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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Age V Time

The other day, Jesse, at Pandagon, was slicing up a John Tierney column about raising the retirement age to save Social Security because older people are more physically fit and energetic than they want us to believe: the wicked AARP has succeeded in promoting a lower retirement age and now all those seniors are just loafing around avoiding work - or something.

Anyway... over this past weekend, I ran in a big race, the Race For The Cure. Over 18,000 people registered to run or walk in the three races (women-only 5K, open 5K and 1-mile fun run). There were approx 1000 timed runners in the race I ran, the open 5K, and an uncounted number of walkers - it was a mob. So, while thinking about Tierney's point, I wondered, do seniors perform at the same level as other age groups? I assumed the answer would be a resounding No, but wanted to know what the race results said. Luckily, the official results pages list the age of each competitor along with their time. So, I did a little text-fu on the results page and slipped the data into Excel, created a scatter plot and... here it is:

Just looking at the graph, the best conclusion I can draw (not being a statistician) about age vs 5K time is this: as age increases fewer runners of that age show up for big 5Ks; but, the times for those who do show up aren't remarkably slower than any other age group. The fastest 60+ runner wasn't as fast as the fastest 20-30 year old, but the slowest senior beat the slowest runners from the 18-55 group. And most of them fit nicely into the meaty section of the results from all ages.

That is all.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.