The number 80 bus

I first contemplated the possibility of an 80% age grade (AG) as I turned 49 and reviewed the performances required at age 50. Of course in the intervening years 80% has come a little closer in absolute terms, but nonetheless three years later, it has finally turned up and I am happy to be on board. In fact, as is traditional, three or four have turned up at once.

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The number 80 bus … three or four have turned up at once!

Notwithstanding my advancing years, I am still very much motivated by achieving absolute PBs – faster times – and so I really wanted any 80% AG performances to meet this condition too.

Parkrunning as often as I do, and given my greater ability over shorter distances, it was always likely that I would run my first 80% at a parkrun 5k. My existing PB was 18:50 set in August 2017, when I was 51 – 78.94% AG. Over the next two months, I ran close to my PB again – 18:54 and 18:52 – which, by virtue of being after my 52nd birthday, improved my AG – to 78.80 and 79.28% respectively.

At the beginning of this month, and now aged 53, I ran 18:52 again – an 80.12% AG. I took some satisfaction from this but hoped I would be able to improve my absolute PB and thus satisfy my self-imposed criteria. It turned out that I was about to embark on a quite remarkable, to me, series of performances …

Number 80 timetable

date, venue age time AG*
3 Nov 2018, parkrun – Dulwich (5k) 53 18:52 80.12%
10 Nov 2018, parkrun – Dulwich (5k) 53 18:48 PB 80.41%
18 Nov 2018, The Brighton 10k 53 39:18 80.03%
24 Nov 2018, parkrun – Dulwich (5k) 53 18:44 PB 80.69%

I now have two races left this season, the 5 mile at Perivale on 2 December and a final raced parkrun at Dulwich on 8 December. Of the two I really want a PB (currently 31:28, 76.91% AG at age 49) at the five mile race and sub 31:00. Conveniently 30:58 is an 80.03% AG 😉 To complete the sequence of 6 consecutive weekends with a further 80% AG and even another 5k PB would be amazing!

* The AG percentages used throughout this post are calculated using the 2006/2010 tables. I use these as a matter of habit since parkrun uses the 5k subset of this data to calculate its published age grades. The latest 2015 tables produce slightly lower percentages, respectively the four performances in the timetable are 80.02%, 80.30%, 77.82% and 80.59%.

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