FIRST JOINT PARKRUN...and...NOW I AM IN THE SIXTIES!

This is a tardy report of the first Parkrun that me and my missus, MadameTruffe, ran together, last Saturday. It was her first one, having wanted to be very confident of her ability to complete in a respectable time. Neither of us slept much the night before and with it raining, I would happily have foregone the Parkrun and gone off for a 10k later in the day. MadmeTruffe, though, had built herself up for this one and so off we went to Killerton.

There was a light rain at times, which was wonderfully cooling, but the course was pretty muddy and it was not a prime PB opportunity. Well, we didn't run together, so I don't know a lot about her run and she hasn't posted about it on here (I don't think), but I was there to watch her running in strongly and finishing in 35:15, which was a PB. It was brilliant to see her beaming smile throughout the last couple of hundred metres. Typical of her, she didn't want to overtake another first timer in a sprint finish, a younger man, in case he was demoralised by being overtaken by "an old lady". What impressed me most was when I looked at her time on the results page and saw that her age grade score was 52.77%, while she was running amongst runners with scores in the mid forties. Age grading effectively shows how much effort you are putting in.....which brings me to blowing my own trumpet.

My run was great, with the first 3k being so easy, that I didn't think I was going very fast. I make a point of not looking at my watch while running and had no tracking, so I was just out for an enjoyable run in the mud. What's new. My previous Parkrun PB was 26:18, which has stood since December last year. With all my recent 5ks being quite slow, I had no expectation of a PB as I slogged through the last 2k. One thing that was new, maybe because of interval training, was my ability to up the pace in the last couple of hundred metres to the finish line. As I stopped my stopwatch, my involuntary swearing unsettled the runner in front of me, as I saw a time of 25:41. I can't write the expletives in polite company, but they expressed my genuine shock at knocking off 37 seconds from my PB.

I honestly don't know where it came from. One of my medium term targets had been to get this time down to 26m, which would get my age grade up to a satisfyingly round 60%. I had expected it to be a struggle, but here I am with a time that gives me 61.39%. This PB is going to take some beating but it puts me within striking distance of getting onto the Killerton top 1000 age graded table; position 1000 at present being 62.9%. Isn't it wonderful how new running targets pop up out of nowhere?

So, the da Truffes have started their joint Parkrun adventure and I have also challenged my 32 year old son to match my age grading. He is not far off and is a keen cyclist rather than a runner, so I don't expect him to hang around for long. The dust (or mud) really will be flying, next time we hit Parkrun as a family. Stand clear!

Keep running, keep smiling.

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  • Age grading is definitely the way to go IT. I hit 57 last time and my goal is now 60. THEN I can scoff secretly at all the young men finishing Park Runs in 20 minutes.

  • Well done! It certainly made my son sit up and take notice. He doesn't want to be beaten by his old dad.

  • Well done to the pair of you ;o) Some great times, PB's and age grading results. I'm hoping to read up a bit more on the age grading side of things once I start taking part in my local Park Run. Interesting to read about your interval training which may have resulted in the increased speed etc. Again, that's something I'm going to be doing more of once I have completed the c25k.

  • Thanks, Paul. I would encourage you to do Parkrun. It is a great experience and a wonderful movement. Interval training is just about beginning to teach me about different paces and enabling me to recognise them and their effect on my body, but it has taken nearly year to get there. Good luck with the rest of the programme.

  • Yes, I've heard nothing but good things about Park run and I am certainly looking forward to it.

  • Yes - I've found comparing the age grading results very satisfying and a much fairer comparison for many of us than the times achieved by people who are much younger. I tipped over 60 just once but mostly I'm in the 56-58 range, which is none too shabby! My aim is to hit 60 on my home run as the one time I did achieve it was on a much flatter course. Well done to you both!

  • 60% does have a nice round ring to it, but whether I can follow up with similar results remains to be seen. It is another target to try to maintain I suppose, as the years pass by. Good luck with your target.

