I'm 39 and since I reached 35 I've been placed as a vet in some races and not in others. Seems like race directors and different athletics associations cant even agree on the female age categories. Some say 35 for women is a veteran, some keep it in line with the men and say 40...
I think having 5 year age bands like in triathlon would be a good idea but I suspect race directors wouldn't like the idea of handing out so many more prizes! Even without prizes, it would be good just for comparison purposes...
Maybe in the not too distant future, there will be no vet catagory. There will just be 70 year olds with legs injected full of stem cells beating off 20 and 30 year olds to win races :-/
i have mailed u
you can ( if u feel its ok ) to put public what i've written - as i'm unsure my subject might interest you
i am a veteran -
But do people enjoy running more as they get into the vet categories, do they enjoy it less as they slow or do they enjoy it just the same ?
I'll never know Derek. When started running I was already a veteran
ive been running all my life- pushing wheelchair for nearly 11 years now -
good question - guess it depends on the individual - getting slower when your over your peak can be hard to accept
I think maybe you enjoy it in a different way as you get older. Maybe you enjoy the fact that you can run at all! But like Tenjiso, I was already a veteran when I started out. I do think age gradings are good, too.
Golf uses a handicap system which means that, apart from elite "scratch" competitions, most participants are capable of winning competitions. I think this greatly increases the enjoyment of the sport - pitting young against old; experienced against beginners. This is great - it gives the game a friendly but real competitive edge for all. Everybody is in the same competition, with a chance of winning.
I think that we would see an increase in race participation if we could find something similar in running. I think that running competitions, away from elite races, should routinely use age-grading as a form of unbiased handicap system. OK... it wouldn't be quite the same, but it would allow young to be pitted against old... so you could keep runners really interested as they get older - and indeed, the "young greyhound" who currently feels he/she can breeze to first place in their local run, would need to pull out all the stops to win by a wide-enough margin to secure overall victory.
Beginners, or less talented runners wouldn't be able to benefit directly (I can't see how that could be practically achieved) - but even there, the older ones could work to improve their age-grade scoring... and have a realistically achievable benchmark towards which to work.
Golf usually gives prizes to the low-score and to the best handicap score. You could do something similar with running.
So many races have spreadsheeted results, which have a record of d.o.b. and finishing time, it could be calculated in an instant. The only thing is that there might need to be an investment in technology, as those races where finishing-position, rather than finishing-time, is recorded, would need to upgrade in order to monitor times for each runner. That shouldn't be too difficult or expensive with today's technology though.
A bit rambling... but in summary, running clubs and race organisers should try to level the playing field as far as possible, if we want to maintain maximum competitive interest amongst runners.. and making far more use of age-graded scores to determine the results of races, sounds like a good way to go about it.
park runsw give wava scores for the runs do itws great to compare club members or families
I'm a newish club runner (started Jan 2012 after injury) and 49 years old. I'd be interested in helping you with your article.
My account of my first trail marathon (Beachy Head) is here in my blog - links to a scan of a feature I had published in Outdoor Fitness Magazine earlier this month. Hope that's of interest as it describes a couple of obstacles I had to get over to even reach the start line!
From the little experience I've had so far, I'd say I'm astonished at the level of fitness of vets who've been running all their lives!
At the end of the day though, a race is a race. The point is trying to beat as many people as possible. It is about who does the distance in the least time. Whilst there is some merit in age groups etc. actually there are a whole host of things that determine how quickly we can run, so you could end up with myriads of silly categories - leg length, slow twitch/fast twitch ratio, amount of training done, etc etc.
The great thing about running is although you may not be competitive with the people right at the front of the pack, you can always be competitive with the people directly around you, and that for me is whta racing is about, not just people who fall into a similar convenient bracket. I had a fantastic race last time out with the first two ladies in the race. We were in different categories (me M40), yet we all had a right old go competing against each other for our overall place, just as it should be.
Run Wales makes some good points. I suppose the trick is to take the results and present them in as many ways as possible. What may be of great interest to one may be of little or no interest to other. It is not difficult, time consuming or expensive to do this . A race I have an involvement with - the Halewood 5K takes the monthly results as keyed in and produces each view for the effort of one button click which are then uploaded to the web site
As to what interest there is in any ot the alternative views , for those who view the results
26 % look at how their PB compares to all others who have ever run the race
21 % look at how their age graded performnace compares to all others.
14 % look at the points score which is points from each race run but uses age grading rather than actual times
12 % look at best times by age category
9 % look at club figures
9 % look at details of top 3 placers across all races
8 % look at the grand prix which is just total time from 3 best races.
Regarding race prizes (which was the question originally asked), I could quote many strange examples of how prizes are awarded. The best (worst?) I can think of is the Leeds Abbey Dash. Over 50 prizes are only awarded to runners aged 50-54, over 55 prizes to runners aged 55-59 over 60 to runners aged 60-64 etc. Fewer prizes are awarded in the older age groups, 3 over 50, 2 over 55, one over 60. So it's not unusual that, for example the 2nd fastest 60 year old would be faster than the 2nd fastest 55 year old, but the 55 year old with the slower time gets a prize & the 60 year old with the faster time doesn't get a prize. The race is actually promoted by Age UK !!
Also at the Abbey Dash the prize money is allocated much more favourably to the younger age groups. Relating prizes to the number of runners in each age group, the awards are far more generous for younger runners than older ones.
I am 62 and have run most of my life. It is just as hard now as it was when I was young. I still have the competitive drive to do as well as I can.
Of course as a younger person, the goal is to win or get as close to that as possible, or set a pb for the distance covered.
These days one is happy to complete the course, but the best thing in recent years that has made my day is age-grading. It is wonderful to discover that you had the best age-graded performance of the day..
UKA rules now use the horrible American term of "Master" rather than Vet, and define Masters as 35+ for both men & women. Possibly valid for Track & Field, but mad for road running.
Fortunately Race Directors tend to ignore that nonsense, and do their own thing regarding vet categories.
Yes, the London GFA categories are an absolute disgrace!
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