Noel Morris, a former Spitfire pilot, was a stalwart supporter of grass roots running. The Denbigh Harriers Handicap is named in his honour.
The idea for a regular handicap originated at Chris Baldwin’s previous club, North Shields Polytechnic AC. Alan Catley, a British International marathon runner in the 1980s and university friend of Chris, invented a computer programme which shuffled start times according to most recent race results. The event had about 100 runners every month throughout the winter doing a 3.6 mile road course along the seafront at Whitley Bay, relying on the services of a grade one AAA timekeeper and volunteers to handle everybody finishing at the same time. Chris left in 1992, whilst Alan published a booklet with all the results entitled ‘NSP Handicap 1987-1997: The First Ten Years‘.
Denbigh Harriers, ably led and ‘handicapped’ by Chris, have in this spirit, been running a 5K off road summer series since 2001.
The series is run once a month from March to October on a 3 mile cross country course on public footpaths around Denbigh. Each runner is given a start time reflecting their current running form with the faster runners starting last. When the handicapping works well the runners finish the course at more or less the same time.