Updated Top10 Ratings

The recent discussion on IM Talk about the Kona ranking prompted John Newsom to ask me for my Top 10 ratings. I’m not totally happy with the races that I have evaluated (most notable, Austria and Switzerland are missing which may lead to some shifting around), but I think the general TOP10 look quite stable, so I’ve decided to take the bait and publish the rankings and a little discussion. If you want to have a more detailed look at the individual race results, choose “Top 10 Ratings” from the menu or follow the link.

Male Athletes

Here is a table with “my” TOP 10 male pros:

Rank Name Rating Last Race # Races
1 Raelert, Andreas 08:19:58 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 5
2 McCormack, Chris 08:20:38 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 13
3 Alexander, Craig 08:22:44 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 5
4 Llanos, Eneko 08:27:07 IM Texas on 2011-05-21 13
5 Bracht, Timo 08:27:19 IM Lanzarote on 2011-05-21 13
6 Henning, Rasmus 08:28:21 IM Arizona on 2010-11-21 4
7 Vanhoenacker, Marino 08:29:18 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 6
8 Al-Sultan, Faris 08:31:27 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 10
9 Bockel, Dirk 08:33:29 IM Florida on 2010-11-06 4
10 Brown, Cameron 08:33:32 IM New Zealand on 2011-03-05 15

The top 3 athletes (Andreas, Macca and Crowie) stand a bit above the rest of the athletes. Between Andreas and Macca it is pretty even, but adding the results from IM Germany gave Andreas a little edge (he was just a few seconds slower than Macca in 2009, but beat him by more than 9 minutes in 2010). Statistically, Andreas is a little bit ahead, but the difference is so small that any new race could change things and I’d not really venture a guess if they actually ended up racing each other again.

After the Top 3, you have a group of very solid racers, each of which could win Hawaii without causing too much surprise. Eneko and Timo have raced quite a lot (and are the top athletes to look pretty solid for Hawaii) , Marino had to drop out of a few races lately, and Rasmus (also a lock-down for a Hawaii slot) may just have built enough experience to be in the running for a podium in Kona. Dirk Bockel is in  a similar point in his career.

Then we also have Faris Al Sultan (who is just a very solid racer, no big surprises on either side of the spectrum) and Cameron Brown (coming off another great win in New Zealand) – both of which “belong” in the Top 10, but are probably not in real contention for winning Kona.

Female Athletes

On the female side, here are my picks for the Top 10:

Rank Name Rating Last Race # Races Total Rank
1 Wellington, Chrissie 08:57:24 IM South Africa on 2011-04-10 10 81
2 Carfrae, Mirinda 09:18:38 IM New Zealand on 2011-03-05 3 179
3 Van Vlerken, Yvonne 09:22:54 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 6 211
4 Keat, Rebekah 09:30:19 Challenge Roth on 2010-07-18 9 259
5 Steffen, Caroline 09:31:08 IM Australia on 2011-05-01 6 263
6 Thuerig, Karin 09:33:25 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 3 275
7 Morrison, Catriona 09:33:38 IM Texas on 2011-05-21 4 277
8 Wallenhorst, Sandra 09:34:38 IM Germany on 2010-07-04 5 282
9 McGlone, Samantha 09:34:45 IM Hawaii on 2010-10-09 5 283
10 Marsh, Amy 09:35:27 IM Brazil on 2011-05-29 4 285

No surprises on the first two spots: Chrissie and Mirinda are just heads above all the other girls.

The rest of the Top 10 is an interesting mix between athletes still improving (Caroline Steffen, Cat Morrison, Amy Marsh), established solid racers (Yvonne Van Vlerken, Sandra Wallenhorst, Sam McGlone) and some “wildcards” – Bek Keat with great results on fast courses such as Roth, but never quite on top of her form in Kona and Karin Thuerig who can’t decide if she wants to be a cyclist or a triathlete. A very interesting mix for sure, but it seems that the top 2 spots are just out of reach for anyone not names Chrissie or Rinnie.