  • I don't really understand age grading. I get the drift of it but not the nuts and bolts

    Well done on your splendid achievement Iannoda!!!! You must be well chuffed with that! I know I would be

    It must be great to run as a family. I wish my old man would run with me. I'm working on him

  • Basically, your age grade for any run is the percentage of the pace of the world record for someone in your age group, at that distance. 100% is the world record time. This enables comparisons between different ages of runners and means that you can theoretically still compete with younger runners as you get older.

    Chuffed? Too darned right!!

    I never attempted to persuade my wife to run, because she said, when I started C25k, "You won't get me running. I never liked running." I think she didn't want to get left behind and it really is a great joy to live with someone who shares this weird obsession.

  • Well done to both of you, good times. I used to wonder what the Age Grade was all about but it puts your running into perspective because less face it a 60+ year old is never going to go as fast as a 20 year old. 2012 was my best year, its all gone to pot since then but I had wonderful fun working on bettering my time each run.

    Year 2012

    Best Time 31:39

    Best Age Grading 62.19%

  • Wow, that's some achievement and I would be more than happy with those stats ;)

  • You will be out there again soon I am sure. I have been reading your words of wisdom for a year now, OG, and I know you are a lady of great determination and cunning. There is that problem that as you enter a new age group (for us oldies anyway) that you will be able to get some impressive age graded scores but probably have to bow to the inevitable age related decline. Make the most of now, has to be the maxim, I think.

    I might have known that you would beat me. Brilliant.

    Get running again and keep smiling.

  • Stats for Carolyn (Aberdeen Parkrun) she's 55-59 age group Y 2014 - T 00:18:37 - AG 95.97% - now that's what I call incredible :) I know I'll never crack the sub 30 but when I'm running I enjoy the challenge. When I stop enjoying it I'll hang up my shoes. Have fun guys and girls and stay injury free if you can :)

  • I think you are all amazing, and put the "young ones" like me to shame. As for age, given that you are much faster than me, I think I might have to ask for some sort of reverse age grading :-) wink wink!

  • When you come to this thing at such an advanced age and state of decrepitude, the newly won ability to run is such a bonus in life and makes you realise that you have to make the most of it. I really do smile, to myself at least, every time I run. I am sure that if some statistician really looked into it, they could find many flaws with the concept, but it makes me feel good. The top ranked runner at the Killerton Parkrun is a woman in the 50-54 age range with a grading of an amazing 89.73% and a 5k time of 19:06.

    Enjoying your running is the most important thing and age grading just helps spice it up a bit.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Well done! Always good to smash a PB to pieces when you least expect it!

  • The disadvantage being that it will be that much longer before I can set another one! You can draw out the smugness by just beating your PB by just a few seconds on a more frequent basis.

  • Very well done you and Madame T. Sounds great to be achieving those goals and enjoying each other enjoying running. Happy Running to you too. :) :)

  • Thanks Jaqs99. It is great to have this forum to post on, where everyone appreciates what it is like to achieve a PB and it is not seen as just some kind of bragging (which it is).

    May all your runs be happy runs.

  • You can have one now, KittyKat. Just put your best 5k time into the calculator at runnersworld.com/tools/age-... and you can compare yourself to us oldies.

  • Another great post - well done to you both! Aren't the age gradings wonderful- it also means that I get an extra birthday present next month!

  • You're right about age grading, but since I have been thinking about it over the last few days, I do think that it may be slanted in favour of the older runner. It is still based on a world record, but there are far fewer oldies running competitively at the highest level so that world record may be easier to achieve than the one for the 20-30 age range. PSSST! Don't tell the youngsters.

    Have a good birthday.

  • Wonderful post, I love to hear how much you are enjoying running. That's the main thing really, but... well done to both of you on great times. Hope the two of you keep on running and keep on having fun for a long time yet!

  • Thank you, Lizziebet57. C25k has created a great shared interest for us and I am delighted that MadameTruffe enjoyed Parkrun and wants to do it again.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

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