Some Age Group Data

Have you ever looked at the previous year’s USA Triathlon (USAT) rankings? I do all the time. I do this for several reasons. In the early spring, I look and see just how fast I have to go at upcoming races to try to make All-American ranking. Plus, I’ve learned to judge how difficult the course is, by the scores given for each finish time. You can look at the results and see how many people compete each year and what the completion level is at each race. Recently I have been looking at the results and noticing trends, which got me thinking. That is what I want to show today, the trends in the different events, by age group within the USAT.
In the USAT, all you have to do to be nationally ranked, is race at least three triathlons, three duathlons or two races in any other multisport discipline (aquabike, aquathlon or off-road triathlon), and you must be a current USA Triathlon annual member on November 1 of the current year. The top 10 percent of each age group earn All-American status, and are listed each year in the Spring issue of USA Triathlon Magazine. The actual rankings start at 0-15 years of age and have a breakdown of age groups after that. The rankings also go by gender, but for the purpose of this blog I will use the 35-39,40-44,45-49, 50-54 and 55-59 age groups, and only the male rankings. I will make a different post for the females of the same age groups in a different blog, due to the length of each blog. Here is the link to the stats if you would like to do some research or just take a look: http://rankings.usatriathlon.org/Rankings/NationalRankings
In the next few paragraphs and tables, I will show you what I found and tell you what I think of what I found out. In the comments, please tell me whether you agree or disagree. I would like to hear your thoughts on either the results, or the system itself.
In this paragraph, I will breakdown the stats for 2016 triathlon rankings. The 35-39 age group had 2997 athletes that completed enough triathlons to be ranked, and a total 13,054 athletes that completed at least one triathlon in 2016. The 40-44 age group had 3450 ranked athletes, this is almost 450 more than 35-39 age group, with a total 14,749 athletes completing at least one triathlon in 2016, almost a 1700 increase over the 35-39 age group. The 45-49 age group had almost as many as the previous age group, with 3337 ranked athletes and 14,593 athletes that had completed at least one triathlon in 2016. The 50-54 age group had a decrease in ranked athletes at 2687, with 11,028 athletes completing at least one triathlon, and the 55-59 age group still had a good number of athletes, but a rather large decrease from the 50-54 age group, with 1899 ranked athletes, and only 7310 athletes that completed a triathlon. You can see by looking at the races results that the 40-45 age group has the largest number of athletes at races, but how many people knew the large number of athletes who are still competing in the older age groups?
In this paragraph, I will breakdown the stats for 2016 aquabike rankings. The 35-39 age group had 11 athletes that completed enough aquabikes to be ranked, and 135 athletes that completed at least one aquabike in 2016. In the 40-44 age group, the number more than tripled, with 34 athletes completing enough aquabikes to be ranked, while 196 athletes completed at least one aquabike. The 45-49 age group had even more than the 40-44 age group. They had 41 athletes that completed enough to be ranked, and a huge increase in the number that had done at least one aquabike, with a total of 280 athletes. In the 50-54 age group, the number of ranked athletes continued to grow to 60 athletes, and 317 athletes completed at least one aquabike in 2016. Finally, the 55-59 age group had 61 athletes that were ranked in 2016, with 282 athletes that had completed at least one aquabike. So, like triathlon the number grew at the athletes aged, but unlike triathlons, the number of athletes racing kept growing at age 50. The reason for this, I think, is the removal of the run leg of the event.
In this paragraph, I will breakdown the stats for 2016 off-road triathlon rankings. The 35-39 age group had 66 athletes that were ranked, and 482 athletes that completed at least one off-road triathlon in 2016. The 40-44 age group had a 30 percent increase in ranked athletes with 90, and 521 athletes that competed at least one off-road triathlon. The 45-49 age group had a small increase of ranked athletes with 99, but only 506 athletes competed in at least one off-road triathlon. In the 50-54 age group, the number of ranked athletes decreased to 69, with a steady decrease in the number of athletes who competed in at least one off-road triathlon to 345. The 55-59 age group had 57 athletes who were ranked and 205 athletes that had completed at least one off-road triathlon. The numbers for off-road triathlon are not shocking, and one would think they would have the same bell curve or similar bell curve as triathlons.
In this paragraph, I will breakdown the stats for 2016 duathlon rankings. The 35-39 age group had 152 ranked athletes, and 1040 athletes that completed at least one duathlon in 2016. The 40-44 age group had 186 ranked athletes, and 1201 athletes that completed at least one duathlon. The 45-49 age group had small increase in ranked athletes with 195, and 1239 athletes that had completed at least one duathlon. The 50-54 age group had yet another increase to 223 athletes that were ranked, but a decrease in the number of athletes that completed at least one duathlon to 1078. The 55-59 age group had a decrease of about 15 percent, having only 188 athletes that were ranked, and a decrease of almost 300 athletes who had completed only one duathlon to 783 athletes. The 45-49 age group had the largest number of athletes that completed at least one duathlon, with a 37% decrease in the 55-59 age group, while in triathlon there was a 51% decrease among the same age groups. So, maybe it is not the run leg. Maybe it is due to the events being shorter, which makes it easier to continue competing as the athlete gets older. The larger decrease in the number of triathletes might actually be caused by the large number of men in their 40s being one and done with the Ironman, because it was on their bucket list. This makes me want to dig deeper and analyze the data even further.
In this paragraph, I will breakdown the stats for 2016 aquathlon rankings. The 35-39 age group had 12 athletes that were ranked, and 73 athletes that completed at least one aquathlon in 2016. The 40-44 age group had 12 athletes that were ranked, and had an increase in athletes that completed at least one aquathlon to 99. The 45-49 age group decreased to 8 athletes that were ranked, with 96 athletes that completed at least one aquathlon. The 50-54 age group had the number of ranked athletes increased to 11 ranked athletes, but a decrease in athletes that completed at least one aquathlon to 82 athletes. The 55-59 age group also saw an increase to 14 ranked athletes, and a decrease in athletes completing at least one aquathlon, to 60 athletes. These numbers are all over the place and do not follow any of the others. The aquathlon numbers go up and down, then back up again. I will most definitely have to look deeper into this in the near future.
I really enjoy data, but usually when you just jump in to look for something, you end up with more questions. I think at a quick glance, I saw what I thought I would see, that aquabike results were far different than that of triathlon. What I will have to do in the future is pull the data from past five years and make sure this is a trend and not one-time result.
What are your thoughts on the data I have posted?

 

35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 55-59
Triathlon Ranked 2997 3450 3337 2687 1899
Not Ranked 13,054 14,749 14,593 11,028 7310
Aquabike Ranked 11 34 41 60 61
Not Ranked 135 196 280 317 282
Off-Road Triathlon Ranked 66 90 99 69 57
Not Ranked 482 521 506 345 205
Duathlon Ranked 152 186 195 223 188
Not Ranked 1040 1201 1239 1078 783
Aquathon Ranked 12 12 8 11 14
Not Ranked 73 99 96 82 60
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s