Age grading uses tables of "age factors" and "age standards" to put all runners, regardless of age and sex on a level playing field.
In particular, they allow runners' performances, no matter what their age, to be corrected to what they would have been achieving in their prime years, and permit valid comparisons to be made between people of different ages.
The tables also provide each individual with a percentage value for an event, allowing them to judge their performance against the standard for their age both now, and keep track of their progress over time.
These tables were compiled by the World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA), the world governing body for masters (veterans) track and field, long distance running and race walking. The process involved analysis of masses of actual performance data. Curves were plotted, one for each event, "fitting" all known performances, including, for example, Lynford Cristie's 9.87sec 100m, at age 33, and Priscilla Welsh's 2.26.31 marathon at age 42. There is a detailed discussion of this process on Howard Grubb's site.
An achievement level of 100% would be approximately the world record level; over 90% would equate to world class; over 80% would be national class and over 70% would be regional class.
- A woman of 53 runs 10k in 45.18.
- The 10k factor for women of 53 is .8545.
- Therefore, multiply 45.18 (2718 seconds) by .8545, which gives 38.43 as her age-graded time.
- The 10k standard (or theoretical world record) for women of 53 is 35.01 (2101 seconds). Divide this by 45.18 (2718 seconds), and you get 77.3% as her age-graded performance.
There various websites which offer tools to calculate your age grading from a result. Howard Grubb's offer more options than most, including both track & field and road running factors.
- Current (2015) factors - soon to be used on this website
- Previous (2006/2010) factors
- Original (1994) factors
Age grading in the Serpentine results database
Results in the Serpentine database use different factors based on when the race or event was held:
- prior to 1st January 2007 we use the 1994 factors.
- between 1st January 2007 and 31st December 2010 we use the 2006 factors.
- after 1st Jauary 2011 we use the 2010 factors.
We will shortly implement the new 2015 factors.
Note: this means, for example, that results entered in 2008 for a race held in 2001 will use the 1994 factors.