What is Age Grading?

Age grading seeks to “level the playing field”. Take, for example, the following four parkrunners: a 9 year old girl who finishes with a time of 29:15, a 23 year old male with a time of 21:30, a 65 year old man on 27:57, and a 75 year old woman with a time of 40:25. Although their absolute finish times are different they all share exactly the same level of performance/fitness when age and sex are taken into account. To be specific, they all have exactly the same age-graded percentage “score” of 60%.

This score is the ratio of your own finish time against the world record for your sex and age, expressed as a percentage. For example, if you take 40 minutes to complete a parkrun and the world record for your age and sex is 20 minutes, your age graded percentage score is 50%.

This score allows you to compare your personal performance against others even though they might be a different age and/or a different sex to you. The boffins at parkrun HQ don’t disclose the exact numbers they use – but they are broadly based on the WMA (World Master Athletics) 2006/2010 tables for track 5k records. – to which they have added figures for 4 year olds and over 100s!

  • Above 40% –   You’re faster/fitter than the average person
  • Above 50% –   You’re doing pretty good!
  • Above 60% –   Local club class level
  • Above 70% –   Regional class level
  • Above 80% –   National class Level
  • Above 90% –   World class level
  • Above 100% – World record level performance (although may not be official)

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