The Aging Athlete (3) – Women’s 100m

Photo courtesy Dan Slovitt

The previous post summarized and trended some of the 100m data (2013-2016) from mastersrankings.com I have begun analyzing. We will look in more depth at the Men’s results soon, but first let’s explore some of the finer points of all the available performances in the Women’s 100m. For a refresher on how the data is gathered and processed, please go here.

As pointed out in the previous post, 8,626 Women’s 100m “best annual” performances are included in this analysis (772 wind assisted performances not included). An issue for Masters is how to encourage greater female participation. Unfortunately, women participate in our sport at the Masters level in far fewer numbers than men. Hopefully, sprint role models such as Karla Del Grande, Carol Layfayette-Boyd, Irene Obera and other top women’s competitors can encourage more women to do the training, don a pair of spikes, and try a race or two..

This chart graphs the W100m World Record against the average performance from mastersrankings.com. I have indicated in red the averages for W80 and W85, but since there really aren’t a lot of performances in these age-groups, I have not included W80 and W85 in my calculations. (They are there more as indications rather than  absolute data points) You can see the graph in full size by clicking

W100m for blogpost

The average 100m for all women is shown in the green curve, and the women’s World Record is shown in the mauve. Both curves take a noticeable climb upwards beginning at W70.  Also note the figures below the curves. These are the 5-year average declines in performance vs the previous age-group, for world records and all-Women averages. We will discuss these average declines in more detail from the table below, but for now here are a couple of points to note 1) both in the all-Women average and the WR, the declines moderate in intensity at W65, then increase again at W70. 2) The WR seems to indicate that this moderation occurs again at W75 (though the all-Women does NOT).

The table below takes the average 5-year decline and converts that to an estimated ANNUAL decline for the WR (column #3) and all-women’s average (column #4). You often hear Masters performance declines about 1% per year. Well, not exactly. Up to and including W50, the annual decline (as shown for both the WR and all-women’s average) is usually somewhere between 4/10 and 7/10 of a per cent. But beginning at W55, the all-women’s decline rapidly increases past 1% annually (at W65 it is 0.95% so pretty close to 1%) or greater. And for W65 onward, the all-women’s average slow down is more pronounced than that indicated by the WR. It would seem the very top athletes age differently than the “norm”.

Women's 100 Metres

Age - GroupWorld RecordAvg "Best" PerformanceWR Avg Decline/YearAvg "Best" Avg Decline/Year
W3510.74
14.89N/AN/A
W4011.0915.190.65%0.41%
W4511.3415.510.45%0.42%
W5011.6716.070.58%0.72%
W5512.8017.131.94%1.32%
W6013.6318.201.30%1.26%
W6513.9119.070.41%0.95%
W7014.7320.681.18%
1.69%
W7515.0322.480.41%
1.74%
W8016.81excl (not enough data)2.37%
N/A
W8519.83excl (not enough data)3.59%
N/A

 

 

We can look at this another way. As shown in the table below, the all-women’s average 100m time was 37-38% slower than the WR up to W50. For W55 and W60, perhaps surprisingly, the differential dropped to 33%, but from then on the differential escalates rapidly to 50%.

World Record 100mAverage 100mDifference (%)
W35 10.74

14.89
38.60%
W40 11.09
15.19
37.00%
W45 11.34
15.51
36.79%
W50 11.67
16.07
37.68%
W55 12.80
17.13
33.80%
W 60 13.63
18.20
33.56%
W 65 13.91
19.07
37.07%
W 70 14.73
20.68
40.39%
W 75 15.03
22.48
49.56%

My concluding thoughts? Up to and including W50, your performance likley will decline less than 1% per year. After that expect more than 1% per year.

And as women hit the W65 age-group, unless you are an elite or near elite, you shouldn’t be terribly disappointed if your Age Grade percentage slips a little. This would seem to be likely for the “average” or near average female sprinter. So carry on!

And you can, of course, easily see how you rate versus your age-group peers by checking out your duncanSCORE. Simply click on “Track DE”, enter your age-group and time, and you will see how you score against all in your age-group, not just against the elite of the elite.

 

Track DE

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Karla Kontinued

Karla W65 400 Final Malaga Rob JeromePhoto courtesy of Rob Jerome

Now, I think, is an appropriate time to update what’s been happening at the World Champs in Malaga for Canada’s W65 Sprinter Karla Del Grande. I wrote a few weeks ago about her newly established record times, and compared the results duncanSCORE vs Age Grading. You can refresh your memory here.

Karla set a hot Malaga on fire. If you check the results, they list her gold medal time of 14.04 in the 100m, and her 28.83 gold medal winning time as world records. These performances are actually slightly slower to times posted earlier this season, and the applications for these times to be world records are pending. Karla ran a 100m in 13.91 at the NACAC (North/Central America/Caribbean) meet and a 200m in 28.53 at the Canadian Masters Championships. In winning the gold in the 400m in Malaga, she just missed equally the existing WR. Karla ran 68.22.

For the record, this Outdoor season Karla set 2 W65 World Records (pending) in the 100m (13.91) and 200m (28.53), and just missed (0.01 seconds,1:06.22) equaling the World Record in the 400m.

Also for the record, those times have Age Grades of 96.84% (100m), 98.13% (200m), and 96.89% (400m). AG rates her 200m as the best, and 100m and 400 near equal.

The duncanSCORE evaluates these performances slightly differently. 967/97 percentile (100m), identical 967/97 percentile for the 200m, and 952/95 percentile for the 400m. That’s an equal performance in the 100m and 200m and and a 400m about 2% less.

As well, these new W65 world records are rated by AG as inferior to her W60 world records from 5 years ago. Karla’s duncanSCORES on the other hand rate them significantly superior.

I’m biased I admit. But I think the dSCORES are a better evaluation.

