Grand Prix

A Bluffers Guide to the Grand Prix by Mark Champion

The Grand Prix is a road running competition although a trail races with a confirmed distance are included (NDR, Bewl 15, Sevenoaks 7 to name a few). But only races with a confirmed distance can be included in the Age Graded GP, for reasons that hopefully will become obvious below.

In the Grand Prix you are scored in 8 different distances / performances :
– Any road distance up to 5k
– 5 miles
– 10k to 9 miles (2 of these)
– 10 miles
– Half Marathon
– Any distance above half Marathon but shorter than Marathon distance
– Marathon

The main Grand Prix
Prizes given in this category – 1st and 2nd Men & Women, 1st Male Vet, 1st Female Vet
Which measures your performance against the field and give you a % for you finishing position (it’s a bit hard to explain but hopefully the example below will make it a bit clearer)
Example – in a race of 100 Istead has 3 Athletes Gary came 1st, Barry came 50Th, and Larry came 100th.
In the Grand Prix:
– Garry would get 100% – (1/100)*100
– Barry would get 50% – (50/100)*100
– Larry would get 1% – (100/100)*100

The Age Grading Grand Prix
Prize given in this category – overall winner
First of all what’s Age Grading?
Well it’s a well know, if disappointing, fact that we get slower as we get older, so comparing a 65 year old’s time against a 30 year old’s time is difficult. Yes we know the absolute time, but if we take the athletes age into account which is the best. This is where Age Grading comes into play, each year the World Masters Athletics Org (that may not be exactly right but it’s something like that) publish a list of tables giving the Age Category World Records for a range of road running distances.
So the Age Grading Grand Prix works in exactly the same way as the main Grand Prix except the times are compared to the Age Grading tables not the field in the race. As a heads up any age grade % in the 70%s is good on a local level, 80%s is good on a national level and above 90% is good on the world stage.
Finally we give out a prize to the athlete with the highest age graded % of the year.

Hints to doing well
The main thing is to run a range of distances, only 4 people in the club ran all 8 distances in the previous year, and they all finished in the top 3 of the men’s or women’s table.
Let me know the races you’ve done.
Target big races, as these tend to have slightly slower fields so your %’s will be better.

Hopefully this hasn’t confused everyone even more, but if you have any more questions let me know.

2015/16 Results
We had 1,540 results in the 2015.
5ks 1,069
5 milers 42
10ks 229
10 milers 63
Half Marathon 49
Marathons 33

The Men’s Main Grand Prix
Paul Jones romped away with the title, reason for this is twofold, he completed every race distance and he topped the rankings in every distance apart from the 10 miler in which he was second behind Ed Bovington.
Second was Steve Ball who was neck and with Steve Cason for much of the year in the battle of the Steve’s. Steve Ball eventually pulled away due to him completing 7 or the 8 distances and having a slightly higher average %.
Jonathan Crowle won the Vets prize, and actually nipped ahead of Steve Cason at the death to take 3rd overall, once again Jonathan scored well as he had completed all 8 distances.
Joe Cumberland, Dan Walsh & Myself all had good average %’s but didn’t do enough qualifying races to challenge.

The Women’s Main Grand Prix
Sally D was a clear winner in the Women’s GP, once again Sally completed all distances and placed well throughout, but interestingly is not top of any of the rankings list.
Vikki Hill was 2nd after scoring consistently through all 8 distances.
Sue Beecham won the Vets prize and like Jonathan came 3rd overall.
An honourable mention to Sarah who dropped out of the top 3 in the last month but does have the highest average score of any ladies completing over 5 distances.

Age Grade winner
Paul Jones won the Age Grade title ahead of Sally D (anyone see a pattern here 😉 )
But there are a number of athletes who could have challenged Paul on an age grade basis had they completed all distances (Trevor Edgeley, Mark Champion, Ray Pearce, Dave Abery, Barbara Ockendon & Lynne Champion all have comparable % to Paul)
This last paragraph is in no way intended to belittle Paul’s season which has been nothing short of fantastic, rather it’s a clarion call to the athletes doing well with Age Grade % to complete the whole set and give Paul a run for his money.

Best Age Grade Performance
Mark Champion with 82.01% at the Westminster Mile.
Honourable mention to Ray Pearce who scored 81.75% at Dartford Parkun, and Lynne Champion who scored 81.51% also at the Westminster Mile.
Running Highlights of the year
Our two Globe Trotting Marathon Stars, Kulwinder Thind & Sally D joining a select group by completing all 6 Marathon Majors.
Paul Jones running consistently well across all distances and his fantastic 2:49 in Paris a time not seen in a Istead vest since Ray Pearce, Ian Drew and Martin Forder were in their pomp.
Lynne Champion winning the Whitstable 10k last spring
Istead’s take over of Harvel & the Ditton Turkey Trot where we had 26 & 19 runners respectively.
Lynne Champion becoming a World Champion & Trevor Edgeley winning a Bronze Medal in the World Masters Half Marathon Team Championship in Lyon. (I know I’m biased but what can I say?)
Finally I’d like to apologise a bit, as my Running Highlights are based on performances at the front of the races, and I’m well aware that many of you are doing great things in your running, improving doing PBs, running further and faster than you ever have before, and those performances are just as important as the things I’ve listed above, and really the Running Highlight of the year is being part of Istead & Ifield, a great little club that consistently punches above its weight.
Here’s to the next year.