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IM Hawaii 2011 – Analyzing Results

What an amazing race! I guess everyone interested in the Kona results has heard of Crowie’s and Chrissie’s great wins by now – so I’ll keep my regular look at race results pretty short.

Race Conditions

The conditions in Hawaii were the best that I have seen in the last years (my data goes back to 2005). The race adjustment was calculated at 2:09, resulting in a new course rating of –0:25.

Male Results

The common wisdom was that a fast race would not be good for Crowie who usually finishes in about 8:15. This might have been correct for the Crowie we had seen in the last years, but this year he hit one out of the park:

Rank Name Nation Actual Time Expected Time
1 Craig Alexander AUS 08:03:56 08:19:51
2 Pete Jacobs AUS 08:09:11 08:39:47
3 Andreas Raelert GER 08:11:07 08:11:58
4 Dirk Bockel LUX 08:12:58 08:28:23
5 Timo Bracht GER 08:20:12 08:22:34
6 Mike Aigroz SWI 08:21:07 08:49:53
7 Raynard Tissink SAF 08:22:15 08:33:27
8 Andi Boecherer GER 08:23:19 08:44:15
9 Luke McKenzie AUS 08:25:42 08:42:27
10 Faris Al-Sultan GER 08:27:18 08:25:04
11 Tom Lowe GBR 08:29:02 08:28:46
12 Daniel Fontana ITA 08:31:20 08:33:12
13 Marko Albert EST 08:35:18 08:31:47
14 Rasmus Henning DNK 08:35:53 08:23:16
15 Cyril Viennot FRA 08:37:00 08:44:12
16 Courtney Ogden AUS 08:38:11 08:44:54
17 Andy Potts USA 08:38:36 08:29:45
18 Michael Goehner GER 08:39:38 08:34:09
19 Jozsef Major HUN 08:39:52 08:47:28
20 Joe Gambles AUS 08:40:40 08:38:41
21 Michael Lovato USA 08:42:39 08:46:51
22 Maik Twelsiek GER 08:43:03 08:36:52
23 Matthew Russell USA 08:43:51 09:16:35
24 Ian Mikelson USA 08:48:40 09:09:31
25 Jan Raphael GER 08:48:44 08:35:40
26 Mike Schifferle SWI 08:49:01 09:11:42
27 Matty Reed USA 08:50:00 08:42:57
28 Axel Zeebroek BEL 08:58:13 08:44:29
29 Chris Lieto USA 09:10:26 08:44:02
30 Petr Vabrousek CZE 09:13:42 08:55:47
31 Georg Potrebitsch GER 09:15:08 08:31:03
32 Balazs Csoke HUN 09:16:44 09:04:07
33 Sergio Marques PRT 09:18:26 09:02:45
34 Hiroyuki Nishiuchi JPN 09:26:42 09:24:52
35 Mike Neill CAN 09:34:46 09:01:51

I find it very interesting that most of the TOP 11 (with the exceptions of Andreas Raelert and Faris) raced faster than expected (even considering the good race conditions), sometimes even by quite a large margin:

  • Crowie by 16 minutes
  • Pete Jacobs by 30 minutes
  • Dirk Bockel  by 16 minutes
  • Mike Aigroz by 28 minutes
  • Raynard Tissink by 11 minutes (even coming into the race with a recent virus infection)
  • Andi Boecherer by 21 minutes
  • Luke McKenzie by 17 minutes

These are also the names of the people who will probably think that they had a great race. Others were closer to their expected times (Andreas Raelert, Timo Bracht, Faris, Tom Lowe) were probably hoping for a little bit better results, even if they managed to finish in the top spots.

This goes to show that you can’t have a "ho-hum race” and still expect to finish in the TOP 10 for IM Hawaii.

Female Results

There is a similar “green color scheme” for the top spots on the women’s side. The exception is Chrissie Wellington who was few minutes slower than expected – but she still had to uncork a special performance to win the race after the beating she took from a bike accident just 10 days before the race.

