The recent editorial in the Advocate on handicap races perhaps does not touch on the main advantage of handicap races :-First, that it improves the pace, second, that it gives a chance to everybody, and third, that it makes and improves every sort of athlete. That handicap races tend to improve the pace and increase record-breaking can not be doubted. Over and over again have we seen our champion runners leaving their opponents in the rear, so much that there was no interest in the race. Now if these second rate opponents had been given starts, there would have been a good race and fast time would have been made, for it is a well known fact that a man runs, walks or rides a bicycle faster and easier when some one is leading than when the best runner is making his own pace ; as he of necessity does, if the other runners are not given starts. As evidence of this the English bicycle championshipr since 1879 have been made in slower time with one exception than 2.55 (while the record has been lowered from 2.46 in 1879 to 2.41 in 1882) simply because every-one started from scratch and no one was willing or could cut out the pace. Looking over the English records one finds more than half have been made in handicap races. For in a good handicap the scratch man has to do his best to win ; while, as is often the case here, in a scratch race the best man does not even have to exert himself to win.
In the next place, handicaps are better than limit races, for no matter how poor a runner a man may be yet he always has a chance in a handicap, while in a limit race he might really be too poor to have any chance at all. Finally handicaps are a great means of bringing out new men and improving old. New men are often encouraged by beating a scratch man, go in again and keep at it until they themselves become scratch men, while the old men have to do their best to win, and hence are often wonderfully improved. But a word to scratch men. Don't feel disappointed if you are beaten. As an old English athlete, a man who had won and lost more races than any of our college athletes have, said, "It is more honor to get beaten off scratch than to win off a start."