Weight Handicapping for the Veteran Squad at Wallingford -Guest Blog


Following on from our article about weight handicapping, Peter Finnegan and Andy Millar share their facts and information on the topic.

You might be interested to know that in the Wallingford wrinkled Veteran Squad, (age range ~40 -84 and weight range ~60 -100kgs, one extreme outlier!)  we have been adjusting our 5k ergo times for about five years by “normalising” them to a 70 year old 77kg man –this makes Paddy Hislop (80 years old, weight 70 kg, 5k ergo time just under 21 minutes) very competitive with about five other oarsmen at the top of the table (age range 52 to 65,  weights 67-100kg, ergo times 17.40-19.50). Over the last year the squad has become mixed and we have introduced a gender handicap too –(based on the attached graphs showing decline of VO2 max with age in both sexes, showing about a 20 year “testosterone effect” –basically we tell the ladies we add 20 years to their real age, of course kept confidential in the published tables, in fact we only add 17 in order to keep them in their places).

The equation for weight is the same as your published one (using the power of 0.22 or 2/9), the equation for age simulates the published veteran handicap system –we change it from time to time, but essentially, if you look at the veteran handicaps for 20 minute heads (http://www.britishrowing.org/upload/files/Association/Policies/HandicapOperatingNotes-2010.pdf) you will see that you get about 30 seconds per 5 year class or about 6 seconds per year of age, which is exactly 0.5% and our formula attempts to reproduce that. For the mathematically minded, the formulae for the two handicaps are:

Age handicap in seconds:  “elite time in seconds”  x ((age/60)^Y-1) where Y is 0.36 over 70 and 0.49 under 70 (this formula while a little complicated gets closer to the vet handicap tables than one based on 1.005^(age-60))

Weight handicap in seconds: “elite time in seconds” x ((weight/77)^0.22-1)

Gender handicap –just add 20 years to female rower’s ages and use that in the age handicap formula (or 17 in order to resist the march of feminist domination)

In a spirit of pure self-interest and shameless self-publicity we attach our current table –I’ve removed the formulae (as above) on the worksheets for reasons of confidentiality of personal information, but am happy to share them on request

This is, of course, all just a bit of fun…..if a little obsessional


Peter Finnegan & Andy Millar (Wallingford Wrinkled Veterans Squad)


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