ARMIDALE Athletics are ready to start up a new season with their annual handicap event this week.
The SportsPower 400m invitational handicap will get underway at Harris Park on Wednesday with 12 of the region’s best runners lining up to contest the title.
The 12 runners are of all ages and genders and will line up at different places on the track to start the race.
Their start position is determined by their best time from last season, with ages taken into account.
"This is our 12th year now and based on the times, everyone is given a handicap race distance,” Armidale Athletics club president Jay Stone said.
"The race is bookended by two masters athletes this year, myself and Neville McIntyre. There is roughly 100 metres between us and everyone is in between.”
The handicap for all the athletes means they should be racing together on the home stretch.
"It is supposed to work out that if everybody runs their season's best from last year, we all should finish at the same time so that makes for an exciting spectacle for the crowd, if everyone is coming up the straight together,” Stone said.
"Usually you will see if one person has improved a lot from last season, they will jump ahead. If everyone runs up to form it is pretty even.”
He said the event started as an incentive for people to train over winter.
"We don't do much handicap stuff so it is a bit different and you can race people of all ages, genders and anyone can win,” he said.
Matt Haydon won last year’s race and is looking forward to getting back on the track for this year’s event.
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