Age Grading

What is age grading?

Age grading is a way to adjust an athlete’s performance according to age and gender. The age-grading tables were developed by the World Association of Veteran Athletes, the world governing body for track and field, long distance running and race walking for veteran athletes. The tables were first published in 1989.

The tables work by recording the world record performance for each age at each distance, for men and women. Where necessary, the world record performances are estimated.

For example, the world record for a 53 year old woman running a 10km is 35:01. So if a 53 year old woman finishes a 10km in 45:18, she has an age-graded performance of 77.3% (which is 35:01 divided by 45:18). The wide availability of age-grading tables has allowed older runners to compete on even terms with younger generations. In many running clubs today, the age-graded champion earns as much, if not more, recognition as the outright (non-age adjusted) winner of the event.

What is age-grading used for?

Age grading can be used to compare performances across different ages and sexes; track your own performance over time; identify your best events; set goals for current and future years; and identify your best ever performance.

You can also use age-grading to predict your race performance. Essentially, this equivalent to assuming that as the distance increases, your average speed will go down, in proportion to the speed of world records at those distances. This seems a surprisingly
accurate assumption for many runners, provided they train for the distances concerned.

I’ve run X minutes for a race. What was my age grading?

Calculate an age-graded performance from a distance and time here.

What time will get me an age-grading of X per cent?

Calculate the times for a given age-grading here.

41 Responses to Age Grading

  • brian day:

    hi I like all the stuff you have on your site and have spent a fair bit of time looking through it to help me as a 65 year old planning for a marathon next april 2011
    I want to question an aspect of age grading that I think is fundamental

    I don’t think you can forecast a marathon time based on a 10k using the same WAVA/ age grading
    my own experience suggests that most normal runners get worse results as the distance increases

    I can guess at a possible reason – a 10k can be trained for more easily , a half marathon takes longer and a marathon a sustained and determined period

    In the last 6 years I have not run very much and have 10k results at 57% and 54% but my last two marathons were 44% and 42%

    in 1984/85 I trained quite hard and consistently and got half marathon results up to 65% but two marathons at that time were about 56%

    so your race predictor needs to allow for this – possibly the age prediction is a potential but only after a full period of training with adequate long runs and possibly even then will only be reached on the 3rd or 4th marathon race say after 2 or 3 seasons of training

    I guess the first race time might be slow by say 30 mins on a 4h 30m prediction making 5h more likely

    this is of critical importance in setting the planned` pace/ mile splits as we know setting off too fast is fatal to a good result

    so perhaps to target pace might need to be around 1 min per mile slower than your predictor would suggest

    perhaps you cold seek others views on this

    • Brian

      You are absolutely right that the race predictor only works if you train as much (and as specifically) for the distance you are planning to run at as you did for the distance you are using to calibrate it.

      I don’t think the race predictor can reasonably assume that you won’t in fact train for a marathon or half marathon as much as you need to. It tells you what performance you could expect if you did train properly; it is up to you to do the rest!

      happy running and good luck with the marathon
      Owen

  • Jacqueline Millett:

    Hi I use this site a lot and have found it to be very accurate in it’s predictions from race to race. However, I wonder if anyone can tell me how often the age grading tables change? I am a 57 year old women and think the grading for my age group have recently changed. I am looking at around 80% – my impression is that the marathon time has got slower but 5k, 10k and half marathon are faster. Is this correct?

  • Dear admin,
    We are also running the Dharan here in Nepal. We are running 3.5 km run in every saturday. According to your age & grading we are calculating manually which is little bit hassle & it takes time. We rare calculating manually and post it in our website which is taking too much of time. We are also workout to this formula & logic which is not completely done. So, please kindly provide me the formula in excel sheet for calculating Age & Grading or any other option to calculate it (male/female) …… If any kindly suggest
    Thanks !!!

