Home » Blog » Competing » What Is Age Grading? (Age Grading Calculators Included)!

What Is Age Grading? (Age Grading Calculators Included)!

Rate this Article:
What Is Age Grading? (Bonus: Age Grading Calculator)! What Is Age Grading? (Age Grading Calculators Included)! www.runnerclick.com

Age grading is the tool that allows you to compare your own race times to that of runners of all ages.

We think you can’t just assume that you will slow down as you age. In fact, some people seem to get quicker as they mature as a runner. However, it is normal that every athlete reaches a point where he or she will naturally slow down.

If you finish behind the young ones in races, your race times might still be comparable to theirs on a level playing field. How is that possible, you ask? Is there a way to level the playing field?

Yes, there is.

Enter age grading: The tool allows you to compare your own race times to runners of all age groups. Age grading running is truly a thing in the running world.

What is Age Grading?

Age grading was developed and first published by the former World Association of Veteran Athletes in 1989 and is a way in which to adjust a runner’s performance based on both age and gender.

Wondering how that is done? 

World record performances were recorded for every age, at every distance, for both men and women.

When there are circumstances where world records are unknown for a specific age or distance, they are estimated.

Next, finishing time is compared to the world record time available for your specific age and gender.

5. Uses of Age Grading

Age grading also has some other uses.

It can help you to:

  1. Track your running performance over time.
  2. Identify the best events of your lifetime.
  3. Determine the single best performance and ranking of your lifetime.
  4. Set present and future goals.
  5. Predict race performances over specific distances (assuming that you’ve properly prepared for said distance).

Keep in mind that age-grading does have its shortcomings.

It doesn’t, for example, make provision for differing weather conditions or terrain when comparing performances.

As a result, some feel that it hardly seems fair to compare times recorded in howling winds, pelting rain, and varying terrain to those clocked in perfect running conditions.

What is a Good Age Grading?

According to Masters Athletics, there are certain parameters to be considered for achieving excellence in age-graded running.

  • 100% World Record Level 
  • 90-99%  World Class
  • 81-90% National Class
  • 71-79% Regional Class

An age-graded performance of 80% rates you as a national class athlete, while a 90% score rates you as world-class.

So, in addition to enabling you to compare your running times to that of other runners of all ages, age grading also gives an idea of how your performance is stacking up in terms of being a local, regional, or national class athlete.

How to Calculate Age Grading: The Formula

Often, people misunderstand the age-graded performances and think they are percentiles. In other words, they think an age grade of 70% means that the person is running faster than 70% of all runners of that same age.

The percentage does measure the fraction of your race time in that it is equivalent to what is predicted to be the all-time best for different ages and for gender. 

Confusing, isn’t it?

To put it simply, the age-grade calculator divides what is the predicted best performance by your race time. 

If a 51-year-old woman has run a 10K road race in 38 minutes, and the predicted best for that age is 34 minutes, the age-grade percentage is:

34 divided by 38 = 89%

Where To Find Age Grading Calculators?

If you are looking to determine your age grading, you can find and use an online age grading table. 

We recommend the following two:

Latest Articles