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World Masters Athletics (WMA, nee World Association of Veteran Athletes,

WAVA) age-grading standards will be 30 years old in 2019.  They have gone

through several “fine tunings” regarding modifying the standards slightly, the

last in 2015. At its simplest, age-grading is a way of handicapping athletes to

compensate for the aging process and at its most complex it is a model

containing world-wide empiric data.  It can translate your result either into its

equivalent time for an Open athlete or it can translate it into a percentile.  It is

most often used as a percentile, since most people can relate excellence to a

percentile.  Typically the percentiles are stated thusly:

                                        100% - Approximate World Record Level

                                        Over 90% - World Class Level

                                        Over 80% - National Class Level

                                        Over 70% - Regional Class Level

One of the leaders in innovative use of these standards is the Masters Long

Distance Running (LDR) Committee of USATF.  The Master LDR

Championship Guidelines require more award money be designated for age

grading than for overall winners.  Why? Simply because the overall prize

winners are almost always going to be 40 year olds, we want to encourage

runners over 40 of all ages to participate, we want to give them as level a

playing field as possible, and the age grading tables allow us to do that.  As a

case in point at our 2012 10K Championship held in Ann Arbor, MI, Chris

Kennedy, 57, 39:30, who finished 42nd overall was first in age-grade at

96.2%; second in age-grade at 93.0% was Kevin Miller, 50, 33:00, who was

4th overall; third age-grade at 91.9% went to Malcolm Campbell, 41, 31:08

who was first overall; fourth age-grade at 91.6% was Edie Stevenson, 62,

44:32, who was 67th overall and fifth age-grade at 990.9% was Doug

Goodhue, 70, 40:22, who was 50th overall.  It has been recommended that all

Association Championships and Grand Prix events follow a similar pattern

and award the most prestigious awards to age-grade winners since that

approach reaches a more diverse set of age groups, which the Michigan

results illustrate.

Something that is frequently overlooked is that age-grading, although used

extensively by Masters, also contains standards for all ages and all events,

including Open.  Thus in open competitions, the top 10 age-graded

performances may consist of a mix of gender and ages, and include Youth,

Open and Masters.  If you are looking to expand your base of athletes who

can score in events such as these, age-grading is an unrivalled vehicle for

that purpose.

A listing of the top U.S. All-time Master LDR Age-Graded performances can

be found at:

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