Arunners benchmarks are intended to provide women and men runners of all ages with realistic times to aim at in different race distances. They are based on standards issued by the Road Running Club but extended to cover a greater age range and a wider range of abilities. They are organised into men and women, nine age groups (“under 40”, up to “75 and over”) and eight levels (level 1 is the highest) for each of six distances and one time interval. So, for example, a woman aged 57 who runs a 10 kilometre race in 52 minutes and 20 seconds is awarded a benchmark level 4: a man aged 48 who runs a half marathon in 1 hour 56 minutes is awarded a benchmark level 6.They allow performances by runners of different ages and genders to be compared and also allow each runner to take account of their age! You will sometimes hear members of Arunners say "Oh good, next birthday I’ll be “45” because that means they will move up an age category and so have easier times to meet at the same level.
They are NOT compulsory – if you don’t want to be included at all just tell me. Benchmarks are only awarded for races which are accurately measured and so, sadly, none of the runs which are part of the West Sussex Fun Run League are eligible. If you are entering a race and are in doubt as to whether it is measured accurately, look at the entry form or the race details or the list in the most recent Arunners Update. Beware, because the word accurate is sometimes used rather loosely: Garmin-only measurement is not accepted. If you are still in doubt consult me. Your own name must appear in the race results but it doesn’t matter if “Arunners” is missing although we may not find you if it is! Parkruns are eligible for Benchmarks by special agreement although in general they are not accurately measured. I automatically look at Bognor and Worthing parkruns results but not at other venues so if you do a parkrun somewhere else and you want a benchmark certificate for it you need to tell me directly. Email is the most reliable method.
Benchmark certificates are laid out on a table at training on Wednesdays. If you see one with your name on please take it with our congratulations. You are only given a certificate for a new, better level at a particular distance or if you have changed age category since your last benchmark at this distance. So, for example, if you already have a level 4 for a marathon you won't be given another level 4 or a level 5, 6, 7 or 8: only level 3, 2 or 1! However, if you have changed age category since you got your level 4 then you can start again and you can be given a level 5. Hopefully you will get back to level 4 and perhaps to level 3!