The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Completely Unnecessary TGOC Age, Crossings and Location Analysis

What does Mick (house-husband extraordinaire) do at home all day whilst I’m at work? This week he was multi-tasking; not only was he supervising the installation of a new heating system, but he was also playing with the limited data about TGO Challenge participants that is available from the initial set of Event Details.

Proudly, at the end of each day he showed me the fruits of his spreadsheeting labours. For those who thought that no-one is more obsessed than me with spreadsheets and graphs, let me disabuse you of that notion by sharing with you what he produced.

This first one shows that sixty-two is the most popular age at which to take part in the Challenge and that not so many 22-year-olds have the time or inclination to join in. And, yes, there is one 90-year-old on the list.


Age is across the bottom, number of participants up the side.

Reducing that down to show the same age data but by decade, we can see that there’s a representation for every decade from teens through to nineties, but that more participants are in their sixties than in any other decade of their lives.

TGOC Agegroups

Decades across the bottom, number of participants up the side

Next off he looked at how many previous crossings people had completed. Almost a third of the population are first-timers, forty have two crossings under their belts, and one has 30 crossings to his name:

TGOC Crossings Experience

Number of crossings across the bottom, number of people up the side

You’d like to think that he stopped there, but no. There’s more…

Here’s the total number of crossings for each age (why? Probably best not to ask), showing that either one 58-year-old has completed 85 crossings, that 85 fifty-eight-year-olds have completed one crossing, or something…

TGOC Crossings by age

Age across the bottom, total number of crossings up the side

What about where people are coming from? It’s the obvious next question, isn’t it?

TGOC Locations

Countries along the bottom, number of participants up the side

Enough of bar charts? Let’s have the one above represented by way of a pie chart then!

TGOC Location Pie

Are you starting to get the idea that Mick may have been a little bit lacking in interesting things to do whilst stuck in the house all day?

Last one – because there’s only so many charts and graphs you can come up with based on three pieces of information. This one is the average age by country (which is right up there with ‘Crossings vs Age’ for being statistically meaningless):

TGOC Average Age by Country

So, there you go. I’m sure that everyone who got to the bottom of this post feels thoroughly edified now.


Click to go to other Parts of this series of posts:

Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6


  1. LOL! Loving it. And I thought I was the only one, home alone all day doing pointless 'stuff'.

    No, you're quite right Mick. Spreadsheets are never pointless.

  2. Show him where the hoover and ironing board are!!

    Perhaps a copy of a cook book.

    Glad to see 60 plus is a popoular age

  3. Pretty much the only groups who consider me a youngster are Challengers and Chelsea Pensioners :-)

  4. Come on Mick... "Get a Life!"
    Are you two coming on the Xmas walk on 9 December, BTW?

  5. It seems there's a huuuge drop in numbers from the sixties decade to the seventies. This is worrying. Either The Grim Reaper reaps or thats when people realise just how futile it all really is....

  6. I thought I was being nerdy. I’ve just done a spreadsheet where I enter kilometres walked and time taken (entered in hours and minutes, which are then converted into decimal to facilitate the other calculations) which then calculates:

    Minutes per kilometre
    Kilometres converted to miles

    You may have noticed a few posts back on my blog that, I like Mole, also side stepped housework for more pleasurable pursuits recently.

  7. Glad to see that OCD is not a dying art ......

    We too have a walking spreadsheet, but not so comprehensive (worryingly thorough) as Mick's! :-)

  8. Fasinating.

    BTW what's a speadsheet?

    (I'm really just envious!)

  9. I feel that I should leap to Mick's defence. Not about his sad spreadsheeting tendencies - that is indefensible - but about the fact that he would have been doing his household chores if it wasn't for the plumber simultaneously making a mess.

    Steady on though Bob! Ironing? I'm not a big believer in ironing.

    As for those of you with walking stat spreadsheets, can any of you rival the eight pages in my workbook, six of which contain graphs...

  10. And Martin - yep, we'll be there for the Christmas walk.

  11. Quite, Quite Perfick!

    Thank you, Mick.

    And yes - I do understand the need for the Crossings/Age graph. (I make up over half the 57's crossings.)

    And the Age/Country graph is enlightening too, and will be more meaningful when a few more years are added in to the data.

    There *will* be annual updates, surely?

  12. Good, I was hoping my comment hadn't upset anyone - I was a bit stressed after spending all day working on my calories per week graph from the Garmin Gadget data!

  13. Being a foreigner I hope I can make the comment that Mick seems to be looking ahead into the future already. Seems like from the charts that England and Scotland are already seperate countries. Thought both belong to the UK up to now :-)

  14. Aghhhhhhh ....

    Mick, nooooooo!

    Leave hat to Gayle!

  15. I believe that it used to be possible to request a disc fom Roger with ALL the stats for ALL the challenges to date. Not sure if the Dawg can offer this, but it would give Mick 30 years of meaty data to chew on ;-)

  16. Phil, you must be a mind-reader. Only last night I said to Gayle, if I had data from previous years then I could produce 3D graphs. I need to get out more.