Rank Name Nation Actual Time Expected Time
1 Chrissie Wellington GBR 08:55:08 08:51:37
2 Mirinda Carfrae AUS 08:57:57 09:13:42
3 Leanda Cave GBR 09:03:29 09:40:25
4 Rachel Joyce GBR 09:06:57 09:32:31
5 Caroline Steffen SWI 09:07:32 09:31:47
6 Karin Thuerig SWI 09:15:00 09:19:18
7 Sonja Tajsich GER 09:15:17 09:28:32
8 Heather Wurtele CAN 09:17:56 09:29:40
9 Caitlin Snow USA 09:18:11 09:40:42
10 Virginia Berasategui ESP 09:19:52 09:40:53
11 Catriona Morrison GBR 09:22:07 09:27:56
12 Tine Deckers BEL 09:28:21 09:36:32
13 Kelly Williamson USA 09:29:08 09:34:21
14 Natascha Badmann SWI 09:31:21 09:31:35
15 Mary Beth Ellis USA 09:34:06 09:14:24
16 Linsey Corbin USA 09:39:01 09:30:29
17 Samantha Warriner NZL 09:43:25 09:27:40
18 Amanda Stevens USA 09:50:11 09:36:21
19 Joanna Lawn NZL 10:02:33 09:30:59
20 Tyler Stewart USA 10:04:15 09:36:46
21 Uli Bromme USA 10:19:09 09:56:07
22 Jackie Arendt USA 10:21:02 09:56:52
23 Silvia Felt GER 10:31:10 09:35:55
24 Heleen Bij De Vaate NLD 10:35:58 09:38:27
25 Maki Nishiuchi JPN 10:36:33 10:18:55
26 Miranda Alldritt CAN 10:38:49 10:50:49

Ironman Hawaii 2011 Predictions

The following post is an excerpt from my recently released “Kona 2011 Rating Report”. Please visit the download page when you’re interested in some more statistics around the upcoming world championship race. The Rating Report is also ideal if you’re going to watch the Kona race and want to know some more background on the racing pros.

Male Winners

Based on previous results, Andreas Raelert and Marino Vanhoenacker are the clear favorites for Kona. They’ve had great results in last year’s Kona and produced the two fastest results of all time over the Ironman distance. One could argue that Crowie should also be included in the favorites and it’s tricky to bet against a two-time-winner and with a great pre-Kona result in winning the 70.3 world championships. However, his latest results over the IM distance were not really top-notch (“only” a fourth place in Kona 2010 and – compared to this summer’s blazingly fast times by Andreas and Marino – a relatively slow win in Cour d’Alene). He is also hurt by his lack of really fast times, he just seems to produce adjusted times between 8.15 and 8.20.


  • Andreas Raelert        30% (7-3)
  • Marino Vanhoenacker    25% (3-1)

In the Mix

  • Craig Alexander        8% (11-1)
  • Eneko Llanos            8% (11-1)
  • Tim O’Donnell        7% (13-1)
  • Rasmus Henning        7% (13-1)

Long Shots

  • Michael Göhner        4% (24-1)
  • Raynard Tissink        4% (24-1)
  • Timo Bracht             3% (32-1)
  • Faris Al-Sultan        2% (49-1)

Female Winners

On the women’s side, there is only one favorite: Chrissie Wellington. The only bad “result” she has had was her DNS in Kona last year. She has won all her IM races, and set another fantastic world-record time in Roth earlier this year. Even defending champion Mirinda Carfrae doesn’t have the IM results to get statistically close to Chrissie. The probability of Chrissie winning the race is less determined by her competition, but more by her chance of not starting or finishing. It seems that the most interesting speculation in the women’s race is how far up on the men’s side Chrissie is going to finish. The chance I see for a TOP10 finish for her: less than 2%.


