Fast Flat Five
(aka The Age Grader) 

Suitable for all ages. 

Venue: Field, Shepperdine Road, Near Oldbury Naite, BS35 1RW. Will be well signed on the day. 

Date:  Unlikely for 2024

Distance:  5 miles 

Entry Fees: (minimum age 16)
18 and over £15/£17 (affil/unaffil)
Entry Limit: 150

It is on an officially measured road course of 5 miles. Overall positions (and prizes) will be based on age-adjusted times and not actual time (for explanation see below).
However, we will also publish actual race time results, as these will be needed for use with UKA 'Power Of Ten' rankings. This event is suitable for all ages and anyone looking to gain a PB on the flat 5 mile course.

This event will we feel will attract seasoned racers and so we are not providing a medal but instead: hot drinks and cakes, a beer, a banana and a sports drink for all. 

How it will work
After collecting your 2 race numbers (colour coded for your age category - one worn on the front and the other on your back) you will line up in pens marked out in the field according to age groups. Sen, Vet 40, Vet 50, Vet 60 etc. The timing mats will be set out on the start line on the road some 40m away. You walk from the field onto the road when instructed in your group towards the start and just before the timing mats you start running. This is a 'rolling start'. Seniors go off first (under 40's), then Vet 40's, then Vet 50's and so on. It will be like a slow moving mass start. 

The idea is that as you are starting with all the others in your age category you know who you are racing against, but of course if you are able to move up the field as you race you will be overtaking younger runners in front, so it will still feel like a race and you will always have runners around you.
You run the 5 mile loop on country lanes and the finish is approx 30m within the field where you first lined up. 

The Concept
The running population is changing. The majority of runners are 40 and over. Runners over 50 and 60 are recording some great times.

We've decided to put on an event that puts the performances of these 'experienced' athletes into context.
We will use the WMA age-graded calculator. Using empirical data (of current world records for each distance across all ages) it gives an age-adjusted time. This time is said to be the time the individual would have achieved if they performed at the same level in their 20's. 

In a sense, it levels the playing field in terms of age and allows older athletes to compete with younger ones.

Remember, the calculator is not simply a roughly applied algorithm - it's based on a huge database of actual performances of world record times achieved by runners in all ages. Here is an example: 

A 55-year old male runs a marathon in 2:59:00. The world class time for running a marathon at age 55 is currently 2:23:26. His age graded percentage is approx 80%. This is found by dividing 2:24:22 by 3:00:27 (it's a little more complicated than that but this is the basic principle). His age adjusted time is 2:33:26.

Compare this with a 27 year old, running the same marathon in 2:45:47. His age adjusted time is the same as his actual time - 2:45:47. Although his actual time is nearly 15 minutes quicker than the 55 year old, the age-adjusted time is 12 minutes slower. The older guy wins. His performance, taking into account age, is much better.

This is a link to the age calculator on the WMA site:

The main event results will be ordered for age adjusted time and not actual time (based on whole number of years old on the day of the race). Prizes will be given to the top 5 men and ladies. 
Additionally, prizes will be given to the winner in each age category (this based on their actual time and in either 5 or 10 years age cats depending on number of entries - male and female).

We will also publish a set results reflecting actual race time for use by UKA PoT and Run Britain rankings.

Included in the age-graded results will be the 'age graded percentage', since this levels the playing field in terms of gender as well as age. No prizes will be given to the highest percentages as the winners will be the same as the winners mentioned previously.

Wave starts
In order to make the competition within each category more obvious, we will start age categories off in waves. Starting first will be any Seniors, then V40's, then V50's, then V60's and so on... up to the oldest entrant (yes there may be an 80+ wave). We will use either 5 or 10 year age cats depending on the number of entries received. Each runner will have two bib numbers that are colour coded to each age category. One to be worn on the chest and another on the back.


The Run Route

The event will be based on a 5 mile loop near Oldbury on Severn that we've used before a couple of times on other events (our regulars will know it well) - running through the hamlet of Shepperdine. It's all on very flat quiet country lanes and if you look at a 1:50k OS map the route crosses no contours whatsoever - being on the flats near the river Severn. 

Parking and the event HQ is in a field very close to the start so there will be the minimum of fuss for you getting yourself ready to run and leaving the event after. We will have plenty of toilets and hot drinks/cakes as usual. 

You may ask: What is the difference between Age-Adjusted times and Age Graded percentage. Age adjusted times take into account just the age of the runner. Age Graded Percentage takes into account both the age and gender of the runner. We use age adjusted times for the main results currently as we feel competitors can relate better to a time.