Age & Weight Grading Calculator Analyzes Race Success

Posted by Filed Under: Science and Research, Tools for Runners, Training

tools.pngThere was a three and a half year gap between my previous and new PR marathons.

I had made a number of changes in how I trained for the latter marathon. I could chalk the PR up solely due to those changes, but I also must recognize that I’m seven pounds lighter now.

Naturally, I’ve been wondering how much of my success was due to carrying seven less pounds versus being better trained. I knew they were both factors, but I didn’t know exactly how much of a role each played.

And then there was the question of age-grading – I was three and a half years younger in 2003.

In timely fashion, this month’s Runner’s World had an article in it called What’s Your Ideal Weight. The article had a link to an age and weight grading calculator – a tool that allows you to analyze your successes by comparing race times with a calculation involving your age and weight when you ran those races.

So I compared my 2003 PR:

Age: 36
Weight: 167
Marathon Finish Time: 3:43:53

with my 2007 PR (update: see bottom for a more recent PR):

Age: 39 (actually, I was one month shy of the big 4-0)
Weight: 160
Marathon Finish Time: 3:38:28

And here is what the Flyer Handicap Calculator had to say about those stats:

  1. My 2003 result would have equaled a 3:18 marathon at the age of 25.
  2. My 2007 result would have equaled a 3:13 marathon at the age of 25

What this means is that with weight and age factored out of the equation, my training is responsible for a very substantial improvement – just the kind of news I wanted to hear.

And that’s not taking into account the differences between 2003 and 2007 race course difficulty. The 2007 course was much more difficult than the 2003 PR course. I estimate I would have run this latest marathon at sub 3:30 if I had run it on the 2003 course.

And how would the picture have looked if I had run it in 3:30? It would have equated to a 3:07 marathon at age 25. Cool.

The Flyer Handicap Calculator is a terrific tool. It’s provided me with objective evidence that my training has been immensely successful.

Give it a try and tell us your stories!


Age: 40
Weight: 165
Marathon Finish Time: 3:30:29
Age & Weight Graded to 25 Years: 3:04:30 (still improving with age!)

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.

  1. Jessica on June 26th at 5:03 pm

    Wow. My Marathon time would have been 45 minutes faster if I were 5 years younger and a lot lighter.

  2. Adeel on June 26th at 7:36 pm

    Mine would’ve been 8 seconds slower if I was older and fatter.

  3. A Passion for Running » age & weight graded running statistics on September 19th at 12:06 pm

    […] few months ago, I posted an article about age and weight grading on CRN. Here’s an update on my PR age+weight grading history including the new Regina […]

  4. Leigh-Anne on April 17th at 8:09 am

    perhaps you could help.

    There 7 of us going to be running a half marathon in a few months time. We all range in age, fitness and weight. We were wondering if there is a handicapping system that would tell who should be how fast ahead or behind the next one in order to win (between the 7 of us)

    Sex Age Weight Height
    M 25 83kg 1.87m
    M 31 93kg 1.79m
    M 45 106kg 1.89m
    M 47 104kg 1.90m
    F 22 55kg 1.64m
    F 38 65kg 1.60m
    F 42 88kg 1.65m

    Cleary the 47yr male should not expect to run it in the same time that the 25yr male would. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards