RunBritain rankings

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22/03/2011 at 13:04

wondered if anyone used this ranking system, and what they thought of it. Is it useful at all?

I'd love to know how it actually works as well...

22/03/2011 at 13:12

Its pretty rubbish we've come to the conclusion...


  • it adjusts your times for weather conditions by taking into account everyone else's times versus their pbs and smoothing yours - this leads to under and over estimation depending on whether the other people in the race were in pb shape or running a tempo run for example
  • its not accurate enough at the pointy end (some people have the same number say 4 but are actually widly different in standard)
  • its actually quite tough for women to get a good score because it counts all runs in a year for a distance rather than by gender
  • some people have minus scores as the baseline is not the current WR
WAVAs are much more accurate and give you not only your standard, but also your standard as compared to the world's best which is nice (except maybe for 60+ women where the WRs are quite thin at the moment but these are ever improving as older women keep setting tougher records)

Its also not a ranking system exactly. Its actually a bit like a golf handicap score. Rankings are on the Po10 site and have tough entry requirements (sub 20 mins for 5k for open women for example).
22/03/2011 at 13:17

Curly, if WAVA is compared to the world record, which I am never going to get near to in a zillion years, what's a reasonable percentage to be at?...or which percentage group would reasonable runners fall in?

Sorry, I realise that's a bit like asking 'how long is a piece of string', just interested in setting myself targets for improvement.

22/03/2011 at 13:27

Saffy - I've always worked on the very rough guide that:

50% is most people or first year or running

60% is decent - involves some training

70% is county standard so pretty good (will pick up the odd parkrun win but not amazing)

80-85% is national standard (for women you can make some cash at this level with race wins)

90% + is international standard (you can probably make a living from it at this stage as a woman, but unlikely as a man as there are more of you).

I have worked hard to go from 49% to 70% in 2 and a bit gets tougher as you get higher (ever decreasing return on investment basically), but a runner at a decent training level should expect to improve for 6-10 years believe it or not. 

It takes most people 8 years to reach their peak I've been told (from scratch)...I'm hoping to do it in 6 but I am relaxed about it taking longer if necessary

Everyone can work off their own idea of where they would like to be and dont forget that you can start with 5ks and then aim to balance your wava over the longer distances (which is more difficult). 

Am sure others will have different interpretations of course

Edited: 22/03/2011 at 13:41
22/03/2011 at 13:34

Curly, that's great. Thanks very much . And  at your 49% to 70% in 2 years, very impressive !!

I dabbled with running for a couple of years, but started training 'properly' about 12 months ago. At 44 next month am I still likely to improve for at least 6 years? Having said that, I've recently noticed I've started to quicken so the first year of training is obviously starting to pay off.

Thanks for the help

22/03/2011 at 13:40

Yep I would say that you are, but don't expect any progress to be linear... if you have a looksie around fetch you can see that people progress in wildly different ways (either because of training methods or rate of adaptation to the training or most likely both) and can often seem "stuck" for months on end.

Thats completely normal as far as I have experienced it. Often I get a breakthrough by either:

  • adjusting my training load 
  • changing my focus of racing distance
I have to say Moraghan's suggestion of training for shorter distances first has been very useful to me as I've been able to focus on speed for a while and have seen huge improvements from this.
22/03/2011 at 13:43
Thanks Curly, that's really helpful.
22/03/2011 at 13:44

No problems - if you need any more particular help with training Q's one of the smart bods on the middle ground will be more than happy to help I am sure

(you may get more advice than you ever wanted mind )

22/03/2011 at 14:23

Thanks Curly, that's interesting. The benchmarking is interesting, and you're right, if someone's not out for a PB it will tend to drag the benchmark down.

I had looked at the age grading, and think 50% a reasonable target right now. As my H kindly pointed out when I finished my first half, some people can run twice that far in less time.  I've found that by training for longer distances, I've also sped up over the shorter ones, but that's probably as I've never really trained properly before, just dabbled.

22/03/2011 at 15:12

Did not work for me as it did not have any of the races I ran recently on it?

22/03/2011 at 15:29

You can add them I think RB 

But most people will be better off getting on Po10 (you can set up a profile even if you are outside the rankings):

Since they dont adjust times

17/06/2012 at 15:41

I quite like it but I know what you mean on the ranking. I am currently trying to get into the top 10 and stay in it for the most improved and I have not found it easy. I am currently on 2.9 improvement in June but i just smashed my 5k pb and my handicap didn't really lower much. Still quite a good site though.

18/06/2012 at 12:49
My problem is that many races aren't on RB
25/09/2012 at 14:16

Sorry to dig up an old thread! Is there something you have to do to show up in the rankings list on runbritain? I have an account there and on Pof10 which both have my results and runbritain gives me a ranking. I don't show up on the rankings list page though.

11/07/2013 at 13:46

As I understand it the RB site only includes races that had a UKA licence...  If a race isn't there but it did have a UKA licence then it is possible to add it...  Although this can obviously be frustrating if you get a PB in a race that is not included.  I actually quite like the site but don't take it tooooo seriously.  Does anyone know what the SSS and vSSS columns of the Performance table contain?

11/07/2013 at 14:22

I have a look at RB site now and again and quite like it but as above, I don't take it too seriously. I've noticed since joining a running club that most of my race results are added to Pover of 10 and RB automatically rather than me having to add them.

I've come across this thread before and was interested in what Curly said about basing performances on World Record. I was around 46-48% for my distances a couple of years ago, and now on 58% for 5K, 5 mile and 10K whilst my half marathon time is slightly better at 61%. Aiming for over 60% at all distances but can't see myself getting towards 65+%.

Taxi Driver - not 100% on this, but I believe the SSS measures the difficulty of the course and takes into account weather conditions, where the higher the number, the more difficult the conditions. Then the vSSS compares how you did relative to those conditions with lower or minus values suggesting better than expected, and high numbers being worse than expected.

11/07/2013 at 14:32

legend777 -- Thanks for the feedback...  My more recent values in the vSSS column are negative so I guess that's something 

11/07/2013 at 22:23

I emailed RB to understand what the sss and vsss were. The sss is simply the grading of the course and weather conditions etc. The vsss is a more complicated calculation and acts as a leveller essentially where people say 'that was a hilly course' or 'it was really windy'. Essentially it takes into account everyone elses times on the course against their handicap and therefore expected time on a course of that nature and rates their performance against how everyone else faired on the day. If you get a minus figure it means you have faired better for your level than the average person. If its a plus fig then despite excuses you have faired worse than others did against their level.

Curly has obviously identified some flaws with this at the top of the thread re people tempo running etc. Obviously it assumes everyone in the race is racing at the top of their ability.

12/07/2013 at 16:32

And not running with their children at parkrun for example...or indeed with a slower friend/relative at any race.  

19/04/2014 at 09:10

Hey Im 72 so why should I be concerned with rankings!     I am fortunate to have been a runner for 62 years and hope it will continue.   RBR does allow me to keep in touch with others of similar age and see where I am.   I am now a has been but have previously run to elite standard. (just keep off the hard tarmac if you can when training).  

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