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Advantages or not of going up an Age Category

4 years 7 months ago #2321 by Jan Forrester
The recent changes to the Veteran Masters Age Group categories, i.e over 35 and then in 10 year bands up to over 75, got me thinking about the ‘advantages’ of going up an age category in terms of, not only a different pool of athletes but, ability.
There is a line of thought that the opposition will not be as keen when going up a category as the athletes will be that bit older and, therefore, you may think it would follow that they would be slower, especially if at the end of the age group spectrum, eg in the LV60-64 you may expect the 64 year old to be slower than the 60 year old.
I have had it pretty much my own way in the BDL League for a few seasons since I have been in the 60-64 category, but in the fell running competitions Pat Goodall of Totley AC and Anne-Marie Jones of Altrincham are both formidable – in fact Anne Marie is World Master Mountain Running Champion 2016 and regularly out-runs the 40s and 50s as well as the 60s ladies. Pat Goodall has been 1st lady at the Whitworth Thread.
When I go up to the 65-75 group, does this mean I will have competition of lesser ability? In the local races there will be Ripley RCs Eleanor Robinson who, at nearly 70, recorded the age category winning time of 49.16 at the recent Wilne 10k Derbyshire Champs and Maddy Collinge of Mansfield (over 65) ran 49.26. Times some half their age would be pleased to achieve. They are both formidable in the cross country and fell running races too.
My sport of Duathlon – 10k run, 40k cycle, 5k run is organised by British Triathlon and they have not brought in age group category changes (as yet). When I compete in the World Championships in Canada 2017, I do not know the full line-up yet from round the World in my new 65-69 category, but I do know that the British athlete Elsbeth Knott (66) of Harwich Runners, who has won Gold in at least 12 World Duathlon Championships, is competing. At the recent World Champs in Aviles, Spain at which I competed, Elsbeth recorded the winning 65-69 category time of 2.49.51, 24 minutes ahead of the 2nd placed athlete from USA. This was also 6 minutes better than my time in the 60-64 category and, in fact, beat all the participants in this category too except the winner Nora Haggart of the UK who, at just turned 60, recorded 2.37.35. Elsbeth also beat many of the 55-59 category.
I am sure there are similar statistics in the Men’s categories.
I can see that the changes for an athlete aged, for example nearly 60 now being in the 55-65 age group instead of as previously 60-64, this would be annoying. However, it seems in some cases that age is just a number and if you think “well the best thing about getting older is that I may not have to try so hard and may start to win something” – think on and keep up the training!!

What do you think?

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4 years 7 months ago #2322 by JamesT
It would have been interesting to see if you felt the same had they taken the same decision with this as the Government of the day did in bringing the female OAP inline with the male pension. Would you be so philosophical and reasonable if you'd ben training for a crack at medals in the FV65 category only to be informed that you would now have to wait until 70 to move up a category?

And will all road races now follow suit? This gives an unfair advantage to those in the first 5 years of their age group who will have a fresh opportunity for age group wins without waiting for the full 10 years to pass before moving up. All most unfair.

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4 years 7 months ago #2323 by Simon C
The real advantage if getting older and moving up the categories is the natural lessening of competitor numbers. There is always someone a little older who may prove quicker so it's never ce egen they leave your age group but that only opens up the door for more younger ones to slip in from the bottom. For me I will be glad to sneak up a notch next year (55 closing in) just to have another year or two away from Alan 'back on form' Pickering - he too will then sneak up another step and the cycle goes on.
In reality the real competition is with yourself as you get older. Keeping a fresh mind and enjoy your sport . There will always (generally) be someone quicker to chase and someone slower chasing you, no matter what the age.

Simon

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4 years 7 months ago #2325 by Alan
From my perspective, I have never (and I have made this known ever since I began running - or anything else in life for that matter) succumbed to the "Age thing".

I have always believed that no matter what age you are, if you want to do well at it, you have to put time into it and work hard at it to potentially see any results, no matter what ability you have or level you can take yourself too, if you really want to do well, then its a mind thing.

Yes, I can well appreciate that as we all get older we naturally begin to slow down as our bodies start to show that wear and tear can take its toll and I am well aware of the saying "What I used to do all night long now takes me all night to do"!

But if your doing something that you really enjoy, then to be honest, isn't that all that's necessary? If you happen to pick up a prize or two on the way just builds on the determination to do better.

As for myself almost year ago I was faced with the prospect of not being able to run again and even throughout my recovery from my ops, I have really found it a great struggle to get anywhere near where I was fitness wise and often thought of completely jacking it in! (Jim has been witness to me actually breaking down in tears because I found even slow running almost an impossible task). Yes you could say that's due to a recovery period, but when putting in the time and effort just does not seem to yield any improvement, and the aches and pains and strains seem to hurt even more than ever - Is that to do with age? if so, my determination to try to be my best is wining through. Its flipping hard at whatever age we are at but the thing that keeps me going is the fact I just love being able to put on a pair of running shoes and getting out there and enjoying a run.

With respect to Age Categories, well from my limited experience, it seems that the higher the age category, the more fiercer the competition. How am I going to cope with this? I will continue to try to put in as much effort as I can whilst still trying to enjoy what we are all united in doing - Running - if it gets to a stage when I don't enjoy it any more, then its time to look for something else which I can put my heart and soul into.

Meanwhile it would be great to win a race outright! I guess he who has the most toys when he dies - wins!!??

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4 years 7 months ago #2327 by russell
When one reaches the age 74 then by the time the results are available one has generally forgotten all about the race, so the disposition of the age categories is irrelevant. More seriously, are the new age bands being applied across the board, league and championship cross country races for example, or is it just Fell races under FRA rules?. (I shall be saddened if I am personally exposed to the competition of Simon B, who will take me to the cleaners, pleasant fellow though he may be) but such is life)

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4 years 7 months ago #2328 by Jan Forrester
Clive
It comes under the heading in the Minutes of 'Endurance Championships' sub-heading 'Cross Country Championships'

Masters' age groups will be over 35 and then in ten year bands up to over 75 all on the day of the race. Awards (individual and team) will depend on entry numbers

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