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Age classes & entering big events

Age class based competition

Last edited: Fri 15 Feb 2019

Used to running colour coded courses but not sure how these relate to courses by age category? Worried that there might not be a course for you at the bigger events. Fear not!


All senior age-based competition is at the highest technical difficulty level of five ('TD5'), except for the newcomers' courses of M21N and W21N (see below), which are at Orange level.

Many people have not progressed as far as TD5 or may not have the fitness to do the Short course for their age class. Fortunately, most events have the usual courses from White up to Light Green available, and often at a fraction of the price of the age-based classes, with entry on the day available to boot!

What course can I run?

The following is a rough approximation between age classes and colour coded courses. Don't necessarily expect your course to be a similar length to what you're used to locally- in a middle distance competition, it will be shorter. While in a long distance one (like JK or the British Champs), it could be significantly longer than what you're used to.

Course Male age classFemale age class
Black M21
Brown M35, M40
Short Brown M18, M20, M21S,
M45, M50
Blue M16, M35S, M40S,
M55, M60
W35, W40
Short Blue M18S, M20S, M45S,
M50S, M65
W18, W20, W21S,
W45, W50
Green M55S, M60S, M70 W16, W35S, W40S,
W55, W60
Short Green M65S, M75, M80,
W18S, W20S, W45S,
W50S, W65, W70
Very Short Green M70S, M75S, M80S,
W55S, W60S, W65S,
W70S, W75, W75S,
W80, W80S, W85, W85S
Light Green M14, M16B W14, W16B
Orange M12, M14B, M21N W12, W14B, W21N
Yellow M10, M12B W10, W12B
White M10B W10B

The above allocations were used at the 2017 Springtime in Shropshire weekend.

White through to Light Green are open to all.

Those who excel are permitted to run 'up' a class e.g. a W65 running the W50L course. But conversely a W50 cannot choose to run W65


The suffixes denote the level- up to the M/W70 or 80 classes, there is generally a choice of two courses:

  • S- denotes the short course for any given age
  • L- sometimes used to denote the longer course, sometimes omitted, as above
  • N- newcomer i.e. adult beginners on the Orange course
  • B- the shorter or easier junior course.
  • A- sometimes used to denote the harder or longer junior course, but again, sometimes omitted, like above
  • E- for elite runners only