One thing I plan to do for this year is focus on the main long distance triathlon of the year – Ironman World Championships in Kona. But the race is not until October, so it’s still a bit away. Nonetheless, I will calculate the odds for winning the race and update them when new results come in. So let’s have a look at how I’m putting together the field and what predictions I come up with at this point.
Putting together the field
As the race is almost a year away, it is a bit tricky to figure out who will be starting – especially as the field is determined by the Kona Pro Ranking and most potential starters haven’t secured their spots yet. Still, most starters are pretty obvious, so it’s not too difficult to put together a field:
- TOP 10 from last year’s race
There is a pretty high probability that these athletes want to start again in 2012. As they have quite a few KPR points from the Kona race, they just have to race another IM to be eligible for a slot.
- Recent champions
Athletes that won in the last five years are guaranteed a spot as long as they validate their spot by finishing an IM. At this point, this includes Craig Alexander, Chris McCormack, Chrissie Wellington and Mirinda Carfrae.
- Top spots from the current KPR standings
The more qualifying races are run, the more athletes I will take from this group. Right now, there have been 7 of 24 races, so I fill about a quarter of the remaining spots from the current KPR standings.
- Top spots from the current TTR ratings
In order to fill the field to capacity (50 athletes for the men, 30 for the women), the rest is taken from my top ratings.
- Remove athletes that will probably not start
There are some athletes that have stated that they will not be starting in Kona (Chrissie taking a year off, Macca focusing on the Olympics, Julie Dibens who can only race one IM per year for health reasons, Karin Thürig who ended her career) or that are not eligible to race (Michael Weiss serving a doping ban).
This way, the best athletes (i.e. those that have a reasonable chance to win the race) are included in the field.
Here’s a look at the winning odds for the men’s race:
Athlete Dec 2011 Craig Alexander 30% Andreas Raelert 17% Marino Vanhoenacker 15% Pete Jacobs 11% Eneko Llanos 9% Paul Amey 7%
(There were no significant changes in January, so I just have one set of odds for the men.)
At this point, Crowie is still the overall favorite for 2012. Based on his performance in Kona 2011, Pete Jacobs might be expected a bit higher up in the odds, but he’s had a few sub-par performances in the past. Eneko Llanos and Paul Amey profit from their fast races in Arizona and are the last athletes with a significant statistical chance of winning Kona. (There are a few athletes with a 1 or 2% chance, but for me they don’t even an outside side of winning.)
The female side has seen a bit of movement in January with Chrissie’s announcement of a break:
Athlete Dec 2011 Jan 2012 Chrissie Wellington 67% – Mirinda Carfrae 16% 45% Leanda Cave 6% 18% Caroline Steffen 2% 8% Mary Beth Ellis 2% 6% Catriona Morrison 2% 4% Rachel Joyce 1% 4%
(None of the athletes on this list raced in January, so the change is a result of taking Chrissie off the start list.)
In December, anyone beating against Chrissie would have been foolish. Now that she decided not to race an IM in 2012, Rinnie has taken over the role of the favorite – in fact she’s got a higher winning chance than Crowie. The other athletes’ chances also took a boost. Leanda Cave stands a bit above the other contenders (and she will do her best to keep the Kona crown in Great Britain). A few more athletes now have a decent chance of winning that were just statistical blips in December. I expected quite some movement in the female ranking based on the 2012 season. While it will be hard for anyone to take the top spot from Rinnie, I’m sure we will see a few new names as potential Kona winners.