What is Age-Grading?
Age-Grading is a way of measuring your athletics performance taking into account your age and sex. It enables you to produce a percentage score for each run or other athletics event based on how old you were when you did the competition and the comparative performance of world record holders taking into their age and event itself.
Why is Age Grading useful?
As we get older it is reasonable to expect that we won’t be able to run at the speeds we achieved when we were young. This can be demotivating for runners who are ‘past their peak’ even if they are running well for their age. So, rather than focusing solely on how fast you are running, it can be more motivating to focus on your Age-Graded performance.
Factoring out age enables you to see how good your performance is at any time given expected norms for your age. Using this you can track how your performance has changed over the long-term. You can also predict your result in your next competition, assuming you are at the same level of readiness it compete.
You can compare your performances with those of other athletes in the same discipline athletics discipline (sprints, hurdles, middle distance, throws, jumps), independent of age, gender and event. Comparisons across disciplines however don’t make sense since the performance statistics are very different.
How can you calculate the Age-Graded percentages?
The authorative calculator of age-grading in accordance with the WMA rules was developed by Howard Grubb. The current version dates from 2006, except for some disciplines where there are 2010 factors available. Refer to his website for the WMA calculator and related information. Included with the calculator, he also provides Excel files with all the age-grading factors and formulae in order to be able to embed the calculations in competition management software.