the Handicap Regulations, or any suggestions you may have on improving the handicapping process.

The season so far

Congratulations to those who have already won races this season.

Of the 14 distance races there have been 11 individual winners, with Justin Murphy, Jack Hockley-Samon and Fraser Heard notching up two wins each. Both Jack and Fraser are only 17, so it is great to see them stepping up and winning open age races, whilst still being eligible for the junior events

Three winners have come from the backmark, with the highlights being the win of Brenton Rowe off scratch in the 3200m event at Warrnambool, and James Alexander winning the 1600m at Northcote off 40m. While at the other end of the scale, Leon Brooks led all the way to win the 1600m Open event at Warragul.

Congratulations also to David Haigh who won the Over 35/Womens 1600m event at the Bay Sheffield meeting in Adelaide last weekend.

Going forward

For those who have had success in the earlier events, it is my intention that you will get your handicap back at the earliest opportunity. The view of the Stewards and Handicappers is that a win in a smaller race should not harm your chances of winning a bigger race later in the season. If you are running regularly, consistently and to the best of your ability, my aim is to reward those efforts.

If you are hungry for more success, or still searching for your first win of the season, all athletes should note the views of the Stewards with respect to athletes mixing distances. Pre-Christmas, many athletes are still getting fit, and some will mix their distances to improve their fitness base. Whilst not wanting to discourage athletes competing over different distances, those doing so in the New Year will come under closer scrutiny. An Acceptable Performance (AP) or Satisfactory Performance (SP) should not be automatically expected, if the performance is hindered by an earlier effort.

As I mentioned earlier, feel free to approach me on race day, or contact me via the VAL ( if you need further clarification of the above.

Finally, good luck if you are running in Tasmania, otherwise I hope to see as many of you as possible at Maryborough.


Neale Gunning

VAL Distance Handicapper 2014/15