And don’t forget, you can get updates on the blog posts automatically by just clicking on the “follow” button on the bottom of your screen.

Distance (Track), Hurdles, & Steeplechase

Note: photo sourced from http://potchefstroomherald.co.za, Photographer unknown

 

It’s time to finish out this series with the track events away from the Sprints and Middle Distance.

Specifically the Sprint Hurdles, Long Hurdles, Steeplechase, and 5000m and 10000m.

As before for the Sprints, and Middle Distance,  I am going to try and estimate what duncanSCORE percentile you likely need to reach the podium at a WMA World Championship. And like previously, I am using the results from the last 4 WMA Outdoor Championships (Sacramento 2011, Porto Alegre 2013, Lyon 2015, and Perth 2016). Results have been tabulated from M/W 35 up to and including M/W 75. (If you are unfamiliar with the duncanSCORE as an alternative to age-grading, you can get a quick briefing here.

There is certainly a lot more variation in these events than in the mainstream Sprints and Middle Distance. As well, getting to the final is automatic in the Steeple and 5000 and 10000, and a much lower duncanSCORE percentile is needed to get to the final in Sprint Hurdles (69%) and the Long Hurdles (65%). ,

Ah, but climbing on the podium you ask? What does that take? You might remember that to win at least a Bronze medal in the Sprints, you probably need to be able to run the distance at a 92 percentile. 800 or 1500 usually means 90-91 percentile. And remember too, that the Steeple and  5000m and 10000m are single off events … no prelims or semis … so weather can be a big factor. What I’m saying is there is more variation in the Hurdles and Steeple. Estimating the requirements for a medal is not as consistent as the other running events. But based on the last 4 WC, to medal in the Sprint Hurdles, you will need an 85 percentile. Long Hurdles 82%. And all you Steeplers out there … 81%!

Lots of numbers to remember … so here is a table summarizing all these key dSCORES by event. Just click here! (in MS Excel)

dSCORE Summary by Event

And to get your personal duncanSCORE and percentile for these events, go here for the calculation

 

Final? Even Podium? 800m & 1500m

In the last post A WC Medal or Final Maybe? What It Takes – the Sprints  we talked about the percentile level of duncanSCORE it would take to make the final, or maybe even win a medal at a WMA Outdoor Championship in the Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m).

In general for the Sprints, you need a 92 percentile to stand on the podium. An 84 to race in the final.

Well, how about the Middle Distances? Is it the same or similar? Let’s have a look.

Like I did with the Sprints, I have taken the results from the last 4 WMA Outdoor World Championships (Sacramento 2011, Porto Alegre 2013, Lyon 2015, and Perth 2016).

As in the Sprints, for the 800 and 1500,  I isolated the times required (the slowest “q”)  to reach the final (unless the event went straight to final), and the time of the bronze medal winner. I used all age groups from M35/W35 to M75/W75 inclusive. Then I calculated the duncanSCORE percentile for each instance. Again, to eliminate anomalies, I discarded the top 3 and bottom 3 percentile instances in each Championship, then averaged the remaining results.

Preliminaries (as Semi-finals) are not an issue in mid distance at World Championships. During the last 4 WCs, only Lyon had any … 800 prelims/semi-finals for M50, M55, and M60.

Because the number of competitors in the final are slightly different (10-12 in the 800, and 15 in the 1500), the dSCORE percentiles are a bit different to reach the final. For the 1500, you generally need a 74 percentile, and the 800 usually requires 78.

But to climb up the podium is very consistent for Middle Distance. You need 91 percentile dSCORE in the 800m, and 90 percentile for the 1500m.

And you can determine where you are in the 800 and 1500 by getting your very own duncanSCORE. Go here

Track DE

In the next post we will cover the 5000 and 10000, and those events where the athletes insist on jumping over things while they run.

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A WC Medal or Final Maybe? What It Takes – the Sprints

Photo courtesy Doug “Shaggy” Smith

 

A couple of posts ago  How Much Class Do You Have? I opened the conversation about what it takes (specifically what level of duncanSCORE) to reach the final, or even win a medal at a typical WMA Outdoors Championship. This seemed to me a better definition for high level performance than the more vague “world class”, “national class”  or “regional class” terms used now. How far at the World Champs does “national class” (over 80% Age Grade) get you? I doubt if anyone knows. As a “world class” performer (over 90% Age Grade), what can you expect? A medal? Just the final? Your guess is as good as mine.

I’m going to start with the Sprints (100m, 200m, and 400m). The hurdles I’ll cover another time, as their performance criteria are actually quite different.

I am using the results from the last 4 Outdoor WMA Championships (Sacramento, Porto Alegre, Lyon, and Perth).  I isolated the times required (the slowest “q”)  to reach the semi-finals (if there was a semi), the final (unless the event went straight to final), and the time of the bronze medal winner. I used all age groups from M35/W35 to M75/W75 inclusive. Then I calculated the duncanSCORE percentile for each instance. To eliminate anomalies I threw out the top 3 and bottom 3 percentile instances in each Championship, then averaged the remaining results.

It’s not perfect, and it is a generalization. But I think it’s pretty damn close. So if you are a Sprinter, and you have your heart set on making the final in Malaga, or even stand on the podium, here is what you need.

No, it’s not a guarantee … but it’s the way to bet. Averaging the 3 events … drum roll please … to reach the semi final you need a dSCORE percentile of 75.

To fly in the final requires 84%.

And if you hope to medal, you better be a Sprinter with a 92 percentile.

Here are the averages by event.

 

dSCORE Requirements SPRINTS

You can determine where you are by getting your very own duncanSCORE. Go here

Track DE

Coming soon 800m and 1500m.  And if you’d like to be notified when the next post is up, click on the “follow” button at the bottom right of your screen.