Are you a veteran runner who at times feels like a second class runner?
My name is Adrian and I’m one of the regular freelance writers for Runner’s World. We are putting together an article inspired by some of the hot topics from our forums in recent months, and one of the feistiest was about veteran runners.
It seems many of you runners who are now classed in the veteran category (me too!) feel you at times get a raw deal in races (for instance when prizes are awarded) and at running clubs generally.
If that sounds like you, please let us know - either here on the forum or direct at the email below - and tell us more about your big or little gripes.
Also, if you’ve changed your training, altered your goals or even come up with a new running schedule since getting older (anything between 45-80) also please get in touch. We want to hear the upside too!
We want to look at all the good and bad points of being a veteran runner. It would be great to use your comments in the magazine if you have some valid points to make.
I really look forward to hearing from you, so please contact us ASAP.
All the best
Years ago I would get the aching muscles and the sore joints the day after a hard run, Now at 60, I dont need the hard run to get the same affect.
Years ago I used to worry that I was slow. Nowadays I am a lot slower but dont worry about it. Looking at race results and the number of competitors in the v60 category compared to say the v40 cat makes you feel kind of special that you are still out there pounding the pavement.
Years ago when considering doing a particular race and looking at the previous years results could decide 'too fast for me'. Now I quite fancy seeking out 'too fast for me' races and the idea of finishing last when trying to avoid doing so is kind of appealing in a strange way.
One thought I did have the other day about racing when of bus pass age is that in a lot of places you go and things you do there are concessions for those past a certain age but why do no races offer concessions. Mind you the free bus pass is great for getting to races while it lasts.
I'm 72 and was a late starter to running at about 55 after a lifetime of other sports. I improved my training and performances for just over 10 years with a marathon PB of 3:53 at age 66 and several 5ks in 22 mins at the same age. Here's some points for your consideration.1. I've always been grateful for the simple ability to be able to run at any pace or distance as I've got older. Young runners seem envious or impressed or both. I'm happy to be accused of being a coffin dodger.2. Age degeneration is an exponential curve not a linear progression. Degeneration usually quickens somewhere in the 60s and the rate of steepness of the decline is decided by your genes not by your training.There comes a point when you can't recover quickly enough from a training session to cope with the next training run so runs become fewer or much shorter. You just can't cope with former training loads.3. I find one thing very motivational. It is to try and keep my age grade percentage (over 70%) roughly the same each year. This means that in relative terms I'm as good/average as I've always been.4. The received wisdom is that it's speed that degenerates quicker than stamina. I am finding that this is not the case. I can recover quicker from short, fast runs, say 3 miles, so I can do more of them effectively whereas a long run can leave me stiff and sore for days afterwards and no hope of an effective run. I can keep more speed than endurance.5. The biggest anomoly in racing is the practice of lumping together all Over-60s into one age group category. This is the time when age degeneration is quickening and no-one in their late 60s can compete with runners in their low 60s and asking Over 70s and even Over 80s to compete with a 60 year old is ridiculous. It's not that I want prizes. It's just helpful to know where I rate against my contemporaries. 6 Obliging everyone over 60 to race in the same age group may infringe age discrimination legisation. It certainly infringes the spirit of that legislation. Hope some of this is helpful.JJ
Please let me know when you need my address to send the consultancy fee.JJ
I'm not sure I share your basic premise Adrian. I'm 41, and therefore now a vet (as Surrey Runner says why start at 45 - indeed why stop at 80?), and when I go to races there's always way more people older than me than younger than me.
In fact my placings in my age group category is always substantially worse than my the same time would get in the open category.
You could very well argue that vets get a significant advantage when it comes to prizes. The overall prizes often go to them, and then the vets prizes are picked up by lower placed vets, when there are no prizes specifically for the "open" categories.
My last race - top 3 all M40 , 4th place senior male, 5th was M50, 6th-11th all senior males, 12th M60, 13th M50, 14th senior female, 15th M40 (me!).
over 35 is a vet for females..............which does make confusion in some races as the vets are faster than the youngsters in many races................but they try and be as fair as they can..........
never ever heard ofg problems for those being vets .........to be fair its a race and they don't need to have age catergories but the majority do.........
Why does the writer think that we are treated as second class citizens as to be fair vets make the the majority of most races
to be far most races have different classes of vets..........
and they did try and put the mens down a few years ago but there seemed to be some resistance......35 is the Vet gae for lots of sports like tennis
58 female who eventually joined a local club after running on own for 10 years and the best thing I've done to keep me motivated! I don't feel any discrimination in my club, in fact as a more mature runner I was made to feel very welcome and always feel encouraged alongside the younger faster runners. We have some strong "mature" veterans who are an inspiration to anyone who runs, they clearly demonstrate what can be acheved by ongoing and focused commitment.The positive side about being a more mature runner is there is less in your age group and you quickly get to know others within your age catagory who run in the local races. I do appreciate that in some races if there are not enough runners within age/gender groups there may not be a prize and I agree with the previous comment that it is unfair to lump all veterans together. I am happy in the knowledge that I can comfortably compete in half marathons and 10ks and still look forward to my next run!
As a 60-plus female triathlete living and racing in Germany, I am happy that the German triathlon union rules state that senior age group divisions are every 5 years - as long as there is even one person in an age category that category is accounted for in the results.That gives a 59 year old more chance of winning when only racing against 55 to 59 instead of 50 to 59. JJ is right to say there's more and faster deterioration at the older end of the age groups.
It bugs me that the London Marathon "Good For Age" chart is so blatantly wrong. I'm 51, but according to that chart I should be 70+ !!!
Sort it out Adrian.
its their own fault.there are too many good male runners in their 50's................but yeas i agree .for those men in their 50's its much harder than for those in their 20's
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 :-/
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