A Four-Part Series:
Age Grading - Calculation Notes
Age Grading - Non-Standard Distances
Age Grading - Calculator
I frequently get questions about using the calculator to compute age-graded performance percentages for non-standard distances (e.g., 8 miles). The tables do not report values for those distances so the calculator can not make calculations for them either. BUT, there is a way to age grade performances at non-standard distances that might be accurate enough (and fair enough) to allow you to include one or more such races in a series of age-graded races. Let me explain.
When you graph the anticipated paces for any age/gender cohort over all the standard distances, you get a fairly smooth curve that allows you to then estimate the performances at intermediate, non-standard distances. Those estimates can be expressed as an adjustment factor that can be applied to output from the calculator using the next shorter standard distance. Let's look at one example.
If 15K was a non-standard distance, we could multiply the 10K percentages by the average ratio (see Column E) and estimate the 15K percentages (see Column F). There is a slight difference in the computed (Column F) and actual (Column C) percentages, so you would not want to estimate the percentages for a standard distance ... but ... as a technique for estimating the percentages for non-standard distances, it may be close enough for what you want to do. You have to decide. Some might be helped by rounding and others hurt by it--but that is also true given the nature of the age-grading tables (with times rounded to whole seconds) and the calculator (which rounds the percentages to 2 decimal places).
- The age-graded performance percentages generated by the method noted above WOULD NOT BE OFFICIAL in the formal world of masters track and field. They would only be valid to the degree you and your peers agree that they are.
- These values are based on the race walking tables and may not be as accurate for the running tables.