Kona 2012 Predictions: Running Strengths

As usual, the race will be decided on the run. Therefore, I’ve done some extended analysis on the athlete’s run performance. It will be no surprise that the athletes with the best odds (Crowie and Rinnie) are also the best runners in the field. Here is a closer look at the data on athlete’s running strengths.

Run Rating

Looking at the individual run results, I’ve come up with some rating-like assessment of athlete’s run leg during an Ironman triathlon. The following tables list the main contenders and some other athletes that might be in a good position during the race.

I’m listing three different times:

  • The average run time (across all courses)
  • The average time for a Kona run (for all Kona races, empty if no Kona race so far)
  • The Run PR (regardless of the course it was run)

Men

By all numbers, Crowie is the strongest runner in the field. It remains to be seen if Macca’s Olympic training has given him an extra edge – I’m sure that he believes he can beat Crowie on the run.

Name Avg Run Kona Run Run PR
Craig Alexander 02:45:37 02:44:52 02:38:46
Paul Matthews 02:47:24 02:47:24
Andreas Raelert 02:47:47 02:47:46 02:40:52
Marino Vanhoenacker 02:51:59 02:56:17 02:39:24
Eneko Llanos 02:51:44 02:54:08 02:43:46
Sebastian Kienle 02:52:19 02:50:17
Timo Bracht 02:52:52 02:57:54 02:43:33
Dirk Bockel 02:53:57 02:54:16 02:51:56
David Dellow 02:54:38 02:45:05
Michael Raelert 02:54:40 02:54:40
Faris Al-Sultan 02:57:04 02:59:19 02:50:38
Jordan Rapp 02:57:17 02:46:55
Chris McCormack 02:50:02 02:47:21 02:42:02
Cameron Brown 02:52:09 02:58:40 02:41:17
Daniel Fontana 03:01:56 03:04:04 02:58:23
Andy Potts 02:57:08 02:59:17 02:52:15
Rasmus Henning 02:58:40 03:03:21 02:39:43
Joe Gambles 03:00:36 03:12:56 02:54:02
Pete Jacobs 02:57:02 02:50:08 02:41:06
Luke McKenzie 03:10:58 03:13:10 02:51:38

Women

On the women’s side, the numbers show that Rinnie is by far the best runner in the field. There are a few athletes that have a better potential than the average numbers indicate – Caroline Steffen, Bek Keat and Leanda Cave come to mind.

Name Avg Run Kona Run Run PR
Mirinda Carfrae 02:56:25 02:54:11 02:52:09
Mary Beth Ellis 03:09:59 03:13:48 03:01:29
Caroline Steffen 03:19:49 03:10:32 03:01:22
Rachel Joyce 03:18:57 03:14:55 02:59:53
Sonja Tajsich 03:08:28 03:09:56 02:55:43
Amy Marsh 03:21:51 03:25:25 03:11:19
Rebekah Keat 03:11:54 03:18:22 02:55:28
Linsey Corbin 03:10:25 03:13:57 03:02:27
Leanda Cave 03:23:06 03:24:11 02:58:51
Kelly Williamson 03:08:59 03:07:18 03:03:33
Tine Deckers 03:21:13 03:27:52 03:02:31
Meredith Kessler 03:19:55 03:28:11 03:10:14
Anja Beranek 03:20:44 03:18:06
Michelle Vesterby 03:21:17 03:20:16
Amanda Stevens 03:29:50 03:32:47 03:23:41

Playing with Numbers: Standing before Run

If I take the predicted finish time (based on the ratings and the Kona course rating) and the run times (I’m using the lower of the average and Kona Run times), I can speculate on the standing before the run. Of course, this is just playing with the numbers and does not take real race dynamics into account, but I think some speculation is still interesting.

Men

In the last years it was Chris Lieto who was the front-runner coming off the bike. I’m sure that a lot of athletes would like to take that spot this year – but I don’t really see Marino as the one leading off the bike, even if that’s what the numbers say. The next spots show a pretty large group of athletes including Andreas Raelert, Jordan Rapp, Dirk Bockel, Faris Al-Sultan and Crowie. If Timo Bracht ends up in that group as well, he’ll have a great chance for a podium finish. Maybe the presence of Jordan Rapp will help him make that front group this year. I would also think that Sebastian Kienle will use his bike strength to bike into the front group, and he may even be the athlete off the front. Also, Chris McCormack will do his utmost to be in that front group, maybe even a few minutes ahead of Crowie. Maybe he can round up a few other athletes (as he did when winning in 2010) who help him trying to break Crowie …

# Name Before Run
1 Marino Vanhoenacker 05:26:33
2 Andreas Raelert 05:29:15
3 Paul Matthews 05:29:24
4 Jordan Rapp 05:29:58
5 Dirk Bockel 05:30:02
6 Faris Al-Sultan 05:30:04
7 Daniel Fontana 05:30:05
8 Craig Alexander 05:30:51
9 Timo Bracht 05:30:56
10 Sebastian Kienle 05:31:23
11 David Dellow 05:31:24
12 Eneko Llanos 05:31:28
13 Michael Raelert 05:32:22
14 Joe Gambles 05:33:38
Rasmus Henning 05:34:31
Luke McKenzie 05:35:17
Andy Potts 05:35:20
Cameron Brown 05:36:50
Chris McCormack 05:41:11
Pete Jacobs 05:50:44

Women

On the women’s side, my numbers predict Amy Marsh leading off the bike. The real story, however, will be how far back Rinnie is going to be (I have her 13 minutes behind and not even in the TOP10 after the bike) and how far ahead of her Caroline Steffen is going to be. If it’s really going to be 8 minutes, Rinnie has to come up with one of her best runs in order to win again in Kona. Also, one of the other girls should be able to come up with a run a bit better than her Run Rating – maybe Mary Beth (being a bit more rested this year), Rachel or Leanda. I think that the race will be decided after the Energy Lab – maybe we’ll have a female version of Mark Allen running down Thomas Hellriegel from 1995 (he was 13 minutes after the bike).

# Name Before Run
1 Amy Marsh 06:04:44
2 Mary Beth Ellis 06:06:16
3 Rachel Joyce 06:06:26
4 Leanda Cave 06:07:46
5 Caroline Steffen 06:09:33
6 Tine Deckers 06:14:05
7 Rebekah Keat 06:14:58
8 Michelle Vesterby 06:16:14
9 Anja Beranek 06:16:19
10 Meredith Kessler 06:16:49
11 Amanda Stevens 06:17:32
12 Mirinda Carfrae 06:17:50
Sonja Tajsich 06:18:06
Linsey Corbin 06:18:34
Kelly Williamson 06:25:04

Run Comparison Charts

The following tables show the projected time after T2, the Run Rating and the total finishing time. In a row, a positive number means that the athlete has to be ahead of the other athlete, a negative number that he can afford to be behind.

Men

RunMatrix Men

As the strongest runner in the field, Crowie can afford to give up more than two minutes to every athlete and still expect to win the race. (For example, he can be 8 minutes behind Timo Bracht after T2 and they would be even at the end of the race.)

This table also shows that if Macca or Pete Jacobs make it into T2 close to the front group, they have a good chance for a podium spot or even winning the race.

Women

Run Matrix Women

Again, it is amazing to see how better Rinnie’s Run Rating is compared to the rest of the field. Based on the numbers, she can give up more than 15 minutes to everyone! As noted earlier, this number may be a bit misleading. The rest of the field is much closer together, and a lot will ride on who’s having a good day in the Kona heat.

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