Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Great Age Group Debate

So for the last few days I have been doing some very in depth age group analysis. Most races split the 20's into 2 age groups (as they also do with every other decade) there is the 20-24 age group and the 25-29 age group. Many of my fellow runners that I converse with, belong to the very popular 25-29 AG and I am lucky enough to be in the 20-24, not just because it makes me younger, but when it comes to running distance races, the younger the better, and here's why...

It started as just a simple discussion with a fellow runner who happens to belong to AG 25-29 who said she had awesome times, but could never place and/or break the top 10 in her age group because there was so dang many of them, and they were all so fast. I told her my age group was no different, but after winning my race this past weekend I figured she may have some truth behind her claim.

Being the nerd that I am I took the last 6 major half marathons in this region (namely the ones I had looked at doing) and did some data analysis- fancy right? I looked at all sorts of stuff like # of participants, lead finishers time, average time for the top 10%, and number of below 10 minutes pacers in the field. What I found out was, getting old Sucks!!! Oh wait, we already knew that. The 25-29 female age group on average has DOUBLE the number of participants of the 20-24 age group. In the Breast Cancer Half Marathon I did last month, there were 172 runners in AG 20-24 and 345 in AG 25-29, almost double!

When it comes to overall times, it seems the older ladies have it figured out there too. In most cases their AG winner was faster than that of 20-24, and the top 10% times of 25-29 year olds smokes the younger ones by almost 2 minutes. If you were to take the overall average  pace of the entire age group, the 25-29 would probably produce a lower overall average, but with more people, there are more walkers and that drags the overall numbers down. The fastest of the big girls certainly beat out my little 20-24 minority in almost every way execpt for overall age group average pace- crazy fast ladies once they turn 25, I wonder if it's something in the water?!?!?

So what I learned in a Nutshell....I better race my little legs off for the next 15 months before I get shoved into that crazy 25-29 group because once I do, my times won't look so good anymore, and I'll be getting old! Here is to rocking the rest of my 20-24 career!

1 comment:

  1. I think that the 20-24 year olds are partying and having a grand time in the college years. They aren't really looking for any stress outlets yet. They are having fun! Then they hit 25 and are starting to work the 9-6 jobs and the word "stress" becomes a factor. Running is a GREAT stress reliever, the older you get the more stressed you get... hence the better times. You, on the other hand are still young, but smart, and have a job like the 25-29 year olds so you are running!

    I have had this discussion with Jason a lot. And my theory always leads to the fact that the 20-24 year olds are too hung over to run!