In October 2012 I decided to make a copy of the Ironman World Championship results and take a closer look. About a month later I’d fetched results for every Ironman that year and started to look for patterns. By early 2013 I’d outgrown the spreadsheets and made the move to a dedicated database. I started to preview and analyse the results of Ironman races throughout the season. Since then things have grown: my database holds over 1,000 races, 800,000 athletes and over 2.2 million rows of results.
While the system has adapted and expanded behind the scenes, front-facing content hasn’t changed that much. A few tweaks to tables and charts, occassionally some more data, but primarily I present a static snapshot of the information I hold. I’ve wanted to move to a more dynamic system for a few years, but an assortment of things have got in the way. Until now.
Every result in my database is available. You can sort and filter each race’s results. You can look at the race histories of individual athletes. You can do it all without the lag of the current Ironman site! It’s not quite the fully dynamic statistics I’m aiming for, but it’s a start.
Ironman Results & Statistics
What’s available today is version 1.0. It’s the most basic version of the system I’m building, providing access to the raw results data, with limited additional functionality.
Here’s what’s available:
On the main index page you can choose between Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races and then browse an alphabetical list of all the races I hold data on. Clicking on a race opens up the option to view results from specific years, or to view a summary page.
In many respects the race summary page is the least developed. At launch it provides links to a race’s results and also to all the articles I’ve written about that race over the last 8 years. In the future this page will also carry details on average times and Kona qualification for the race.
Individual race results pages present a scrollable list of all the results for that year’s race. You can sort the table by any of the displayed columns using the arrows in each header. You can also filter the results on gender, age group and country – allowing you to see performances within these categories. Alongside that, for Kona qualifying races, I’ve highlighted the automatic qualifying times (those placings that are within the slot allocation) in blue.
If you click on an athlete’s name you get taken to a page showing their results history. All identified results for that athlete are displayed here from most recent through to oldest. This is based on the IDs Ironman’s data contains and there are limitations. My results page, for example, only includes a small set of results, I’ve multiple IDs with the rest. More recent accounts don’t seem to experience this issue as much though.
At this stage it’s all pretty simple and perhaps the main thing I’m offering is a faster browsing experience of results than Ironman and the option to view athlete race histories.
Getting these basics online was about proving it could be done and more specifically that I could do it. It’s well over a decade since I was a professional developer and my skills are rusty. Good for hacking together scripts to analyse a large dataset on my laptop, not so sharp for putting that dataset in a live environment. Now I’ve got the first step out the way and I’m feeling more confident in what I can achieve, I have plans.
At some point in the future you should see:
- Kona Slot Information: calculations of allocations and from that the average times for each race. Much like I currently provide in results analysis and on my qualification page.
- Ironman 70.3 World Championship Slots: highlighted in Ironman 70.3 results and the same summary information as offered for Ironman.
- Race Demographics: general statistics and summaries for each race so you can compare fields.
- Search Results: find athletes within a set of results rather than having to scroll and filter to find them.
- Age Group Summary pages: view age group specific statistics to help determine the races that might best suit you. Similar to the PDFs on my qualification page.
- Graphs and Charts: the distributions, medians, historical performances and top 20 age groupers dynamically charted for each race.
- Find an Athlete: search for athletes across every race.
- Race Comparison: put the results from two races side-by-side.
- An App!
I’m making no promises on the timeline. This is very much dependent on my having the time to work on development. COVID-19 lockdown has certainly helped with that, but as I work through the list the targets become more challenging. The dream of an app version will mean learning new skills not directly related to my paying job coaching athletes. That is ultimately the priority.
So, I’ll finish by discussing money. I’ve always provided my information for free and fully intend to continue doing so. I’ve no desire for a paywall here. Primarily I do this for my own interest and enjoyment. A secondary benefit has been that solid traffic has helped to expose my coaching pages occassionally leading to new connections. I’ve had lowkey links to support the statistics in place for a few years, but never pushed. Basically, return on investment is minimal.
Which is fine. It’s not going to stop me working on this, but I would like to see the work start to generate a little more revenue.
I’ve decided to experiment with ad placements: as you browse the Ironman results you’ll notice an ugly Leaderboard ad at the top of each page. No one likes web advertising, but it seems a relatively unobtrusive way to monetise these pages. I also offer bespoke consultancy on the statistics, particularly aimed at those who want help choosing a Kona qualifier. I’ve been developing new tools and reports that help pick out more individual data for an athlete.
If you’re making use of the statistics and appreciate the work I’ve put in, you can continue to support the statistics. In fact I’ll make it easy with the support buttons below (payments via Paypal):
In the meantime, please browse some race results.