  17. I have all that data. It's bang up to 2012 figures - obviously the 2013 figurers can't be used as it has yet to be walked.

    Shall I email them over, Mick?

  18. Yes please, Alan. I've sent you my email address via a FB message. I've requested the data from John M but he may be a tad busy at the moment.

  19. This could be the the basis for a special article for the October TGO mag. Make a change from all the usual challenge stories!

  20. This is great stuff… Have replied to your req via FB Mick… hope it bears fruit as the comparison with years gone by will be fascinating.

  21. I've now got all the TGO data up to 2012 (via Alan S). I feel a database coming on.

  22. Have you seen this yet? I remember you reviewed its predecessor somewhere in your blog.

    May be I'll get round to a TGO Challenge before I'm 60 :)

  23. When you've finished tomorrows cleaning, you can start on the Pivot Tables.

  24. Lawks a mussey. My old maths teacher, Mr PG Scott (known affectionately as PiGS, would have thrown a fit at the first graph. You can not use a line graph for this type of data. It should be a bar chart, as you are not plotting the numbers of people entered who are between whole numbers of years. Using a line graph implies you could read off, for example, the numbers of people on the Challenge aged 14 and three quarters.

    Must go. I have to try to climb up my own backside.

  25. You are absolutely correct, Fellbound. Consider me suitably chastised. I will endeavour to do better next time. Enjoy your climb.

  26. Mick
    You should thank David for giving you the opportunity for further study.
    There is another graph to be found by clicking HERE

  27. Fellbound, I have just re-read my comment and it comes over as very curt. Sorry, it wasn't meant in that way.

  28. Alan, I certainly do. I've loads more data now. Also, I saw Humphrey's graph this morning. Made me giggle. I have to go off and do some househusbandly duties now but will be doing some more analysis over the weekend.

  29. I have to question the age vs no. of crossings analysis in the context of Alan's comment about accounting for half of the 57s. I think you should to take into account the age or the person at each of the previous crossings for this to have any stasistical value Moreover have you considered the age vs length of crossing vs no. of crossings vs mean temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed?

  30. Getting lots of suggestions for the next set of graphs. Tony, I was hoping for outputs such as: miles covered vs flapjacks; or height gained vs footwear type but, unfortunately that level of detail not available.

    One data set that would be useful but isn't available ( that I know of) is the start and end points for each challenger/year.

  31. Cor blimey! That must be the largest number of comments on a single post on this blog since we reached John O'Groats in 2008. Clearly I need Mick to play with graphs more often.

  32. Fellbound - I saw your comment when I was at work and it did make me laugh! PiGS would be proud of you.

    I immediately saw the correctness of what you were saying, and I'm afraid that I have to take full responsibility for using an inappropriate form of graph. Mick now tells me that he realised that this graph was not the right type, and did a bar chart instead. It was me who copied the wrong one into the post.

    As for Mick's earlier response, I am trying to teach him the art of the smilie... :-)

  33. Tony,

    Alan is right that he makes up half of the crossings for the 57-year-old challengers (assuming that he's not lying about his age...), because the graph is based on 2012 data only, and thus the graph shows the total number of crossings for each age group, at the age they are for the 2013 crossing.

    Hmmm. Not sure that I've explained that particularly well, but I know what I mean even if no-one else does.

    Anyways, if that is at all comprehensible, that's why I made the comment about that graph being statistically meaningless.

  34. Mike - I hadn't seen that stove and I have to say I'd be a bit sceptical based on my experience with the one I tried of a similar design. That said, if someone wanted to give me one for test, I'd happily test it!

    Look forward to seeing you on the Challenge sometime :-)

  35. Mick and Gayle

    I had not taken Mick's response as curt. I am the master of curt, apparently. What others believe to be my lack of empathy for the feelings of others is, to my mind, economy of words and business like common sense. So, for example, if somebody's granny has kicked the bucket she has kicked the bucket, she has not "passed on to another place". So Mick has no need to apologise for his appalling rudeness. It is clear that he suffers from a similar psychological problem to that which my lovely wife has diagnosed in me. She describes me as suffering from "Skod". I feel a blog coming on about this malady. I must get my unassuming Mont Blanc fountain pen out and get it drafted.

    In the interests of clarity and, more importantly, to avoid me from being sued, I should say that the above was a pathetic attempt at humour and that I am sort of sure that Mick is neither rude nor mentally deranged. I owe him a pint on the TGOC. And please do not tell me that his granny has just passed away....

  36. That wasn't curt!
    Our sympathies are of course with Mick, if his Gran has bucketed.

  37. Snce when, Phreerunner, has "bucket" been a verb? Now that was curt...

  38. Mick - you need to escape from all this! There's a walk tomorrow - start at the clock tower outside Altrincham Station at 10am.