Comparing Thorsten’s Tri Rating to WTC’s Kona Pro Rankings

There are a few differences between the Kona Pro Rankings by WTC (used to determine the Kona qualifiers) and Thorsten’s Tri Rating:

  • TTR is time based, KPR is points based
  • KPR is limited to just one year, TTR uses all results of an athletes in a weighted fashion (i.e. old results count, but not as much as a new race)
  • KPR weights races (indeed, quite heavily so – with races such as Texas or Germany being six times more important than New Zealand or Australia), for TTR a fast time in New Zealand is as important as anywhere else (TTR tries to “normalize” results, so a fast time on a slow course results in the same adjusted time as on a fast course)
  • KPR also uses points from 70.3 races, TTR only uses Ironman-distance races (even a few non-WTC results such as Challenge Wanaka and Challenge Roth)

Of course, this leads to different TOP 10 rankings. Here’s a look at some notable Top10 athletes from the KPR that are missing from the TTR Top 10:

  • Men’s KPR leader Tim O’Donnell only has one result (so he’s not eligible for a Top10 ranking yet. His Texas result would put him right along Crowie.
  • Raynard Tissink (KPR#3) and Luke Bell (KPR#5) are rated 15th and 53rd. Luke is “hurt” by his attempts of breaking through – his results are either 8:30ish or 9:30ish.
  • Peter Vabrousek (KPR#10) is racing a million times. His results (and rating) of around 9 hours are good enough to collect a lot of points – but racing often in about the same time does not improve your rating.
  • On the women’s side we see similar issues, but the differences are not that large. Most of the athletes that are in the KPR Top 10 but not in the TTR Top 10 are ranked between 11 and 25.

All in all, I’m quite confident that the fields that you’d get from TTR and those you will get using KPR will be very similar. There is however one requirement that WTC has put up for Kona qualification that might turn out to be very interesting (at least for the men): The requirement to have at least one IM outside of Kona. Currently, only 5 of my Top10 (and only 5 of the Top 10 Kona finishers from 2010) have fulfilled that requirement, and the Top3 athletes haven’t and will probably struggle a bit (Andreas Raelert is rumored to race Challenge Roth, Macca prefers to shoot for the Olympics, and Crowie is still MIA after being sick for Australia).

6 Responses to Updated Top10 Ratings

  1. SL June 24, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    No Pete Jacobs in top 10? I think it’s an obvious mistake. Pete is ready.

    • Thorsten June 27, 2011 at 7:43 am #

      Pete Jacobs is certainly on the verge of getting a really big result (like a podium in Kona) – if he manages to overcome his recent injury (as far as I know, he ran IM Australia on a broken leg)

      I’ve got him ranked on #20 with a rating of 8:38:44 (current #10 Cam Brown is rated 8:31:45). His rating could be sowewhat better but for his 2008 IM Hawaii result of 9:56 which drags his rating down a bit. Other than that, his (adjusted) results are petty consistent in the 8:25 to 8:35 range – indicating that he will just need one more good result to get to the Top 10. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him that IM Hawaii 2011 is going to be such a result!

  2. VN July 5, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    No mention of Raynard Tissink? 5th in Kona last year, 4th in Abu Dhabi (I think) and he ‘broke’ Marino at IMSA (including a course record)…?

    • Thorsten July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

      Raynard is another athlete that is not too far off the TOP 10 – he’s rated 8:35 as #19. He’s had a great string of races lately (with adjusted results between 8:16 and 8:31), but in the “middle” of his career he posted a few not-so-good-results (9:08 in Korea 2007, 8:55 in Roth 2008, 8:45 in Wisconsin 2009 and 8:40 in Florida 2009). These races still “hurt” his overall rating a bit. If he’s racing Kona, he’ll be a solid pick for a TOP10 spot. I’m still working on the methodology for that, so please come back to this site!

  3. VN July 6, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    Thanks for the reply torsten!

    Considering the ‘season runs from 1 November (post-Kona) to 31 October (pre-Kona)

    Perhaps a form of ‘past-seasonal’ performance weighting should be applied. Form may be applicable over a 2-3 season period with diminishing value on current year ratings, i.e.
    2011/2012 predictions based on…
    2010/2011 weigthing of say 50% (rolling average applied to this year)
    2009/2010 weigthing of say 30%
    2008/2009 weighting of say 15%
    2007/2008 weighting of say 5%
    Just a suggestion, but great job on your side sofar!
    Look forward to your top 10 Kona picks later in the year…

    • Thorsten July 6, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      Vincent, I’m already doing something similar to what you suggest – I’m “aging” older performances by assigning a lower weight to them when coming up with the new rating. I’m currently working with a factor of 0.8 per year which is not quite as “aggressive” as what you suggest. So Raynard’s 2007 results (4 years ago) would only carry a weight of 0.4. I found that with lower factors (and usually only one or two races per year) the ratings will pretty much mainly reflect “the latest” result, and not be a measure of an athlete’s overall performance.
      As for Kona, I’m working in some scheme for predictions that would also allow me to assign odds. Hopefully I can find some time to flesh things out before Kona!

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