Age-graded results

I’ve been meaning to respond to Robert’s comments from the other week about the age-graded results.

This is what he wrote …

I’m curious about your age graded results for other distances, and which of these looks to be your strongest. I am also curious about how the % rating for ultra’s looks to be far harder to obtain than short distances.

Even the marathon it’s pretty tough to get within 50% of the time of the world record, yet to get within 50% of the 100m record is something that many runners can achieve. Is it that a fast pace for endurance races is far harder to train for than face pace for sprints? Might genetics and upbringing have a big baring on this greater variation too?

This does make me wonder if anyone has mapped the times to percentage of the population that can achieve each time. This would might give you a better indication of runners achievements relative to the wider population rather than the best runners in history.

From my perspective I think the percentages up to marathon distance look about right. It is the ultra percentages when numbers go right down. I’ve just assumed that the charts aren’t really set up for off-road ultras and than all they are doing is comparing times for road ultras of whatever distance.

So for example when I put in 9hrs 44mins 10secs as a 49yr old running 53miles for the Highland Fling it comes up with 47.86% which is a lot lower than say my best half marathon percentage of 78.85% But I assume that the charts are looking at a 53mile road race which is very different.

I use the percentage charts in my ultras just to compare my ultras. So here is a list of my ultras in percentage order ….

Not surprisingly my best ultras percentage wise are the shorter ones and the worse are the longer ones. But what it does do if give me an idea of how I’ve done on one particular race.

So comparing my four Fling races we have …

So my 9.49.11 as a 50 year old was actually a better run than my 9.44.10 as a 49 year old by a massive 0.02% !! My West Highland Way times show …

So the good thing about the percentage charts for the ultras is being able to compare my performances year on year as I get older (and slower??). This means when I’m 73 running my 25th consequetive West Highland Way race in 24hrs 50mins 00secs it will give me a percentage of 43.03 which will be my percentage pb!!!

For my percentages I’ve used There are lots of sites on the internet which give you your age-graded percentage and they all seem to be slightly different.

For example the other on the RunnersWorld site gives similar percentages for me up to marathon but quite different for my ultras.

For example my 19.51.59 gives me 42.42% on fetcheveryone but 58.12% on RunnersWorld. Maybe I start using the RunnerWorld one!

The key thing though is to use the same chart for all the runs so you can compare.

You might be able to tell that I had another day off today!

Too much time on my hands!! I did go out for an easy run mid morning. I made sure I ran it nice and steady, enjoying the sunshine.

One last thing … I see blogger has a new facility on the right hand column. If you want to register your email address they will send you an email each time I post!!! Sign up if you like that idea??!!

Tues 28th Mar Run Details
6.53miles in 50mins 37secs (7.46pace)

This entry was posted in Age-graded charts, Easy run. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Age-graded results

  1. Robert says:

    Thanks for another interesting, if rather geeky post 😉

    In your post you wrote:
    “Not surprisingly my best ultras percentage wise are the shorter ones and the worse are the longer ones.”

    Which leads me to ask the question why is expected that the further you'd go the less well you'd perform relative to the graded results?

    The grading is likely to be based on road/track results, so this will likely go some way to explaining the big drop between your road race results and ultra's. I don't think it can account for it all though.

    Perhaps adjusting the results against the race winner as a percentage of time, and than if the results are available grade the winners road ultra results to see if there is a relationship that you can apply back to your own results.

    Perhaps if one averages the results of a collection of individuals from road to specific trail ultra's you'd be able to get a course grading.

  2. Andy Cole says:

    I've looked at this a bit too. I'm sure it's because the age-graded calculator is based on one or more of the distance comparator tables, which all assume that conditions for any given race are the same – ie a flat, even course, no requirement to carry equipment, easy to refuel whenever you like, etc. The longer distances in real ultras are then bound to take everyone longer than predicted, because the reality is far from this, and the longer the race, the bigger the effect – eg you will run up hills in a 50 miler that you wouldn't in a 100 miler and so on. I have some ideas on how to compare ultra times, will post soon.

  3. Lollylegs says:

    The grading tables are developed by World Masters Athletics group and the last update was 2006. I guess they can not know what the terrain will be like so they would just assume flat. The grading could be manually adjusted to suit how the real terrain was. If anyone is interested, there is a new Age Grader Android app (suitable for adults and kids) that uses the latest WMA tables. I calculates all TF stadium events and distances up to 200km. It also 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

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

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