A Better Read on Older Age Groups (2) – 400m

Photo courtesy Doug Shaggy Smith

This is the 2nd post on my work to improve the quality and depth of duncanSCORE readings for the older age-groups (75 plus) and another installment on duncanSCORE 2.0. I have now updated the data for the 400m. The previous post highlighted the work done for the 100m and 200m.

Let’s Review

Here is a quick review. To date all duncanSCORE calculations are based on an accumulation of mastersrankings.com best individual performances for the years 2013-2016 inclusive. In case you are interested or would like a refresher, here are the nuts and bolts of how the calculator works and the results generated.

For most age-groups and events there are many hundreds and often, thousands, of performances. But as the age-groups get older, after about age 55, the number of participants begins to decline rapidly. This is especially the case for Women, and the longer, more technical events.

To add performances to these older age-groups I am including from mastersrankings.com the years 2017, 2018, and for 2019 the performances posted at processing time. Further, to boost the number of performances, I have included the US rankings John Seto had produced for the years 2008-2012. Before John did the World rankings, they were maintained by Martin Gasselsberger and I have used Martin’s data from 2008-2012. The British Masters also keep rankings and I have used those available from 2008-2012.

What this means

What this means is that I have been able to more than double the number of performances accessed by the calculator, which improves the quality of the output. For the 400m this really impacts M85 and M90 and W80 and W85, making the duncanSCOREs for these age-groups much more solid. For M75 and M80, and W75, the added performances don’t materially change the results.

Sadly, however, there still are not enough performances to have reliable scores for M95 and W90 and W95 age-groups.

Take a test drive

If you are 75 or older and race the 400m, take a quick peek at how you rate against your peers from around the world. And if you’ve just turned 75 or moved into an older age-group, put in last year’s time and see how it would fare in your new age-group.  It’s very easy, click here

Track DE

Then from the drop down menu choose your age-group. Next select  “400m” from the track EVENT drop down list. Finally, enter your time (in minutes and seconds, or just in seconds), click the green  “Ok … Done …GO” button.

You will be given a “score” and a “percentile”. The percentile tells you what percentage of your age-group peers across the globe you are faster than.

Have fun!


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More Results-A Better Read on Older Age Groups

Photo courtesy of Dan Slovitt

Let’s get down to it!

The previous post introduced some of what’s coming in the next few months (duncanScore 2.0), and here is some more detail on the first improvement now released.

Rates of Participation Decline With Age and Distance

As a general rule, the number of performances in any particular age group gets fewer as the groups get older beyond M-W 50.  Also, Women tend to participate less than Men. The participation further declines fairly dramatically the longer the event. Think 10000m vs 100m) and with increases in difficulty/danger (hurdles/steeplechase vs the “flat” events).

But here’s the thing. There is an inherent weakness. Where there aren’t a lot of performances, the projected resulting output can be misleading. As you can imagine, it will be many more years before there will be enough performances for an accurate read of Women’s 95 Pole Vault in duncanScore. It’s not an issue for the vast majority of the results produced by duncanScore, but when we go beyond M85 and W80, sometimes the output can be a little “shakey”.

As I wrote in the previous post, in order to boost the “robustness” of these older age-groups I have added legitimate outdoor performances to bolster the duncanScore wherever I could find them. Currently all results are based upon 2013-2016 input from mastersrankings.com. But now for age-groups M75 and W75 and older I have added performances from:

  1. mastersrankings.com World rankings from 2017, 2018, and available 2019 rankings
  2. mastersrankings.com U.S. rankings from 2008-2012
  3. British rankings from Power of 10 2008-2012
  4. Martin Gasselsberger’s (the keeper of World rankings before John Seto) World rankings from 2008-2012.

More Than Double the Performances

By adding these other years and data sources,  we have more than doubled the number of performances for these older age-groups, enhancing the quality of the Scores and percentiles.What’s also interesting (and good!), looking at results so far, this has usually meant only small changes. Most performances register a difference of perhaps 1 or at most 2 points in the percentile from before.

This is the first part of duncanScore 2.0 … a plan to enhance quality, usability and add useful features for you the Athletics competitor. Ultimately all events for these older age-groups will have the results from these additional data sources.

I have now completed Men’s and Women’s 100m and 200m and they are “live”.

By all means, if you are a Sprinter and 75 or older, have a look and see how your times stack up in version 2.0 with everyone else in the world in the 100m and 200m.


Track DE


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Imminent Improvements

This road to create and produce an enhanced yet simpler alternative method of evaluating performances in Masters Athletics has been quite long. Already about 4 1/2 years for me so far!

It took quite a while to settle on the methodology, acquire all the data, program the data systems, create the databases and calculators, and then get it all converted into a format that was web enabled.

Once that was all done, I tried to apply myself to looking at all that data and make some sense of it. To my knowledge, there never has been an accumulation of Masters track and field information in one place like John Seto has gathered. To me this was a treasure trove that needed to be mined. I tried to do a bit of that with several posts during the past 18 months.,

But now it’s time to move on. Time for some improvements to the initial concept. I have some ideas.

Here is an outline of what is coming up first.

One of the shortcomings for duncanScore is weakness in the much older age groups, beginning with ages 85 plus.

As you can well imagine, the number of performances tends to decline with 3 factors. Women participate less than Men. Then, after about age-group M and W 50 general participation goes down. Over age 80, very dramatically. And the longer and/or more technical the event, the fewer the competitors.  Think 100m vs Steeplechase. So as these factors compound and we get beyond age-group M/W 80, the number of entries from mastersrankings.com and, hence, the utility of duncanScore, declines.

To remedy as much of this problem as possible, I have added a bunch of performances for older age-groups. Those who have been on this journey with me for awhile will probably recall that the primary data source for duncanSCORE is from mastersrankings.com. The base dataset is the performances from the years 2013-2016.

As part of what I am calling duncanSCORE 2.0, we are adding more years for our calculations. But let’s stay with the older age-groups right now, and let me tell you what I have done to boost the “robustness” of the data.

For the age-groups M-W75 and older, we will now be adding worldwide performances from 2017, 2018, and the available data from 2019 from mastersrankings.com. As well, John Seto, before he took on worldwide rankings from Martin Gasselberger in 2014, tabulated in his high quality, thorough style, US rankings from at least 2008. So, I have included those exclusive US performances from 2008-2012, along with Martin Gasselberger’s international available data from 2008-2012. Additionally, available British best performances from 2008-2012 from www.thepowerof10.info have also been added. So that means age-groups 75 plus have significant numbers of performances from 2008-2019.

All told this more than doubles the performances included to create calculations for age-groups 75 plus. For example in the 100m, W85 performances used for calculations go from 70 to 175. In the 200m,  M90 entries increase from 60 to 175.

I am in the process of redoing the statistics necessary for the calculators to use the additional performances. Over the next few days, these will become available, beginning with the Sprints. So if you are a Sprinter and aged 75 plus, check-in in a couple of days and see if there are any differences.

It should be a better evaluation! Stay tuned.


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