Continuation of Introduction to 1994 Edition
Why Are Age-Graded Tables Needed?
For years, masters meets and races have awarded prizes in 5- or 10-year age groups. That works well when there are a lot of competitors. But in smaller meets, there are often so few participants that several age-groups must be combined to avoid a one- or two-person walkover. If three awards are given in each age/sex group in every event in such a meet, they can become expensive for meet organizers and meaningless for competitors.
Using age-grading, "full fields" are virtually assured in every event, because everyone can mathematically compete in the same "division." In a track meet, three quality medals can be awarded per event, just as in open competition, rather than three mediocre medals for each five-year age group per event.
In a road race, medals and recognition can go to the best performers, regardless of age or sex. First place may go to a 41-year-old man or to a 76-year-old woman. Age-graded competition can also include open-class and youth competitors as young as age 8.
Note: Many competitions use age-grading in addition to the traditional five-year scoring to award prizes. They offer modest ribbons or medals to the first three in each five-year age group, and then award prize money to the top age-graded competitors.
Age factors (pages 8-15) can be used to compare one’s performance in a given event to what he/she did, might have done, or will do, in his/her prime. The factor expresses the rate of decline (or the rate of improvement, in the case of youths) based on age. It converts a performance to the equivalent performance by an open-class athlete.
Factors work well when you want to score men and women separately, and when you want to compare performances in only one event (such as a road race).
The factors require only one calculation to determine the places in an event. Simply multiply the factor for a person’s age/event by his/her actual mark.
That gives you an "age-graded mark" or "equivalent open-class performance." The person with the best age-graded mark is the winner, regardless of age. All the men compete in one "division.’’ All the women compete in a separate ‘‘division.
1) A 40-year-old man runs 100 meters in 12.07 seconds. The M40 factor for 100m (page 8) is .9542. (That means a 40-year-old man should run the 100 about five percent slower than when he was in his prime.) Multiply 12.07 by .9542 = 11.52. That’s his "age-graded time" or "equivalent open-class performance."
2) A 62-year-old man high jumps 4’6" (1.37 meters). The M62 factor for the high jump (page 11) is 1.4254. Multiply 1.37 by 1.4254 = 1.95 meters (6’4¾"), his "age-graded mark."
3) A 53-year-old woman runs 10K in 45:18. The W53 factor for the 10K (page 13) is .8545. Multiply 45:18 (or 2718 seconds) by .8545 = 38:43 (or 2323 seconds).
4) A 45-year-old decathlete runs 400 meters in 58.13 seconds. The M45 factor for the 400 is .9071. Multiply 58.13 by .9071 = 52.73. Look up 52.73 in the IAAF scoring tables and find that 52.73 = 693 points. Do the same for all 10 decathlon events and get a total age-graded score.
5) A 42-year-old woman runs 80-meter 30" hurdles in 12.33. The W42 factor for 80H is 1.1082. Multiply 12.33 by 1.1082 = 13.66, her age-graded time for the 100-meter 30" hurdles (the distance/height used in open races).
6) An 8-year-old boy runs 5K in 19:55. The M8 factor for 5K is .7809. Multiply 19:55 by .7809 = 15:33.
Please see the sample completed heat sheets on pages 30-31.
Quote from Oklahoma Runner Magazine
"One of the ten greatest improvements in Oklahoma road racing in the last 10 years is WAVA age-graded scoring for masters prize money, team scoring and Clydesdales. This offers a reasonable and equitable way to score runners of various ages and both sexes and is used by both the Tulsa Run and Redbud Classic."
Age standards (pages 16-29) can be used to compare performances in a single event or in many events, among both sexes — with only one calculation.
Standards work well when you want to score men and women (or boys and girls) together, or when you want to compare performances in several events (such as a track & field meet). But standards can also be used for single events, and to score men and women separately.
For running and walking events, divide the "time standard" for a person’s age/event by the time he/she ran or walked. For field events, divide the person’s actual throw or jump by the "distance standard" for his/her age/event.
That gives you a "performance-level percentage." The person with the best percentage is the winner, regardless of age or sex. 100% is world-record level.
1) A 40-year-old man runs 100 meters in 12.07 seconds. The M40 standard for 100m (page 16) is 10.33. Divide 10.33 by 12.07 = .8558, or 85.6%. So his "performance-level percentage" is 85.6%.
2) A 62-year-old man high jumps 4’6" (1.37 meters). The M62 standard for the high jump (page 21) is 1.72. Divide 1.37 by 1.72 = .7965, or 79.7%.
3) A 53-year-old woman runs 10K in 45:18. The W53 standard for 10K is 35:00.5 (page 24). Divide 35:00.5 by 45:18 = .7728, or 77.3%.
4) A 45-year-old man runs 400 meters in 58.13 seconds. The M45 standard for 400m is 47.72. Divide 47.72 by 58.13 = .8211, or 82.1%.
5) A 42-year-old woman runs 80-meter hurdles in 12.33. The W42 standard for 80H is 11.02. Divide 11.02 by 12.33 = .8938, or 89.4%.
6) An 8-year-old boy runs 5K in 19:55. The M8 standard for 5K is 16:29.3. Divide 16:29 by 19:55 = .8276, or 82.8%.
To pick an outstanding athlete among the six examples, select the one with the best performance percentage. In this case, it’s the 42-year-old female hurdler (example #5) with an 89.4% performance.
A meet or race can be staged using individual age standards, or five-year age-group standards. The advantage of using single-age standards is that all performers compete equally, based on their ages. The advantage of using age-group standards is that you have fewer numbers to deal with.
