How Accurate Are PEQs?

PEQ Projected Performances at the 2021 Eastbay XC Championship


How accurate were they?

• 7 of the top 13 within 4.7 second average of YT+ PEQ projected time
• 5 of the top 7 projected to finish in the top 7
• 5 of the top 9 within 2.2 second average of projected time
• 14 girls finished within 3 places of projected finish
• First place finisher’s time within 1 second of her projected time
• All 6 experts from one prominent running results website missed predicting the winning time by an average of 18 seconds
• 4 of the same 6 experts predicted her time to be under 17 minutes
• Her YT+ McAlpine Park to Balboa Park PEQ projected her to run 17:14. She ran 17:15.
• Team places all projected correctly
• All of the top 7 boys finished within a 7.7 sec average of YT+ projected time
• 13 of the top 16 boys finished within a 6.3 sec average of projected time
• Winner’s time within 6 seconds of projected time
• 6 of the top 10 were projected to finish in the top 10
• Only 2 of the same 6 experts above predicted the winner to finish 1st or 2nd
• YT+ Projected him finishing 2nd

“If you have ever wondered how to compare a cross country time to various other performances, you will be amazed at how well On Course Rating Systems can do that for you; no more guess work, just great results. YourTime+ brings reality to times run on cross country courses of different degrees of difficulty.”

Jack Daniels, Ph.D.

“World’s Greatest Coach”, RUNNERS WORLD

PEQ* projected performances at the 2022 Champs Sports National high school XC championship

How accurate were they?

• 5 girl’s times were within 3.8 sec. av. of PEQ projected time
• 10 girl’s times were within 5.7 sec. av. of PEQ projected time
• 6 of the top 8 girls were YT+ ranked to finish in the top 8
• 5 of the top 8 were an average of 1.6 places from their YT+ ranked place
• 13 girls finished an average of 1.5 places from YT+ ranked place
• 18 girls (50%) finished an average of 2.3 places from YT+ ranked place
• Winning team score projected to within 6 points
• 5 of top 8 within 2 places of YT+ ranked place
• 11 within 3 places of YT+ ranked place
• 8 of top 10 projected to be in the top 10
• 8 within 1.8 sec. av. of PEQ projected time
• 13 within 2.9 sec. av. of PEQ projected time
• 20 (51%) within 4.8 sec. av. of PEQ projected time

YT+ projections based solely on patented performance equivalences (PEQs) between qualifiers’ most competitive recent race on a YT+ certified course and at Balboa Park. The courses on which these performances were produced varied in length by as much as 117 meters requiring precision measurements of them to make this level of accuracy possible.

Pre-Covid Performance report

Since 2016 there have been hundreds of actual performances on YT+ certified courses which almost exactly matched their PEQs. Here are just a few examples since 2019:

Louisa County’s #1 runner ran a 16:02 at the Pole Green (woods) XC classic on 9/7/19. That performances’ PEQ at Panorama Farms (new) where he will race one week later is 15:59. He actually ran 16:01. His Panorama Farms (new) to Fork Union PEQ where he will race the week after is 16:16. He actually runs a 16:14 there. His teammate, the #2 Louisa Co. runner ran a 16:59 at Pole Green woods. Its PEQ at Fork Union is 17:11, he actually ran 17:08.
One of the most impressive PEQ to actual performances was turned in by one Daniel O’Brien from Virginia Episcopal School, winning the XC Invitational on 10/19/19 at Pole Green (open) in 14:57. According to his father and coach, Pete O’Brien, this was Daniels’ best race of the regular season, run on an almost entirely flat course in Mechanicsville but apparently equal in competitiveness to his seventh place finish on the very hilly and challenging Balboa Park course at the Foot Locker high school championships in San Diego on 12/14/19. His Pole Green (open) to Balboa Park PEQ was 15:23. His actual time at Balboa Park was 15:24.

“Until now, performances on one cross country course could not be objectively compared to performances on another. When I was approached about YT+ (known then as OCRS) Performance Equivalences in 2019, I was intrigued but honestly doubtful that an “apples to apples” comparison was possible. But when we applied this to our top runner, following him from Pole Green Park in Virginia all the way to Balboa Park in San Diego, CA, I was amazed how consistently accurate this information would be. My only wish was that we had this all through his career. ”

Pete O’Brien

M.D. Virginia Episcopal School Assistant Coach


These nearly identical PEQ to actual performances just cited are even more impressive when you consider that none of the five courses on which they were run were exactly 5000 meters and varied in length by as much as 89 meters (4927m to 5016m.). All were precision measured and difficulty rated by YT+ and times normalized to exactly 5000m to provide this level of accuracy.
So, these PEQ numbers so far, while impressive, show only a few individual performances. What would a larger population sample look like?
Seven of the top twenty-one boys at the 11/7/19 VHSL 5A Region Championships at Panorama Farms (old) ran an average of 4.7 seconds from their PEQ’s between Panorama Farms (old) and Great Meadow (site of their VA state championship) on 11/16/19. Seven of the top eight boys from the 10/24/19 Shore conference championships at Ocean Co. NJ came within an average of 6.2 seconds from their PEQ’s between Ocean Co. and Holmdel Park three weeks later on 11/16/19. Five of the nine NJ girls who finished in the top 24 at the NE Foot Locker regional race at Van Cortlandt Park on 11/30/19 came within an average of 5.8 sec from their Holmdel Park to Van Cortlandt Park PEQ’s. And five of the six NJ boys who finished in the top 22 at the same FL regional meet at VCP came within a 5.2 sec average from their Holmdel to VCP PEQ’s.
Some of the most impressive PEQ numbers in the YT+ system over the last several years are from performances by the top high school cross country athletes around the country competing for national bragging rights in San Diego at Balboa Park . The higher the performance level, the closer the PEQ to actual performances appear. In the 2019 championship for example, nine of the top fourteen boy’s finishers from YT+ rated regional courses came within a 4 second average of their regional to national PEQs. And thirteen of the top nineteen girls in the championship race were within a 6.4 sec average from their regional to national PEQs. Similar levels of accuracy were produced in the several preceding years on the same courses.

“I have known Coach Tucker for several years through the Virginia running community… I have followed him closely as he has developed Performance Equivalences, now known as YT+ PEQs. I have been impressed by both his passion as well as his commitment to accuracy. The results are in: this program works! It allows not only a comparison of performances at different venues, but assists in training and race preparation. Runners take your marks!”

Bob Wilder

M.D. FACSM Medical Director The Runner’s Clinic, University of Virginia Co-Editor, The Textbook of Running Medicine