Older Age Groups 1500m

– Photo courtesy of Doug Shaggy Smith –

The duncanSCORE is a new method of evaluating Masters’ performances. And it is different than age-grading. Different how? Better then age-grading?

Age grading compares how you did against an estimate of the maximum possible performance in the event for your age-group. That’s right. Not against the World Record. It’s a bit more complicated. It’s compared to a performance beyond the WR. One never accomplished when the factors were created.  These theoretical maximums are produced/updated about every 8-10 years (2 Olympiads).

The duncanSCORE is simpler


The duncanSCORE is a heck of a lot simpler. It takes performances (principally from mastersrankings.com) and creates a bell curve. As you probably remember from your high school or university stats courses, 68% of results are within 2 standard deviations of the average (the mean). One standard deviation above. One below. A little over 95% of performances are bounded by 4 standard deviations (2 above, 2 below).

Using this methodology, the duncanSCORE gives you a key statistic. You get a percentile of where you stand i.e. the percentage of athletes that your performance equals or exceeds. The “what” you are compared against is consistent. Your age-group. Your event. Not a single, theoretical performance that falls on a curve.

We need performances

But to do this well, the duncanSCORE needs performances. The more the better.

However, as the age-groups get older, after about age 55 or 60, the number of participants begins to decline fairly rapidly. This is especially the case for Women.  And the longer, more technical events

To improve this situation, more results have been sought out and added. From mastersrankings.com we have added the years 2017, 2018, and the performances posted for 2019 at time of processing. Additional results from British Masters rankings 2008-2012 and Martin Gasselsberger’s world rankings 2008-2012 have also been utilized.

All these additions for age-groups 75+ have been completed now for the 1500m.

My desire in all the new input for the duncanSCORE has been to improve the depth of the data, yet minimize the impact of any changes. Mission accomplished for the 1500!

But like the other events there still aren’t enough performances for M95, and W90 and W95.

Perfection is elusive.

If you are 75 or older and race the 1500m, check out 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  “1500m” from the track EVENT drop down list. Finally, enter your time (in minutes and seconds) and then 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 (as fast as or) faster than. Very easy!

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The Aging Athlete (5) ENDURANCE – 1500M

Photo courtesy of Rob Jerome

It’s time now to see what aging does to our ability to continue on at an above “normal” pace … our endurance. And the 1500m (the “metric mile”) is as good a place as any to start that analysis.

While the 1500m certainly packs a speed element into it, by far the bigger slice of success revolves around the endurance component. Look how John Walker (never the quickest thoroughbred on the course) uses his superb endurance to win the 1500m in the Montreal Olympics.


That’s all fine and good! But once we have endurance, how long do we hold on to it? And to what extent? How fast does it slip away?

First, let’s look at the trend of the 1500m as we age. This chart shows the trend of the AVERAGE “best performance” times from mastersrankings.com (2013-2016). [For new readers to this blog and the background behind this site, you can go here to read and understand how the statistics I use are pulled together.] The chart compares Men’s and Women’s 1500m averages over time. Get a blown up look at the chart by clicking here.

MW 1500m

All times are in seconds.

You will probably note, both the Men’s and Women’s curves are quite flat in the beginning. For Men, the average ANNUAL decline is somewhere around 1/2% (see the table below)  until M45 .(Note the “annual” decline I refer to is simply the arithmetic average of the loss of performance from the previous age-group divided by 5. It’s not foolish to assume the majority of that decline is in the final 2 years of the age-group, while the first 2-3 years’ performance hit is likely to be much less pronounced.)  At M50 the yearly decline doubles to 1%+ up to M60, then edges upward until it reaches over 2% at M75, then over 3% annually thereafter.

.For Women 1500m runners, the average ANNUAL slowdown begins very much like the Men. Performance slips 1/2%-3/4% every year until it hits 1% at W55. Then the decline reaches 1.8% (W60), eases back smartly at W65 (1.25+%), and then starts to increase again thereafter You can see all the details in the table below..

[table id=5 /]

To sum up on our ability to hold our endurance … we lose 1/2%-1% per year until we hit age 55. Then the next 10 years (Men to M70) our performance will decline somewhere between 1.3% and 1.8% annually. In our 70s the performance decline gets a little faster … 2%-3% per year.

You know what? That’s really not too bad at all!

Next we will go into more detail on the Men’s 1500m

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