Kona Consistency

Note: This is a slightly expanded version of a section from my free Kona Rating Report that contains a lot more “geeky” views and details for this year’s Kona Pro fields. (You can get your copy here.)

In early 2016 I introduced a “consisteny” column in my pre-race posts to indicate how often an athlete finishes close to the predicted times (more details here). When finishing within roughly 20 minutes of the predicted time, that result is counted in the “as expected” category and outside of that corridor either in the “better than expected” or “sub-par” categories. Finally, newer results are weighted higher than older results to calculate the consistence values, leading to a four-part consistency indicator such as “79% +21% -0% (18)” (an example for Linsey Corbin).

The different parts have the following meaning:

  • 79%: Fraction of normal race results
  • +21%: Fraction of “better than expected” race results
  • -0%: Fraction of “sub-par” race results (including DNFs)
  • (18): Total number of Ironman-distance results (including DNFs)

When only looking at the Kona results, I get a consistency that is specific to Kona and the unique conditions of the Kona climate and course and the circumstances of the World Championship. Here are athletes that have raced in Kona three times or more and that have a very high number in either of these categories:

  • Often Faster in Kona
    • Cyril Viennnot 69% (5 races)
    • Ty Butterfield 53% (4 races)
    • Tim O’Donnell 53% (5 races)
  • As Expected
    • Andy Potts 100% (7 races)
    • Sebastian Kienle 100% (4 races)
    • Ivan Rana 100% (3 races)
    • Liz Lyles 100% (3 races)
    • Kristin Möller 100% (3 races)
    • Timo Bracht 99% (8 races)
    • Linsey Corbin 97% (9 races)
  • Often Sub-Par in Kona
    • Meredith Kessler 84% (5 races)
    • Christian Kramer 78% (4 races)
    • Tine Deckers 68% (5 races)
    • Pete Jacobs 67% (8 races)

This means that athletes in the “As Expected” category are very likely to be within 20 minutes of my predicted times, while there is a good chance for the athletes in the first category to be significantly faster than expected. It’s also interesting to note that both Ty and Tim have also had some “bad” races in Kona (Ty was 28th in 2010 and had as DNF in 2014, Tim was 32nd in 2014 after walking long parts of the marathon), so you never quite know what to get from them on race day.

There is a significant risk that athletes in the last category end up with a disappointing result as compared to my predictions. So far the “poster child” for this category is Meredith Kessler who has been racing well at almost every race but so far has not been able to have a good race in Kona. She hopes that this year she has identified the cause for her issues and is looking forward to a much better experience in Kona this year.

For athletes that haven’t raced as often in Kona, it is difficult to draw conclusions from the past Kona results. Rather than give specific percentages, here are a few athletes that have done well in their one or two Kona races:

  • Sarah Piampiano (2 races)
  • Tim Reed (1 race)
  • Heather Jackson (1 race)
  • Joe Skipper (1 race)
  • Asa Lundstroem (2 races)

There are also a number of interesting athletes that are racing in Kona for the first time, for example

  • Alicia Kaye
  • Kaisa Lehtonen
  • Mel Hauschildt
  • Will Clarke
  • Jesse Thomas
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