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Age is no Barrier
The Veterans' Handicap System


One of the psychological problems of runners - as they grow older - is coming to terms with their falling race positions - based on percentage of total runners.  Realistically itís inevitable, but to maintain motivation for training, some runners need to continue to challenge for position, and this is usually provided for by the veteranís age categories.  But for some runners an urge still remains to prove to themselves that it is only the progress of time that is accounting for their fall in performance, and not that the effort or the will to train hard has declined.  Hence the arrival of age graded charts that compare the performances of World or British best times with older athletes using a formula.

The problem with those charts is that they have different formulas for different race distances.  Below is a list of age coefficients that can be used from 10k to marathon over any surface.  Itís simply a matter of converting your time in a given race to seconds and multiplying it by the figure next to your age.  The time you get can then be compared to other athletes in the same race using the same chart for their age.  As you see, the optimum ideal age of reaching a peak is considered from 26-27 years old.  These figures are from a survey of 14,000 performances attained in races by men.  This gives a whole new meaning to handicap systems.  Why not try it out for fun on some race results to see just how well you did, regardless of your age.

Age  Multiplier
17    0.9013	29    0.9961	40    0.9411	50    0.8854	60    0.8252
18    0.9243	30    0.9927	41    0.9356	51    0.8798	61    0.8175
19    0.9440	31    0.9887	42    0.9300	52    0.8742	62    0.8093
20    0.9605	32    0.9843	43    0.9244	53    0.8686	63    0.8006
21    0.9740	33    0.9785	44    0.9186	54    0.8631	64    0.7914
22    0.9845	34    0.9744	45    0.9132	55    0.8575	65    0.7817
23    0.9920	35    0.9690	46    0.9077	56    0.8509	66    0.7715
24    0.9966	36    0.9634	47    0.9021	57    0.8451	67    0.7608
25    0.9988	37    0.9579	48    0.8968	58    0.8390	68    0.7496
26    1.0000	38    0.9523	49    0.8910	59    0.8324	69    0.7376
27    1.0000	39    0.9467					70    0.7253
28    0.9986


Norman Matthews © 2001-2004
Head Senior Coach
Horwich RMI Harriers