Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

Running Through the Ages

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Age-graded tables use a number of variables to compare performances at different ages in track and road running events. These age-graded tables quantify the typical decline in athletic performance as we age as well as the improvement that comes as a young athlete reaches their prime. The World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA), the world governing body for masters (veterans) track and long distance running athletes are responsible for the development of these tables as well as ongoing updates.

Check out the latest age-graded calculator HERE

Masters athletes thrive on the interesting comparisons to open-age athletes made possible by these tables. The tables were updated in 2006 and recently adopted, and to my delight I discovered that the 3:10:02 marathon I ran at age 50 to set an Ontario 50-54 record has been upgraded considerably.  According to the 1994 tables my time was equivalent to a 2:50:05 marathon but in the past year I had a look and my time is now thought to be the equivalent to a 2:40:00 marathon.  Gee, if I had run one second faster, I would have (virtually) broken the 2:40 barrier.

I’m not sure why they changed the tables but suffice to say that as a 2:50 equivalent I expected that it would not take long for this record to be broken.  As far as I know, the record still stands so it seems the table-makers have grounds for their changes.  I should mention that I have no aspirations to try and break the Ontario 55-59 record as that mark is an outstanding 3:11:56 run by Paula Hickman of Ottawa which is also the Canadian record.  That time is equivalent to a 2:30 marathon and not far off Sylvia Ruegger’s 2:28:36 the Canadian open record that has stood for 36 years.  CLICK HERE to read an article about speedster Paula Hickman who is planning to go for it when she turns 60.

Paul Hickman setting a stellar Canadian age-group marathon record. (Photo from Digital Journal)

Regarding the discovery of my lowered age-graded equivalent, who knew that you could improve your marathon time without taking a single step.

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