Grand Prix



Issued Dec 2001

The Grand Prix was started in 1989 and has gone through minor changes each year to arrive at its current format.

At the 2001 AGM, a sub-committee (Alan Hutchinson, Bob Jackson, Kathy Kaiser, Ian Place, Tim Towler, Sylvia Watson, Geoff Webster, Paul White, Mick Wrench) was nominated to review the Grand Prix and make recommendations. These are the findings:


The Grand Prix aims

Recommendations for 2002

The Grand Prix 2001 is/was a worthwhile competition and it largely achieved these aims and objectives. The existing format (for 2001) does not need substantial change.

However more can be done to ensure greater participation in the Grand Prix. Important factors are

Races to be incorporated in the Grand Prix

The number of events to be incorporated will be 28 each year. This will represent 4 events from each of the following categories:

The season runs from late-December one year to mid-December the next. This enables the awards for one year to be presented at the Christmas Dinner whilst allowing two of our most popular events (the Chevin Chase and the Xmas Handicap) to be included in (next year's) GP.

The GP sub-committee will attempt to decide the majority of events in advance, but some will be marked as provisional. These would mostly be based on popularity in previous years, but consideration would also be given to new local events. Suggestions will be encouraged from club members for the inclusion of events not on the list to substitute for provisional events or where less than 4 events in any category have been chosen. Such suggestions would only be incorporated as long as good advance notification was given. These suggestions will be put to a vote after Tuesday night training sessions.

Awarding of Points

100 points are awarded to the fastest runner in an event followed by 99 for the second and so on.

As good notice will always be given of forthcoming qualifying events there will be no minimum restriction on the number of Striders participating for points to be awarded. Thus in a turnout of one that runner would score maximum points.

Group Awards

There are 5 groups A-E. All club members will be entered into the Grand Prix automatically and will be placed in a group based on their best performance in a 5mile, 10k or club handicap event over the previous year.

The placing will be based on their pace per mile with groups being based on bandings of 30 second intervals with Group A being sub-6 minute mile, B being 6-6 minute mile pace , C being 6-7 minute mile pace, D being 7-7 minute mile pace, E being slower than 7-minute mile pace. Adjustments will be made for hilly courses!

Groups will be set and published at the start of the year. (It doesn't matter that the number of runners in each group may be different).

New-comers (and other Striders with no recent form) will be placed into group "U" (unclassified) until they have run 3 races and then their grouping assessed on this performance. This way new club members have the opportunity to complete a qualifying number of events if they join the club mid way through the year.

Runners must run a minimum of 8 events to qualify for any award. For each runner we will calculate a total being the total of their best 8 points scores with the following conditions

The runner scoring the most points (on this basis) in each group become the group winner, and the runner with most points overall becomes Valley Striders Grand Prix Champion of Champions.

Group winners, other than of group A, will automatically be promoted to the group above for the following year.

Other awards

There will also be titles for Ladies Champion, Men's Vet (O-40) Champion, Men's Vet (O-50) Champion and Ladies Vet (O-35) Champion. All of these will be calculated on the best 8 scores from at least 5 categories as above.

There will also be "discipline" (NB this is a U K Athletics term) awards for "Road Champion" (based on best 6 scores) and "Off-road (cross-country and trail) Champion" (based on best 4 scores). The fell section has a separate championship (which Geoff Webster can explain(?)).

There is no best handicap points award - the Handicap Cup is the prime award in this category and is held for 3 months by each winner.

No Strider can win more than one award (group, sex, age or discipline). The sequence of allocation is Champion of Champions, Ladies Champion, Vets (3), Disciplines (2), Groups (4). So for example if group C is won by the MV50 champion, this person takes the MV50 award and also is promoted to group B next year, but does not take group C, nor does the runner up in group C win an award.

A new award starting in 2001 will be to the best age-graded performance in a Striders GP road race, giving runners of all ages and either sex the chance of demonstrating the best performance of the year. This may be won by a winner of another award.

Publicising events in the Grand Prix

The Newsletter will be used to publicise forthcoming events and invite suggestions. Information will also be sent out by e-mail. Forthcoming races will be announced at the club each Tuesday. A folder of entry forms for GP events will be held at the club. The practice of handing out a results sheet periodically will continue although this will revert to the previously used format of showing scores and positions by groups rather than across the whole club.

An explanatory note of the Grand Prix competition will be included in the information presented to each new member in the future.

As always, at least one competitor at each Grand Prix event should ensure they obtain at least one set of results to forward to Bob Jackson.

Grand Prix Co-ordinators

The Grand Prix co-ordinators are responsible for selecting events, collecting results and resolving queries. They will call upon the sub-committee to meet as appropriate.

Questions and Answers

Q1. Why aren't handicaps scored on finishing position rather than time?

A1 Because of the difficulty of providing a fair handicap. Two runners in the same group could score 20 points difference purely because of an inaccurate handicap.

Q2 Why are fell races in the Grand Prix when no-one runs them?

A2 To encourage Striders to run them. Before we put cross-country races in the GP a few years ago, we struggled to get a men's team of 6 and usually had 4-6 ladies. Now the cross-countries are among the more popular events and we rarely miss getting a team out.

Q3 Why aren't women scored separately e.g 100 for 1st woman, 99 for 2nd etc

A3 Because we'd then have to do the same for all the other groups i.e. the age groups (MV40), and the "pace" groups (A-E). Runners would get 3 different scores for each event! Too difficult to administer (and explain!)

Q4 How are points allocated for cross-country when the men and women run different races and different distances?

A4 On pace. This is easy where the men and women run a different number of laps of the same course - the women's time is just scaled up. Otherwise we guess the distances and calculate accordingly.

Q5 Why are there so many races?

A5 There are two reasons. Some runners only run road and handicap races, others only run off-road - reducing the number of races overall would make it difficult for these runners to achieve their 8 races. Also it gives new members joining up to May or June plenty of opportunity to run 8 races.

Q6 Is it possible to win a prize by only running 8 races?

A6 Quite possible. Two winners in 2001 only ran 8 races. But past experience has shown that most group winners have run at least 10 races.

Q7 Why are there fell races in the GP when there is a separate Fell Championship?

A7 We have now introduced corresponding awards for road races and off-road (trail and x-c) races to balance this out.

Q8 Do second claim members qualify for Grand prix points?

A8 Second claim members definitely score points in club handicaps and in races where they run in a Striders vest (e.g. Jerry Watson in cross-country). Other than this, they do not score points.

Q9 Do new members joining from another club and under the 9 month rule qualify for points?

A9 Yes.

Please address any other queries to either of the Grand Prix Co-ordinators - Alan Hutchinson and Paul White.