New Age Grades!

Revised May 10, 2022

One can look at Age Graded Performances to demonstrate the latest version of the factors are more accurate. They are much closer, if not right in line, with what that athlete did, or would be capable of doing, in their prime. Use the calculator below to compare.

Age:
Sex: Male  Female
Performance:

Many of you have noticed that Age Grades have changed on this site. That is because we are now using the most recent version of the WMA committee’s factors. Having updated Age Grades on this site facilitates the committee’s analysis. They are also much more accurate than previous versions so help us confirm performances listed on this site are valid. The Age Grade Factors, if adopted, will be effective 1 January 2023.

Age Grading is an adjustment for a performance (time, height or distance) based on age – the older you are, the bigger the adjustment. The adjustment, known as an Age Grade Factor, is multiplied by the performance to get an Age Graded Performance so all times, heights or distances for each event by athletes from 20 to over 100 years old can be compared to each other! The Age Graded Performance is the equivalent to what the athlete would have done when they were in their 20s.

Age Grades are displayed as percentages and are the percentage of a standard, usually the World Record at the time the factors were developed. For example, a 90% men’s 100m Age Grade would be 10.64 second Age Graded Performance (9.59 / 10.64). Some contend that the percentages represent classes like world class and national class which is subjective and not true. A 110 year old running a 15 minute 100m is world class as they are the best and only 110 year old in the world. Age Grades are empirical and mathematical.

Age Grading Factors were first officially adopted by World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA) now known as World Masters Athletics (WMA) in 1989. They were intended to be used to adjust combined events performances so scores across all age groups would be consistent. Periodically, updated factors were adopted: in 1994, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2015. The factors were derived by plotting known exceptional performances for the range of ages. Click here for a wealth of information on the history of Age Grading.

Ideally, performances by the same athletes over several decades should be used to derive the factors. The people who were involved in developing the original factors and each update did not have that kind of information so they made due with what they had – age best performances (a version, in development, of these can be found here).

In 2018, WMA formed a committee to do the periodic Age Grade Factor update. The updated factors were supposed to be voted on at the General Assembly at Toronto2020. The committee used over two million performances, including verified age bests, to derive the factors and to check how consistent same athlete Age Grades were over time. This method results in a huge step toward an accurate representation of performance decline as athletes age. To put in perspective, the original and previous updates considered several hundred performances (because more comprehensive data was not available) to derive the factors. The committee is currently reevaluating the factors using about 2.8 million performances including several updated age bests. Future updates will still be needed to make the factors more accurately represent performance decline over time. Many more performances, especially by older athletes, will be required. In short, the data used in the latest Age Grading Calculations are, by far, the most robust and reliable to date.

To be clear: Age Grading will not accurately represent performance decline until much better performance history is available. Every update, including the current version, did the best that could be done with the data available. There are many examples of unreasonable Age Graded Performances, especially in older age groups, from past updates and how they have improved using the most recent Age Grade Factors. Here are some:

Age
Group
Event
Actual
Age
Grade
Age
Adjusted
Better
than WR
Other Notes
M100
Triple Jump
3.52m
235%
21.00m
12.05m
W85
Pole Vault
1.65m
137%
6.95m
1.56m
0.77m over men's record
W80
80m Hurdles
18.70
131%
9.33
2.87
0.16 better than men's 100m record
W80
800m
3:30.41
115%
1:38.50
14.78
2.41 better than men's record

11 Replies to “New Age Grades!

  1. My 2022 Mile age grade performance was 82% a couple of weeks ago now it’s been changed to 72%. I don’t understand the new system.

    1. Hello Elmo, hope you, your family and friends are well and safe. Please read the article if you haven’t already. 82% means you ran the equivalent of 4:30.14. We trust 5:09.73, 72% Age Grade, is much more representative of what you ran. The commonly used phrase is “what you did in your prime” but the competition conditions, the relative conditioning and training and how you competed should also be considered. For example, if your all-time best was 4:27.2 when you were 22 competing in a big college meet, you would have been trying to run your best, competing and getting pushed by several others plus well prepared by training and conditioning. Your time as an 85 year old might not be appropriate to compare equally to your younger self because you might not have been as well prepared nor pushed by competition. Hope this helps.

  2. I am not sure if you are planning on this, but can the Age Grade Calculator be added to Masters Ranking as a permanent menu item.

    1. Hello Guy, hope you, your family and friends are well and safe. Yes, this post, including the calculator, will remain on the site. Our plan is to keep editing it as we get more feedback so it will always be an accurate and clear explanation of Age Grading.

    1. Hello Rodney, hope you, your family and friends are well and safe. Hope the explanation is clear. Please make suggestions so we can make it better.

  3. Good day,
    Thank you for your hard work in establishing the masters rankings lists. I just did some of my recent performances using the age grade calculator in this article & noticed how the age grade percentage varied from 2015 to the 2023 formulas. It goes without saying , that performances are harder as you age . All the best to all the athletes that are still getting out there & doing their best. Thank you.

    1. Hello Tom, hope you, your family and friends are well and safe. Any applicable performance uses the proposed factors because previous versions, once the proposed are approved, are superseded. For examples: a W65 javelin from 2010 (400g) is not Age Graded; an M55 100m from 1985 would be Age Graded using the proposed factors.

  4. I see the fastest time ever in the outdoors 400 for an 80 year male was 1:10.10. But the Age Grade percentage is only 88.07. So that should be 100% for that age group and adjusted accordingly for times slower. Justification?

    1. Hello Dominic, hope you, your family and friends are well and safe. Age Grade percentage is the proportion of the World Athletics record (43.03). It has nothing to do with performances of athletes within the age group.

      Hijiya Hisamitsu was 81 when he ran 1:10.01. His Age Graded Performance using the proposed factors is 48.02 (89.61%). One needs to know what Hijiya ran in his 20s to see the accuracy of this Age Graded Performance. Most cases the WMA Age Grade Update Committee reviewed (there were thousands) showed the performance was better than the athlete’s personal best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.