    Regards
    Dhara Run

  • santosh:

    Hi,
    As dharan run asked you in previous question, is there any chances to have a formula to calculate the age grading please. Many thanx

    kind regards
    santosh rai

    Hi Santosh – there is no formula for age grading. It is based on the data for world records at each age, which are published here.

  • Alan Pearson:

    Hi,
    I was wondering is there any data that relates your age grading percentage to a percentage of athletes in the same group that would achieve or exceed your time.
    Cheers
    Slab

    • Ray Hall:

      G’day from Ray.

      I compete in an annual multi-distance event which registers my placing in the ( current ) applicable age group.
      One year I won the 0/70 12 km walk, in a nominated time, from a field of 29 in that subsection . Wonderful to be able to have all that info. Next year someone beat me into second place, I’ll never know who, from an overall, all age groups, runners and walkers, field of tens of thousands.
      Now, I appreciate the amount of detail as I mentioned, but have to accept that amongst that multitude how many would have been non-Athletic Club members and not honest about walking the whole distance ?

      We have to be grateful for what we have and not——–.
      G’bye from Ray.

  • Hello friends
    I would like to use age grad tablets in order to create a final result/ranking
    To each runner which has finished 3 different races.
    I’m looking for an Excel, if possible, contains the above columns:

    M
    Age 5k 10k 15k 20k 21.1k 25k 42.2k
    == === === === === === === ===
    12 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    13 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    14 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    15
    16
    *
    *
    79 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
    80 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

    F

    Age 5k 10k 15k 20k 21.1k 25k 42.2k
    == === === === === === === ===

    Thank you

    • I have exactly what you need. We operate a league system in our clu that is based on the age related performace tables.Have a look at our website – and go to the pages dealing with the Club league. The league incorporate steh performance data with a handicapping system to allow people of roughly even peformace ratings but widely different ages to compete on an even footing. You can download a copy of our league tracker from the website. Email me if you have any questions.

  • Mrs C Smith:

    What is a safe “min./mile” time for a 68yr old woman. I ran too hard for too long @ a time on Sunday across a heath – HR 135-145! Very tired this week.

  • LC:

    Which data is used to age grade young athletes running longer distances when they do not normally run say, 5k, under official race conditions?

  • Simon Copeman:

    What level of granularity does this system have at the younger end …for example …is it specific by year (10, 11, 12 yrs) or does it cover an age group (U14?)
    Thanks

  • Re: “I ran too hard for too long… Very tired this week.”
    May I suggest that preparation for the 5km park run, or any other run, includes consideration of your sleep and dietary needs. A good night’s sleep promotes good energy storage. Good quality nourishment, prior to the run, helps to keep your storage of energy in ‘the battery’ at its highest level. It is not a good idea to run on an ‘empty tank’ as you will, in effect, be consuming your own flesh for fuel. A light evening meal and breakfast prior to the run are very important and ideally will contain protein, essential fats and oil plus low GI carbs. The ratio of these essential ingredients depends on your age and metabolic needs. The older you are the more good quality proteins and fats you will need in order to prevent muscle wasting and loss of strength. You may even need to use high quality protein snacks between meals if you are overweight and exercising. Exercise helps ‘burn’ the unwanted fat provided that you eat a balanced meal beforehand.
    You can very easily study what is preferable for your metabolic type by reading a book such as ‘The Metabolic Typing Diet’ by Wolcott and Fahey ISBN 0-7679-0564-4. Alternatively, you could opt to get a mineral analysis using a small amount of your hair, and this will provide you with your metabolic type, clues about your internal health, your mineral ratios, whether they are in balance or out of balance, and what foods to include and what to avoid in order to boost your health and energy levels. See http://www.traceelements.com for details.
    Running at a steady and safe pace is a very personal choice. It may also help you to read “The Art of Running” written by a superb running coach and Alexander Technique teacher. Secondly, I can enthusiastically recommend to everyone the use of cranial-sacral osteopathy, as this can help ‘unwind’ any obstructions to the free flow of ‘energy’ within the core of your body. (You may have had trauma in the past). Wishing you the best of health from Norman

  • david josephs:

    Help rather than comment, I understand the calculation etc., but not sure what achieving a 63% age grading actual means? Probably a daft question, but can you assist me please? What should one be realistically looking to achieve?

