Race of the Sexes uses WMA age-graded tables to declare winner

Lucy Proctor and David Lewis

The BBC cites World Masters Athletics and quotes various age-grading experts in a story posted yesterday. It basically tries to answer the question: When is a woman equal to an older man in distance running. Lucy Proctor, 28, says she challenged her 52-year-old colleague David Lewis to race in the Great North Run half-marathon. “Then I went in search of a statistician,” she writes. “Alan Jones, a retired IBM engineer, is the ultimate number-crunching runner. For decades, he has worked on this very problem for World Masters Athletics (WMA) — the international association for veteran athletes. Another running enthusiast and statistician, Howard Grubb, has used Alan’s figures to create the excellent age-grading calculator now featured on the Runner’s World website.” In the end, Lucy “finished exactly three minutes earlier than David. So according to Alan Jones, David beat me by 30 seconds.” Makes sense.

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September 24, 2010

4 Responses

  1. Jeremy Willis - September 24, 2010

    I just wanted to say that I’m a fan of having the tables, but just for the sake of fun. It’s fun to say “hey, I’m 45 and just ran a 54 flat quarter…and that’s equivalent to an XX.X quarter in my prime..cool!”. But at the same time, I totally agree with Lucy. Age-grade or not, WHOEVER CROSSES THE LINE FIRST WINS…regardless of sex or age.

    Now as we get older, it’ll certainly be fun seeing what our performances are “equivalent to”, but I don’t ever want my performances to be compared to others in that way. It’s like a handicap in golf, getting a class curve when you’re in school, or having someone give you a 3-5 yard head start in the 100M. That’s fine and all, but I’d just assume say “hey, I’m 54 and I just scored 5,000 points in a DEC” instead of saying 6,800. It’s misleading, hard to explain to my peers outside of the track world, and it certainly won’t make me feel any better ’cause I’ll always know that I scored 5,000…period.

    Anyways, those are just my thoughts. I love this sport and I love seeing us all get out there and compete…regardless of our age.

  2. Mary Brown - September 10, 2014

    I just race against myself. Although I’ve lost 15% off my time, I’m bumping up against my records age adjusted. It helps an old lady keep pushing!

    I want to have a “Fat Old 5k” where people get a head start based on the age and weight. Age has been well documented but I need better weight tables.

  3. Fred McWaid - March 28, 2016

    For the record am 86 yrs old.
    Agree with Jeremy 100%, with Mary 50% – our creator put us on the age thing, we put ourselves on the fat thing

  4. Charlotte - April 2, 2019

    I was a big runner in my youth. I am 53 now and overweight. Will train and get into running again if I get the OK from Doc. Why not. Boston, I will be there at 55? 😀

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