Thames hosts five club Handicap contests across the season. The oldest – the Short Distance – dates back to November 1883. They are open to all club members and are as follows:
- Short Distance Handicap – first held in November 1883. Nowadays, it takes place in conjunction with the Short Distance Challenge over our 5-mile course, usually on the last Saturday in September. As a consequence, it is a mass-start handicap with the result calculated retrospectively
- Long Distance Handicap – first held in January 1884 and nowadays usually held on the first Saturday in March (preceding our Annual Dinner in the evening) over our our 7½-mile course on Wimbledon Common. It is a chasing handicap, so the first finisher is the winner
- 10-mile Handicap – first held in March 1923 and nowadays, it takes place in conjunction with our 10-mile Challenge on the afternoon of our AGM (in March or April) over our 10-mile course in Richmond Park. It is a mass-start handicap with the result calculated retrospectively
- Midsummer Handicap – first held in July 1970. Nowadays, it takes place in mid-June and is held over our 5-mile course on Wimbledon Common. It is a chasing handicap, so the first finisher is the winner
- Clough-Whittome Handicap – named in the memory of former members Quentin Clough and Steve Whittome and held in the conjunction with the Road Running Challenge. As a consequence, it is a mass-start handicap with the result calculated retrospectively.
The winner of each handicap wins a coveted Thames tankard.
There is also the Maurice Kensit Aggregate Handicap competition, which takes into account the results across the Short, Long and 10-mile Handicaps. The rules for this are as follows:
The runners score points according to their positions in those three handicaps. For example, second in a handicap gets two points, third gets three points and so on. The exception is the handicap winner who gets last place plus one point, e.g. if there are 35 finishers, the winner gets 36 points. The lowest total across the three contests wins.
Historically, our two most successful runners in club handicaps are Dennis Porter and Sir Peter Miller with eight wins each.
Masters of the Handicaps