  • Chrissie Wellington        70% (3-7)

In the Mix

  • Mirinda Carfrae        13% (7-1)

Long Shots

  • Catriona Morrison        5% (19-1)
  • Mary Beth Ellis        5% (19-1)
  • Caroline Steffen        3% (32-1)

Male TOP 3

Even if Crowie doesn’t look too good for a win (statistically speaking), he is a solid racer and a safe bet for a TOP 3 finish. Tim O’Donnell is only racing his second IM, on a good day he may contend for a podium spot together with a number of very experienced Kona racers.

Safe Bets

  • Marino Vanhoenacker     53%
  • Andreas Raelert         48%
  • Craig Alexander         42%

Knocking on the door

  • Timothy O’Donnell        30%
  • Eneko Llanos            22%
  • Timo Bracht            17%
  • Raynard Tissink        15%
  • Faris Al-Sultan        14%

Outside Chances

  • Rasmus Henning        10%
  • Andreas Boecherer        9%
  • Chris Lieto            9%
  • Michael Goehner        7%
  • Luke Bell             6%
  • Ronnie Schildknecht        4%

Female TOP 3

Mary Beth Ellis joins Chrissie and Rinnie as my podium picks. It remains to be seen whether she has properly recovered from her qualifying races. If she falters, there is an interesting mix of experienced and newer IM racers to grab one of the top spots.

Safe Bets

  • Chrissie Wellington        78%
  • Mirinda Carfrae        43%
  • Mary Beth Ellis        35%

Knocking on the door

  • Caroline Steffen        25%
  • Catriona Morrison        24%
  • Julie Dibens            19%
  • Karin Thuerig        16%

Outside Chances

  • Virginia Berasategui        10%
  • Kelly Williamson        9%
  • Yvonne Van Vlerken        8%
  • Sonja Tajsich            6%
  • Rachel Joyce            5%
  • Heather Wurtele        5%

Some Background

As this is the first time I’m publishing the odds for a race, I’d like to add a little background to how I arrived at these numbers:

  • Newer results are more heavily favored over older ones than in the ratings (aging factor of 0.55 instead of 0.8 per year).
  • Kona results are favored over other courses’ by a factor of 3.
  • The more results an athlete has, the smaller the chance of a DNF or “off race”.

At the start of developing my prediction model, Crowie was given hardly a chance of winning, so I added

  • Winning a race gives you an extra bonus (the adjusted time is reduced by 1%).

Of course, all this analysis can only take previous results into account. Factors such as recent results in shorter races (for example the 70.3 world championship), injuries or the impact of a focused Kona prep vs. lots of races are hard to gauge and aren’t part of my prediction model.

Kona 2011 Rating Report is ready for download!

The Kona 2011 Rating Report focuses on

  • the Kona pro field (men and women),
  • my predictions for Kona 2011,
  • a look at the 2010 Kona results, the KPR standings and qualifying races and also
  • the previous results of the Kona participants.

This is the ideal information to have when following the Ironman Kona coverage! If you haven’t already, please join our mailing list to be notified when new reports become available (just use the form in the sidebar on the right).

Download the Report here.

Feel free to share with others interested in a statistical look at the upcoming race.

Here’s what John Newsom from the IMTalk podcast says about it:

Thorsten provides us with up to date, succinct information on the top pro athletes. No longer do we need to spend precious time searching through pages of results for athlete information for those we know little about and likewise we have a quick reference tool for the top pro’s as well. The additional statistical analysis of results allows us to remove hype and bias and factoring in strength of fields, toughness of courses and other factors to find out who the real fastest athletes in the world are at any given time.

Interested in my 2011 Pre-Kona Rating Report?

I’m currently working on a Rating Report that looks at some of the data I’ve collected and analyzed during this year. The report will focus on

  • the Kona pro field (men and women),
  • the previous results of the Kona participants and
  • my predictions for Kona 2011.

I think that it is going to be a 10-page-plus PDF that will be the ideal information to have when following the Kona coverage. There is a form in the sidebar where you can leave your name and email and I will send the report to you as soon as its done. (You can also send me an email with your email address.) Of course I won’t spam you, but will send out some interesting statistical data.

Update: The report is now available – more info in this post.

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