I talked about age-grading in a previous post, which you can find here: My Age Adjusted Half Marathon Times. For those of you in your 20’s, this isn’t something you think about but for runners in your 40’s like me, it’s certainly something to consider. Inevitably, we slow down with age and although it varies considerably from person to person and depends on when you first started running and racing, for most people it happens noticeably in your 40’s. That where age-grading or age-adjustment times come in.
Age Grading Calculators take into account your age and gender at the time of the race and compares your finish time to an “ideal” or best time (not necessarily the “world record”) achievable for that individual’s age and gender. Statistical tables are used to compare the performances of individual athletes at different distances, between different events, or against other athletes of either gender and/or of any age. In other words, it puts males and females of all ages on the same level essentially.
In my original article, I have a link to Runner’s World age graded calculator, but since Runner’s World has since locked down their online access unless you pay for it, I found another website with an age graded calculator that I’ll link to here. You just have to put in your age at the time of the race, the distance, and your finish time and it will calculate your age-graded finish time for you.
I wanted to look at my most recent races, so I entered them in the calculator and got the following results with the age-graded results first here:
Arkansas- 1:48:08 (actual time 1:57:31)
Alaska- 1:51:25 (actual time 2:01:06)
Idaho- 1:50:16 (actual time 1:59:51)
West Virginia- 1:51:15 (actual time 2:00:55)
New Jersey- 2:03:05 (actual time 2:13:46)
Utah- 1:56:18 (actual time 2:06:24)
California- 1:57:48 (actual time 2:06:46)
To be completely honest, the race in Utah was bitterly cold at the start (to me anyway, a Southerner not used to running in freezing temperatures) plus it was hilly and this no doubt effected my racing times. The race in New Jersey was filled with some brutal hills which of course slowed me down considerably and the race in California was hot from the start and just got hotter. This explains my slower times for those races. I would say my times for the other races are pretty similar.
My fastest age-graded times seem fast by my standards, although I know many of you are much faster than I am and was faster than me even when I was younger. My fastest finish time to date was 1:55:28 at Spearfish Canyon Half Marathon, South Dakota- 34th state. My age-graded time for this race is 1:49:13. Comparing the race in South Dakota, my age-graded time at the race in Arkansas was actually faster even though they were 3 years and 4 months apart. I’m truly surprised by this. This means factoring in age, my times aren’t getting slower but I have been getting faster in the last couple of years.
Just out of curiosity, I plugged in my information into the age-graded calculator for the half marathon I ran in Pennsylvania many years ago: Philadelphia Distance Run, Pennsylvania-3rd state. My age-graded time was 2:00:13 and my actual finish time was 2:00:31. No surprise there really. It just proves that age-grading is really only for those in their 40’s and later.
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Do any of you calculate your age-graded race times or are you still too young for it to make a difference? Do you know anyone else who looks at their age-graded results after a race?