If you missed part 1 you can find it here
This series grew out of my attempts to write about Sports Psychology because it’s a topic which dominated my reading for a couple of decades. I wanted to impart the wisdom I’d learned along the way, but it’s a big topic ranging across all sorts of areas such as goal-setting, attributions, mental skills, relaxation and learning among many more; so being unsure of how to start writing it, I did the obvious thing and gave up for the time being!
During my research however, I looked up Dr Steve Peters to sharpen up on the details of his work. He’s famous for writing The Chimp Paradox; a best seller that brings together many of the ideas and methods he used while working as a sports psychologist for Great Britain Cycling to support their successful Olympic programme of the past two decades. Given his association with the cycling programme I was surprised to find out he’s been a highly successful Masters athlete in sprinting, to the extent that he won multiple gold medals at the World Masters Championships in the M50, M55 and M60 categories between 2005 and 2015.
On the UK Athletics’ website, The Power of 10, there are records of his performances in the 100, 200 and 400 since 1996 when he was age forty-three up to pre-pandemic. It makes for interesting viewing to see the decline, or should I say lack of decline in his sprinting over that period. Even in his late sixties, he’s still running under 13s for 100m, under 26s for 200m and breaking a minute for 400m. There’s been a noticeable decline in the last couple of years which is more likely due to lack of competition or injury than age itself.
Would you have thought those times were possible for someone who was never an elite sprinter in the first place? At fifty I can’t even run the times he’s achieving in his late sixties. Not because it’s necessarily beyond me but because I’ve never trained specifically for them. How you train is a bigger determinant of your performance than your age.
Steve Peters is the World Champion for his age group, so he is obviously something of an outlier, but there are many former Olympians who are no longer competing who could be faster. Steve isn’t even the world record holder in his age categories. Below are tables of the age-graded world records for both men and women, updated in June 2022.
Age group world records for 100m
|World Record||9.58||Usain Bolt||16-Aug-09||10.49||Florence Griffith Joyner||16-Jul-88|
|V35||9.87||Justin Gatlin||30-Jun-19||10.74||Merlene Ottey||07-Sep-96|
|V40||9.93||Kim Collins||29-May-16||11.09||Merlene Ottey||03-Aug-04|
|V45||10.72||Willie Gault||24-Jun-06||11.34||Merlene Ottey||12-Aug-06|
|V50||10.88||Willie Gault||07-May-11||11.67||Merlene Ottey||13-Jul-10|
|V55||11.3||Willie Gault||07-May-16||12.24||Julie Brims||13-Feb-21|
|V60||11.7||Ronald Taylor||04-Jun-94||13.63||Karla Del Grande||18-Jul-14|
|V65||12.31||Damien Leake||16-Jun-18||13.91||Karla Del Grande||11-Aug-18|
|V70||12.77||Bobby Whilden||06-Oct-05||14.73||Ingrid Meier||30-Jun-17|
|V75||13.25||Kenton Brown||03-Oct-20||15.03||Carol LaFayette-Boyd||04-Aug-18|
|V80||14.35||Payton Jordan||10-May-97||16.26||Kathy Bergen||06-Jun-21|
|V85||15.08||Hiroo Tanaka||25-Jun-17||18.49||Christa Bortignon||07-May-22|
|V90||16.86||Hiroo Tanaka||01-May-21||23.15||Mitsu Morita||06-Oct-13|
|V95||20.41||Frederico Fischer||30-Jun-12||30.16||Elena Pagu||28-Aug-21|
Age group world records for 200m
|World Record||19.19||Usain Bolt||20-Aug-09||21.34||Florence Griffith Joyner||29-Sep-88|
|V35||20.11||Linford Christie||25-Jun-95||21.93||Merlene Ottey||25-Aug-95|
|V40||20.64||Troy Douglas||09-Aug-03||22.72||Merlene Ottey||23-Aug-04|
|V45||21.8||Willie Gault||26-Apr-08||23.82||Merlene Ottey||27-Aug-06|
|V50||22.44||Willie Gault||07-May-11||24.33||Merlene Ottey||18-Jul-10|
|V55||23.24||Willie Gault||07-May-16||25.07||Julie Brims||07-Mar-21|
|V60||24.00||Ronald Taylor||10-Jun-94||28.11||Karla Del Grande||22-Oct-13|
|V65||24.65||Charles Allie||26-Jul-13||28.53||Karla Del Grande||05-Aug-18|
|V70||25.75||Charles Allie||21-Jun-18||31.3||Ingrid Meier||02-Jul-17|
|V80||29.54||Hijiya Hisamitsu||16-Sep-12||35.34||Kathy Bergen||06-Jun-21|
|V85||31.69||Hijiya Hisamitsu||17-Sep-16||41.58||Emiko Saito||12-Nov-17|
|V90||36.02||Hiroo Tanaka||23-May-21||55.62||Mitsu Morita||30-Jun-13|
Age group world records for 400m
|V35||44.54||Chris Brown||30-May-15||49.46||Allyson Felix||06-Aug-21|
|V40||47.81||Enrico Saraceni||25-Jul-04||52.50||Geisa Aparecida Coutinho||09-Apr-21|
|V45||49.09||Allen Woodard||18-Mar-17||56.14||Angee Henry-Nott||23-Jul-21|
|V55||52.24||Charles Allie||12-Jul-03||59.36||Julie Brims||23-Jan-21|
|V60||53.88||Ralph Romain||22-Jul-95||1:04.3||Caroline Powell||12-Aug-15|
|V65||56.09||Charles Allie||18-May-13||1:08.0||Karla Del Grande||12-Jul-19|
|V70||57.26||Charles Allie||11-Sep-18||1:11.8||Barbara Blurton||10-Dec-20|
|V75||1:02.4||Guido Müller||28-Jun-14||1:19.5||Christa Bortignon||22-Aug-13|
|V80||1:10.0||Hisamitsu Hijiya||09-Sep-12||1:29.8||Rietje Dijkman||09-Sep-19|
|V85||1:17.1||Earl Fee||12-Jul-14||1:41.6||Emiko Saito||29-Apr-17|
|V95||2:21.8||Orville Rogers||12-Jul-13||3:21.0||Diane Friedman||27-Jul-19|
It’s my guess that most runners, male or female, can’t even run the times being set by the 80-year-old women; let alone run close to the times for their own age or gender. It’s only when these runners get into their eighties that the times begin to noticeably degrade and I suspect this is as much down to circumstance, as it is ageing. There are fewer of these runners competing and most of them probably took it up later in life.
Lots of facts and figures so far but here’s a chance to enjoy watching M70 Charles Allie in action over 200m.
You can read Part 3 by clicking here