Age Grading

Many sports have a way of providing a “handicap” to athletes of differing abilities. This allows an average athlete to compete against a more well-trained athlete and still have a chance of defeating them. The “handicap” is used to better the score of the weaker athlete. In Bowling for instance, a handicap is used to increase the number of pins knocked over. For instance, in golf, a handicap is used to decrease the number of strokes.

In Track & Field, scoring is based on the performance of an athlete (how fast they run, how high they jump, etc.). An athlete’s performance typically improves during youth and declines as they age. Age Grading is a type of “handicap” used in Track & Field that is based on the athlete’s age.

There are two forms of Age Grading that are used. The first corrects an athlete’s performance (time, height or distance) to what it would have been in their prime years, regardless of the athlete’s current age. This effectively levels the playing field for all athletes. The other form of Age Grading provides the athlete with a percentage value of the world record for their sex. The percentage can be used over a number of years to compare an athlete’s performance. The percentage can also be used for comparing men and women equally.

Typical percentages are as follows:

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


In the website, you can view results as age-graded lists

Based on the latest WMA Age-Graded Tables, this ONLINE CALCULATOR by Howard Grubb, allows you to plug in your marks and determine your age graded scores.

The tables were researched and compiled by the WMA (formerly WAVA), the world governing body for Masters Track & Field, Long Distance Running and Racewalking. Age Grade tables exist for ages 8 through 100 for all major events.

The first official Age-Graded Tables were compiled by WAVA and published by National Masters News in 1989. Revisions (taking into account improved performances at all ages) were released in 1991, 1994, 2006, 2010 and 2015. The tables can be applied to five-year age groups or individual ages from 8 to 100. The only official use of the Age-Graded Tables by WMA is in scoring multi-event competitions. But the Age-Graded Tables have been incorporated into track meet management software by Hy-Tek and others and used to determine age-graded winners in many other competitions, especially road runs.

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