The Karla Konundrum

Karla in the 200m at Porto Alegre WC (2013) – Photo courtesy Doug “Shaggy” Smith

This post talks to how “numbers” can play tricks on you. Sometimes you need to be careful. Age Grade percentages versus duncanSCORE percentiles can sometimes be eerily similar despite the fact they are comparing to different “realities” (in the case of AG against the theoretical best possible performance, dSCORE against your peers across the globe). Let’s do a deep dive on these numbers.

Recently, Canada’s superstar women’s sprinter, Karla Del Grande set 2  new (pending) World records (100m and 200m) for W65 at the Canadian outdoor championships. She currently holds those Outdoor World records for W60. She also came very close to a new WR in the 400 (3/100 shy). This was her first National championship in a new age-group (W65).

The Hytek scoring system spits out these Age Grades (latest 5 year Age Grades based on 2014-2015) for the 100m as 96.49%, for the 200 as 99.16%, and the 400m as 96.96%. All exceptionally high AGs, as you would expect. But note, the 100m is her “poorest” AG, just oh so slightly inferior to her 400m AG (despite the 100 being a WR and 400 not!) The 200m AG is over 2 1/2 pts better than the 100m. And here are her AGs for her W60 100m and 200m world records … 100m – 98.83 and 200m 100.64. So AG says her most recent performances are not as good as 5 years ago. (But in AG’s defence, there is certainly more to come as Karla builds and heads to Malaga for the 2018 WC).

Maybe you’re asking what are her duncanSCORES?  I’m glad you’re asking.

Her 13.96 W65 100m converts to a 966 duncanSCORE (97 percentile). The 28.53 200 converts to an almost identical 967 SCORE (97 percentile). The 400m also rates incredibly high – 952 SCORE, 95 percentile.

The duncanSCORES rate her 100 and 200 performances as identical. The 400, 1 1/2% inferior. AG says the 100m was the poorest performance, the 200 the best. And the 400 2.37% worse than the 200. Her W60 world records in the 100 and 200 also rate near identical scores (954/95 percentile and 953/95 percentile).

So the 2 grading systems yield differing results. AG says the 200 is Karla’s best event, and as of right now, her 2 new WRs are much less than her W60 records. dSCORES indicate that her 100 and 200 are equally her best, and that versus her peers, in 5 years she has improved significantly.

You choose!

But definitely run the duncanSCORE (duncanSCORE) and enter some of your past performances. See what it says about how you are doing (versus your peers in the same age group) then, ,versus now. How are you faring?

Postscript: The week after her new 100m and 200m WR, Karla ran in an invitational Masters 100m  at the NACAC (North and Central American, Caribbean) Championships. She ran 13.91! Primed for Malaga

How Much Class Do You Have?

Today I want to write about “Class”. No not that kind. I’m talking “World Class” and “National Class”.

What in the world do we mean by World Class and National Class? I bring this up because in Age Grading terms, 90%+ is “World” Class, and 80%+ is “National” Class. 70%+ is “Regional” Class. I can’t find any reference on the WMA web site but the USATF Masters site does offer some discussion, and posits these AG percentages and their relative “Class”

100% = Approximate World-Record Level
90+% = World Class
80+% = National Class
70+% = Regional Class
60+% = Local Class

Beyond 100%, there really isn’t any clarification or definition of the levels. Is Slovenian (pop just over 2 million) “National” Class the same as U.S. (pop 325.7 million) “National” Class? I wouldn’t think so. And who decides on “regions”? Is that a state? Or a province? Or in Ontario’s case the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)? Why is there no definition? And why 80% for “National” class? Why not 85%? Or 75%? Surely it can’t be that hard! I’m guessing it has been purposely left vague. Which frustrates me to you know where.

With the duncanSCORE I set out to do things differently. And as much as possible, one thing I hope to do differently is to define things. Like percentages. What do they mean? You probably understand the percentile calculated by the duncanSCORE i.e. your performance is as good or better than “xx%” of Masters athletes in your age group/event. Fairly straight forward.

Now I would like to define the dSCORE percentile further. Typically, what kind of percentile do you need to win a medal at a WMA Outdoor Championship? To make it to the final? To qualify for a semi-final after the opening round?

I’ll be exploring those questions over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

First up … SPRINTS