Please see the sample completed heat sheets on pages 33-34.
Note. Mathematical factors and standards are directly related to each other by the open-class standard in the formulas:
OC + AS = AF and AF x AS =OC.
Easy to Do
All you need is a simple calculator. Remember that calculations must always be made in seconds or meters. For example, 5 minutes, 2.7 seconds (5:02.7) must be converted to 302.7 seconds before calculations begin. To make it easy, the standards on pages 16 through 29 are listed in both:
1) minutes and seconds, and
2) seconds only.
A TimeMaster calculator makes it even easier.
Conversion isn’t necessary. The TimeMaster adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides in hours, minutes, and seconds. The TimeMaster is available for $29.95 + $1.25 postage from the National Masters News, P0 Box 2372, Van Nuys CA 91404.
For meet and race directors, several companies offer computer software which includes the age-graded tables. Among them are:
Track & Field
Long Distance Running
Time- and Distance-Handicap Racing
An age-graded meet, road race, or racewalk can be made even more exciting by using distance handicaps in the 100, 200 and 400, and/or time handicaps in races from 800 meters up.
Refer to the "Handicap Racing" tables (pages 36-39). In the sprints, each runner gets a distance handicap. The first one to the finish line is the winner. In the 800 and up, the slowest runner (based on age and sex) starts first, followed seconds later by the next slowest and down to the fastest. Each runner covers the full distance. The first one to the finish line is the winner. Both sexes may run either distancero time-handicap races together.
Personal Performance Chart
By using age-graded tables, you can keep track of your progress over the years, set goals, and estimate your performances in new events. (See the personal performance charts on pages 42-44).
Throws and Hurdles
Even though the weight of the implement being thrown at older ages may vary, the age-graded mark reflects using the open-class implement (16-pound shot and hammer, 2kg discus, and 800g javelin for men; 4kg shot and hammer, 1kg discus, and 600g javelin for women).
Likewise for hurdles. Even though hurdle heights and distances at older ages may vary, the age-graded time compares to the open-class (OC) hurdle distance and height (60H/42", 1 IOH/42" and 400H/36" for men; and 60H/33", 100H/33" and 400H/30" for women).
Similarly, the men’s 2000SC performances convert to the equivalent 3000SC performances for men.
As mentioned before, age factors are mainly designed to compare performances of one sex in one event. However, after using the factors to determine the age-graded marks, you can compare both sexes in one or many events by one additional calculation: for running events, divide the OC standard by the age-graded time; for field events, divide the age-graded distance/height by the OC standard. That gives you the performance level percentage. The person with the best percentage is the winner, regardless of age or sex.
The performance-level percentage can also be expressed as an age-graded mark, by either dividing (running events) or multiplying (field events) the open-class standard by the P.L. %.
You may find that the runners achieve generally higher percentages than the field-event performers - especially the throwers. That’s because field events are more technical than the running events; the best throw of the day may be substantially better than the fifth-best effort of the day (even in the Olympics, that’s the case), whereas runners tend to be more bunched up at the finish. If this is the case, you may wish to divide the awards equally among the best 1) track, and 2) field performances.
Aid to Medical Research
Some remarkable data can be gleaned from the factors which could be beneficial to the medical community.
For example, how much do the abilities old 40-year-olds decline from their prime years? Not as much as most people think — only about 6% (in the 400) to 2% (in the marathon).
How about 50-year-olds? It’s 12% (in the 400) to 9% (in the marathon). For 60-year-olds: 20% to 16%; at 70, 28% to 25%; at 80, about 35%; and at 90, about 50%.
In the jumps, the decline is greater. It varies for 40-year-olds from 12% in the pole vault to 7% in the triple jump. For 50s, it’s 24% (javelin) to 20% (TJ). For 60s, between 34% (PV) and 28% (HJ). For 70s, 43% (PV) to 36% (HJ). For 80s, 50% (PV) to 42% (HJ).
Decline for throwers varies at age 40 from 15% (javelin) to 0% (discus). After age 49, the rate of decline in the throws is harder to measure because age 50 ± athletes throw lighter-weight implements in competition.
Many medical research studies have been and are being done to determine how aging affects human performance. The age-graded tables, based on actual performances over the last 25 years, offer, perhaps, as comprehensive a study of the subject as is possible.
Conversion From Feet/Inches To Meters
To convert from feet/inches to meters, you can refer to the conversion tables in Track & Field News’ Little Gold Book, or to the tables on page 45.
Or, a quick way is to divide the number of feet by 3.2808 to get meters (example: 6 feet, 4 inches = 6.3333 feet divided by 3.2808 = 1.93 meters).
Another way is to multiply the number of inches by .0254 (example: 6 feet 4 inches = 76 inch s multiplied by .0254 = 1 .93 meters).
How To Use The Age-Graded Factors
1) My age is_________
2) My event is___________
3) My mark in my event is___________
4) The age factor for my event (see pages 8-15) is ____
5) Multiply line 3 by line 4.
That gives you your ‘‘age-graded mark,’’ or equivalent open-class performance.
How To Use The Age-Graded Standards
1) My age is_________
2) My event is__________
3) My mark in my event is__________
4) The age standard for my event (see pages 16-29) is__________
5) a. For running and walking events, divide line 4 by line 3.
b. For field events, divide line 3 by line 4. That gives you a "performance-level percentage." You can compare your percentage at different ages and in different events.
90%+ = World Class 80%+ = National Class 70%+ = Regional Class 60%+ = Local Class