    • Leigh Churchill:

      For those wondering what age-rating ‘means’.
      I’ll simplify Mo Farah’s 5,000m gold in London, by assuming the Olympians were the age of the WR holder.
      Mo’s gold: 99.43% of WR pace
      15th place in the final: 98.07%
      Olympic B-qualifier: 93.85%
      To get a handle on your rating, think in high school terms. In Australia there are six tiers of HS athletic comp.: school, district, regional, state, national, world. Imagine Cross Country time at a HS of 1,500 students.
      50% puts you among the quicker kids
      55% and you’re representing your school at the district final
      65% you should make the team for regional finals
      75% you’re probably a state finalist
      85% you’d likely make the national comp
      92% you’re in the local paper, and heading os for world juniors
      In senior HS, these numbers slide up for boys, down a bit for girls. As to how ‘good’ you look compared to others, the longer the race, the more forgiving – running at 50% over 800 metres looks less impressive than running at 50% in a marathon.
      If you are female a rating of 65% might have you in contention for a top three age-group placing in a small fun-run, while a male in a major event could require 80%. Of course, you can only run against whoever shows up on the day. An 80 year old lady at 20% in a major fun-run might be first (and only) in her age bracket, while a 20yo man at 80% might miss a place due to a strong field.

  • I’ve been a runner since 11 year old. Many obstacles and parental disapproval. In my 20-40′s I easy ran 6 min miles. My speed now (since recovery of fractured femor) has evolved to 10min mile.im 70 and feel it’s the best but I hope for 7min mile with are and persistence ..

  • Liz:

    I must say as a first time Park runner this Saturday, I really loved the experience, and I’m mightily impressed by the statistics you provide, I had no idea about age grading etc. and have found it all very encouraging , gives me lots to aim for! As a fifty six year old, I am actually pretty grateful that I can still enjoy running, after a year of stress fractures and a nerve injury in my back, but to do something like the Park run is a great incentive to strive that bit more, for a PB or to move up the list of results , or improve your age group position.

  • […] Now I really had to find out what Age Graded Results meant. From the Running for Fitness website: […]

  • Stephen Fawcett:

    Hi, I would like to so this run tomorrow but just for fun side by side with my 7 year old son would this be possible or would we have to run separately in the age brackets?

  • Charlie Pearce:

    To answer david josephs’ question, a 63% age grading literally means that you ran 63% as quickly as the world record holder for your age and gender.

  • Charlie Pearce:

    I’ve seen it summarised elsewhere as follows:

    90%+ is “world class”
    80%+ is “national class”
    70%+ is “regional class”
    60%+ is “local class”

    Very crude generalisations, and I’m sure others will argue them!

  • Rod:

    How does one work out what time one would have to do to have and age graded 100%? I have tried many ways based on my different times and I always get a different answer. Last week some one in the same category as I was ran 1 second faster than me but was about 2% higher on the age graded scale. I cannot figure out how these results could possibly flow back to the same 100% score. Can anyone assist?

  • Nawahl:

    Just completed my first Park Run today & for someone that does not run or exercise at all , I thoroughly enjoyed the experience……looking forward to next Saturday (age 51)
    Nawahl

  • Pete Lloyd:

    Am I correct in thinking the age grading system makes no adjustment for conditions on the specific run, for example hills?

