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Adding a second course: IM Arizona

In the last week, I’ve worked to include a second course into my triathlon ratings. As I want to include races as the year progresses, I wanted to work with races that have been between IM Hawaii in October and today. As far as I know, these races were IM Arizona, IM Florida, IM Cozumel and IM Western Australia. Again, Craig Harris helped by providing race results for Arizona and Florida. For no particular reason, I chose to start with IM Arizona.

Course Ratings – Comparing Courses

The methodology I outlined previously worked well for including the second course. It was very interesting to see the adjustments for IM Arizona:

Year Adjustment # of Athletes Rating
2005 n/a 0 n/a
2006 567 15 567
2007 1052 15 810
2008 1149 14 923
2008 1289 24 1014
2009 1575 21 1126
2010 1335 23 1161

(Note: There were two races of IM Arizona in 2008 as they switched from April to November.)

The adjustment for IM Hawaii hovered around 0, the final course rating is 5. Comparing this to the course rating for
IM Arizona of 1161, it means that IM Arizona is 1156 seconds faster than IM Hawaii (almost 20 minutes – or 19m:16s to be exact).

To put this in another way: Chrissie Wellington’s blazingly fast 8:36:13 in Arizona 2010 is the statistical equivalent of an 8:54 in Kona – a bit faster than Mirinda Carfrae’s winning time of 8:58:36, but still short of her own course record in Kona. Of course, there are a lot of ifs and buts with these comparisons, but I really like to play around with the numbers without taking them too serious.

New Top10 Rated Athletes

Here are the new Top10 Athletes (based on IM Hawaii and IM Arizona):

Rank Name Rating
1 McCormack, Chris 08:17:07
2 Alexander, Craig 08:17:58
3 Raelert, Andreas 08:21:26
4 Bockel, Dirk 08:23:59
5 Tissink, Raynard 08:25:32
6 Llanos, Eneko 08:25:55
7 Al-Sultan, Faris 08:26:08
8 Vanhoenacker, Marino 08:30:22
9 Bracht, Timo 08:31:56
10 Potts, Andy 08:33:01

There are two main changes compared to the last rankings. Timo Bracht has entered the Top10 – this will be analyzed in the next section. The most obvious change, however, is that we have a new number one: Chris McCormack. Andreas Raelert has moved down from 1st to 3rd. This is a “result” of his performance in IM Arizona in 2008. Even though he won his first IM in 8:14, as this was on a fast course the adjusted result is “only” an 8:35. This “bad” result brings down his rating quite a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how his rating will change when I include IM Germany where he had two faster results.

Adjusting the  “Aging Factor”

In order to favor newer results over older results, I include an aging factor. After playing a bit more with different values, I’ve adjusted the factor to 0.85. This results in a few little shifts in the Top10, but also to a new number 9 with Timo Bracht, instead of Cameron Brown (who is now ranked #12).

Here’s a closer look at the results of these two athletes:

Name 2005 (49) 2006 (66) 2007 (261) 2008
2010 (290) AZ 2010 (1335)
Timo 9:02:33 8:30:24 8:37:52   8:28:52 8:21:00 8:07:16
Cam 8:19:36 8:25:22   8:26:17 8:34:10 8:53:41  

(The number under the races is the adjustment for this race, a number >0 meaning the race was faster.)

When I look at these results, then Timo was the faster athlete in 2006, 09 and 10. Cam’s result in 2008 is much better than Timo’s in 2007, and Cam had the better result in 2005. All in all, it seems that the “old” result of 2005 shouldn’t carry so much weight any more and Timo should be ranked in front of Cameron. This was achieved by a relatively small adjustment in the age factor.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when both athletes home races (IM New Zealand and IM Germany) are added to the ratings – both have had their most impressive results on their home turf.

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