Are you a veteran runner who can help with a RW magazine article please?

Are you a veteran runner who at times feels like a second class runner?

My name is Adrian and I’m one of the regular freelance writers for Runner’s World. We are putting together an article inspired by some of the hot topics from our forums in recent months, and one of the feistiest was about veteran runners.

It seems many of you runners who are now classed in the veteran category (me too!) feel you at times get a raw deal in races (for instance when prizes are awarded) and at running clubs generally.

If that sounds like you, please let us know - either here on the forum or direct at the email below - and tell us more about your big or little gripes.

Also, if you’ve changed your training, altered your goals or even come up with a new running schedule since getting older (anything between 45-80) also please get in touch. We want to hear the upside too!

 We want to look at all the good and bad points of being a veteran runner. It would be great to use your comments in the magazine if you have some valid points to make.

 I really look forward to hearing from you, so please contact us ASAP.

 All the best

 Adrian Monti




  • Years ago I would get the aching muscles and the sore joints the day after a hard run, Now at 60, I dont need the hard run to get the same affect.

    Years ago I used to worry that I was slow. Nowadays I am a lot slower but dont worry about it. Looking at race results and the number of competitors in the v60 category compared to say the v40 cat makes you feel kind of special that you are still out there pounding the pavement.

    Years ago when considering doing a particular race and looking at the previous years results could decide 'too fast for me'. Now I quite fancy seeking out 'too fast for me' races and the idea of finishing last when trying to avoid doing so is kind of appealing in a strange way.

    One thought I did have the other day about racing when of bus pass age is that in a lot of places you go and things you do there are concessions for those past a certain age but why do no races offer concessions. Mind you the free bus pass is great for getting to races while it lasts.


  • What age group do you require then....? Vets are what age discuss could be a good starting point question for an article? Fifty is the new forty so at 51 am I a vet or just mature. This years Asics pick for Paris are all youngsters which shows there is ageism in advertising, where as us mature folk have more cash than the youngsters to spend on gear and entering races. Why is society afraid of showing older folk running or on a bike or doing a triathlon?
  • Anyone above 40 is considered a vet for most races, including vlm. Why pick 45 as you start point?

    I am heartened to see 40 plus winners at some of my local races e.g. Maidenhead half and Staines 10k. Many races feature over 40s heavily in the top 20 all comers.
  • Johnny J wrote (see)

      Obliging everyone over 60 to race in the same age group may infringe age discrimination legisation.  It certainly infringes the spirit of that legislation. 

    if that argument holds water then having any sort of age categories must also infringe the spirit of the legislation


  • I'm not sure I share your basic premise Adrian. I'm 41, and therefore now a vet (as Surrey Runner says why start at 45 - indeed why stop at 80?), and when I go to races there's always way more people older than me than younger than me.

    In fact my placings in my age group category is always substantially worse than my the same time would get in the open category.

    You could very well argue that vets get a significant advantage when it comes to prizes. The overall prizes often go to them, and then the vets prizes are picked up by lower placed vets, when there are no prizes specifically for the "open" categories.

    My last race - top 3 all M40 , 4th place senior male, 5th was M50, 6th-11th all senior males, 12th M60, 13th M50, 14th senior female, 15th M40 (me!).

  • over 35 is a vet for females..............which does make confusion in some races as the vets are faster than the youngsters in many races................but they try and be as fair as they can..........

    never ever heard ofg problems for those being vets be fair its a race and they don't need to have age catergories but the majority do.........

    Why does the writer think that we are treated as second class citizens as to be fair vets make the the majority of most races 

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭
    I've always found it a bit ridiculous that all women over 35 are classed together as vets in many races. Can you really put a 35 year old and a 70 year old in the same category? And why should women become vets 5 years earlier than men? It seems to suggest that we age quicker!
  • to be far most races have different classes of vets..........image

    and they did try and put the mens down a few years ago but there seemed to be some resistance......35 is the Vet gae for lots of sports like tennis

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    35 for vets in rugby too. It is nice to know that my GF will become a veteran before me even though im a year older.
  • 58 female who eventually joined a local club after running on own for 10 years and the best thing I've done to keep me motivated! I don't feel any discrimination in my club, in fact as a more mature runner I was made to feel very welcome and always feel encouraged alongside the younger faster runners. We have some strong "mature" veterans who are an inspiration to anyone who runs, they clearly demonstrate what can be acheved by ongoing and focused commitment.The positive side about being a more mature runner is there is less in your age group and you quickly get to know others within your age catagory who run in the local races. I do appreciate that in some races if there are not enough runners within age/gender groups there may not be a prize and I agree with the previous comment that it is unfair to lump all veterans together. I am happy in the knowledge that I can comfortably compete in half marathons and 10ks and still look forward to my next run!