  • William Marks:

    Hi All
    I am 71 and have been running for 21 years now started when I was 50 Did 21 Marathons in my 50′s-3hrs 36m my best.
    I ran the first Park Run at Walsall Auberetum nearly two years ago having done 77 runs. I average about 64% on age grading results..I think the points system used should be based on the age grading performance which I think a much fairer assessment on performance.Sometimes I have run faster and got less points than a slower time. To run a race as best you can at my age and only get 1 point for an over 60% performance is not worth running hard for. But I still always give it my best and am thankful to be still running at my age. Thank you Park Run for the opportunity you give to people of all ages.
    Bill

  • Melanie Horan:

    My age graded score for Parkrun this week gave me a marathon time of 3:24, which was what I ran my last two marahons in. However, the half marathon was 7 mins slower than my PB, so I can’t have been trying my best yesterday!

  • Sorry for interrupting the thread with marketing blather, but I sell an Android app called “Run Grader” on Google Play and Amazon that does age-grading (2006 or 2010 standard) for common road races distances, as well as pace/finish time calculations and race predictions using the Riegel and Cameron formulas. The age-grader can interpolate for fractional ages, but not custom distances (currently). These were the tools I always wanted handy after I crossed the finish line.

  • Charlie Pearce:

    I’ve just realised that there are separate statistics for track and road races – I recently ran my first ever 5000m and 10000m races, and used your calculator to obtain my Age Grade scores, but have just recalculated them using the WAVA tables. Would it be possible to add 5000 metres and 10000 metres to your calculator so that track Age Grade scores can be calculated? Also, it might help to rename 2 km and 3 km to 2000 metres and 3000 metres to show that these are track scores, and road scores only start from 5K…

  • Alan clay:

    Hello there

    I’m intrigued as to the age graded percentages for kids (assuming I have done the calculations correctly). Looking at recent park run junior results, a 10 year old boy with a finish time of about 8 mins for 2km is given an age grading of 72%.

    This suggests the world record 2km time for a 10 year old is 5:46 – can anyone verify this? I’ve looked on line but can’t find this information. Moreover this suggests an average speed of 4:37 per mile….! Very impressive.

    I’ve checked for the jm14 category and the suggestion is the world record here is 5:18. If you then use a race time predictor for 5km this would be 13:59.

    What reference points are used for kids running?

    All thoughts most welcome

    Thank you

  • Peter Phillips:

    Are your grading systems based on track or mostly flat roads and sea-level?

    Regards,

    P.Phillips

  • Louise Mickel:

    Please could you advise is my age grading affected by the fact that due to severe psoriatic and osteo arthritis I cannot run but can only walk. Would the fact that my spine is fused from S1 to L4 and neck fused T1 to C3 with cables and plates be taken into account?

    Kind regards

    Louise

  • Damian Burns:

    Hi
    I did my first ever Park Run. My last run was a few years ago. Despite not being fit, I achieved a satisfactory Age-Graded Score of 59.72% (for a VM50-54) with a time of 24.42. I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere in Bangor and I look forward to many more runs. A big ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers.

    D

  • joey:

    I just ran a mile in 7.33. I’m 5’4″. Is that good?

  • If anyone is interested, there is a new Age Grader Android app (suitable for adults and kids) that uses the latest WMA tables. It also caters for all Combined (multi) events using the correct 2010 tables. It scores Multi events and also shows current world records and gives you an idea of what result you can expect for different events given the results of an event in a similar category. It also does much more.

    The Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/AgeGradeCalculator?ref=hl&ref_type=bookmark

    or search for “Lollylegs Age Grader” in the Android Play Store.

  • bob:

    as some of us don’t have cars were do we change and keep our belongings somewhere safe while on a run thanks bob.

  • Louis Martin Lovegrove:

    I believe that the grading is a brilliant idea and I thoroughly enjoyed the course, especially when someone was showing me the ropes, for the first-time.

  • Anna:

    Hi, My age-related percentage after 4 Parkruns was just over 62%. I missed the next run to volunteer at my Parkrun and found that the computer had added me on to the end of the results list with the maximum time, thereby reducing my age-related percentage from 62% to 38%. I feel slightly aggrieved about this and wonder if the NUMBER of runs as against the TIMES is taken into into account when calculating the percentages.

    Thanks

    Anna

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