Other way to score age grade totals for FLRC Challenge

Currently, the rule for the overall age grade competition is
“For the entire series, each runner’s age grades for all courses completed are averaged”
That is, you sum the age grades for all courses and divide by ten.
My contention is that this down weights (i.e., reduces the importance of) the tougher courses.
For example:
For Lick Brook (I think the toughest course), a good age grade is 50%. If the runner takes one tenth off their time (just for the sake of illustration), their age grade goes to 55%. So the sum of age grades goes up by 5
For the sweet sixteen, a good age grade is 75%. Now, if the runner takes one tenth off their time, the age grade goes up to 82.5%. So the sum of age grades goes up by 7.5
As you see, you are rewarded more for a one tenth improvement for an easy race than for a hard race, which doesn’t seem right.

The solution would be to take the best age grade as the standard. That age grade would be worth 100 points. For anybody with a lower age grade, divide their age grade by the standard and multiply by 100. So if I had a 1% worse age grade than the best, I would get 99 points. Now sum up these standardized age grades across the ten races.

Just a thought. I’m sure it would make very little difference overall, unless someone is really consistently better at the tough ones and worse at the easy ones. But it just rubs me the wrong way that the tough ones should matter less than the easy ones for the overall competition.

I’ll be curious what @steve-desmond thinks of the math behind this, but the bit that jumps out at me is “taking one tenth off your time.” I’m not sure that age-grading tracks linearly because it’s based on the world record for that distance for that age for that sex. Those will vary.

We discussed various ideas around this in thorough, painful detail (yes, still some baggage :sweat_smile:) before last year’s Challenge started, from adding course weightings, difficulty multipliers, bell curves, etc. The thing it always came down to, though, was that any sort of manipulation like that artificially inflated the importance of one course (or type of course: terrain, distance, etc.) over another. So we left it at an easy to understand definition: average age grade.

As it currently stands, every athlete’s time for every course is on the same playing field, based against an external standard (the world’s fastest time for that distance), vs the “points” method which is an internal standard (the challenge’s best age grade for that course). From a mathematical standpoint, I don’t think I would oppose changing “Average Age Grade” (max 100%) to “Age Grade Points” (max 1000 pts) in a future year, we’d just have to research and better understand the consequences of such a decision ahead of time.