  • As a 60-plus female triathlete living and racing in Germany, I am happy that the German triathlon union rules state that senior age group divisions are every 5 years - as long as there is even one person in an age category that category is accounted for in the results.That gives a 59 year old more chance of winning when only racing against 55 to 59 instead of 50 to 59. JJ is right to say there's more and faster deterioration at the older end of the age groups.

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭
    Bionic - that sounds a sensible system.

    Adrian - you wanted upsides too. I have found the main upside (to hitting 50 in my case) is being able to get a good for age place in VLM and other races. I have no idea what it's like to become a vet at the tender age of 35 as I never ran until I was 47!
  • TenjisoTenjiso ✭✭✭

    It bugs me that the London Marathon "Good For Age" chart is so blatantly wrong.  I'm 51, but according to that chart I should be 70+ !!!

    Sort it out Adrian.

  • VLM GFA is crap with a 18-40 range male getting 3:10 and a man aged 59 only getting an extra 5 minutes

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Yes agree about the GFA I'm not a veteran yet but I was shocked when I saw the times for the runners in their late 50's.
  • its their own fault.there are too many good male runners in their 50's................but yeas i agree .for those men in their 50's its much harder than for those in their 20's

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭
    It does seem to be easier for women, but maybe there are fewer of us running marathons.
  • I'm 39 and since I reached 35 I've been placed as a vet in some races and not in others. Seems like race directors and different athletics associations cant even agree on the female age categories. Some say 35 for women is a veteran, some keep it in line with the men and say 40...

    I think having 5 year age bands like in triathlon would be a good idea but I suspect race directors wouldn't like the idea of handing out so many more prizes! Even without prizes, it would be good just for comparison purposes...

  • Maybe in the not too distant future, there will be no vet catagory.  There will just be 70 year olds with legs injected full of stem cells beating off 20 and 30 year olds to win races :-/


  • Adrian

    i have mailed u

    you can ( if u feel its ok ) to put public what i've written - as i'm unsure my subject might interest you

    i am a veteran -

    best wishes

    Mick -

  • But do people enjoy running more as they get into the vet categories, do they enjoy it less as they slow or do they enjoy it just the same ?

  • TenjisoTenjiso ✭✭✭

    I'll never know Derek.  When started running I was already a veteran image

  • derek

    ive been running all my life- pushing wheelchair for nearly 11 years now -

    good question - guess it depends on the individual - getting slower when your over your peak can be hard to accept

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭

    I think maybe you enjoy it in a different way as you get older. Maybe you enjoy the fact that you can run at all! But like Tenjiso, I was already a veteran when I started out. I do think age gradings are good, too. 

  • Golf uses a handicap system which means that, apart from elite "scratch" competitions, most participants are capable of winning competitions.  I think this greatly increases the enjoyment of the sport - pitting young against old; experienced against beginners.  This is great - it gives the game a friendly but real competitive edge for all. Everybody is in the same competition, with a chance of winning.

    I think that we would see an increase in race participation if we could find something similar in running. I think that running competitions, away from elite races, should routinely use age-grading as a form of unbiased handicap system.  OK... it wouldn't be quite the same, but it would allow young to be pitted against old... so you could keep  runners really interested as they get older - and indeed, the "young greyhound" who currently feels he/she can breeze to first place in their local run, would need to pull out all the stops to win by a wide-enough margin to secure overall victory.

    Beginners, or less talented runners wouldn't be able to benefit directly (I can't see how that could be practically achieved) - but even there, the older ones could work to improve their age-grade scoring... and have a realistically achievable benchmark towards which to work.

    Golf usually gives prizes to the low-score and to the best handicap score. You could do something similar with running.

    So many races have spreadsheeted results, which have a record of d.o.b.  and finishing time, it could be calculated in an instant.  The only thing is that there might need to be an investment in technology, as those races where finishing-position, rather than finishing-time, is recorded, would need to upgrade in order to monitor times for each runner.  That shouldn't be too difficult or expensive with today's technology though.

    A bit rambling... but in summary, running clubs and race organisers should try to level the playing field as far as possible, if we want to maintain maximum competitive interest amongst runners.. and making far more use of age-graded scores to determine the results of races, sounds like a good way to go about it.

  • park runsw give wava scores for the runs do itws great to compare club members or familiesimage

  • Go CazGo Caz ✭✭✭
    Run Wales, great ideas. I agree with all that you say.
  • Hi Adrian, 

    I'm a newish club runner (started Jan 2012 after injury) and 49 years old.  I'd be interested in helping you with your article.

    My account of my first trail marathon (Beachy Head) is here in my blog - links to a scan of a feature I had published in Outdoor Fitness Magazine earlier this month. Hope that's of interest as it describes a couple of obstacles I had to get over to even reach the start line!

    From the little experience I've had so far, I'd say I'm astonished at the level of fitness of vets who've been running all their lives! 

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