Watchless Handicap Races
The winner of the Watchless 5 each year receives an award at the Annual Awards Night. Anyone can win this event, it's rarely the fastest runner that wins, as it’s the person who can best hold their predicted pace that picks up the trophy!
The objective of the Watchless 5 Handicap race is to estimate how long you will take to run 5 miles on the event course. You submit your time in advance and then run the event without a watch or phone. Each runner sets off at a time that reflects their predicted completion time, aiming to finish at 11:00am. In theory, all runners should finish at more or less the same time if their forecast and pacing is accurate. The winner is not the first runner to complete the course, rather the runner who completes the course closest to their predicted time, i.e. closest to 11:00am.
Consistency and pacing is the name of the game here. We will now continue to use the route first run in 2021, originally changed to avoid the canal and social distancing issues. This proved a success and will be the route as we go forward. The route is undulating with a couple of kissing gates, so this needs to be factored into your time as well!
Watchless 5 Route
The route starts in The Peace Meadow, Tiddenfoot Water Park, just back from the canal near the start of the green bridge.
The route does not go on any roads.
The route follows the path that goes parallel to Grovebury road and then continues parallel to the bypass, it drops down to take you underneath the bypass by the river, where you have to pass through two unmarshalled kissing gates (this needs to be factored into your time). The path continues the other side of the bypass with a climb back up where you will eventually reach another unmarshalled kissing gate that you need to navigate through.
A narrow sheltered path then takes you to a private road crossing where there will be a marshal waving you through. Continue on the path with the bypass to your left and the quarry to the right, this path continues for a mile looping half way around the quarry where the path stops. Here a marshal will direct you to the left as you enter a farmer’s field, where you stick to the headland, it's a bit of climb up as you go around the corners of the field. Not far from here is your turn around point by the 'hanging tree', there will be a marshal here so you know where to turn! Then back you go, reversing the route out, it's more downhill on the way back!
2.5 miles out, 2.5 miles back = The Watchless 5
STRAVA link to the route (ignore the time, this was done as a social recce with some walking on mile 2-3 so should not be used as a comparative when estimating time)