I cannot believe how many hours I have spent today just to produce a small handful of graphs! Admittedly, my knowledge of Excel is not a patch on Mick’s, so I did go around the houses rather a lot to get to the right answers*.
Working from a question posed by Alan Sloman, I started out by looking at what age participants were on their first challenge. What I learnt was that the youngest first-timer was 17, the oldest were 77 and the most common age for a first timer is 45. Here is the data shown graphically:
I then realised that, as interesting as that was, it didn’t actually answer Alan’s question. So, after significant amounts of head-scratching and formula writing (involving a little bit of Googling), I came up with this one, showing the average age of the first timers for each year of the event:
Quite a few ages are missing from the early Challenges, particularly the first one. These averages are based just on those participants whose ages are known. 1980 is the only year which may be significantly skewed by the missing data as 42% of ages are missing.
I confess that I went around the houses a bit to come up with the data behind that graph, and in doing so I noticed what appeared to be an error, as my information was telling me that there was only one first timer in 1989. So convinced was I that something had gone awry that I went back to the original source data (in the form Word document files) and did a bit of searching. Sure enough, there was only one first timer on the 10th running of the event.
All of that work led me to look at the number of first timers for each year of the event:
All very interesting, but of limited value without also knowing the total number of participants, hence here’s the Number of First Timers plotted against the Total Participants for each year:
Which shows that in 1989 there was one first timer out of 218 participants. Curious, but I’m sure someone can explain why that came to be.
I would have left my day’s work at that point, and taken myself and a nice cup of tea to sit with my feet up in front of the telly for a nice relaxing evening, except that in talking to Mick this evening he asked why I hadn’t looked at the percentage of first timers each year and once the idea was in my head I felt that it would be an unforgivable omission if I didn’t produce that graph too. Here it is (bit cluttered, mind!):
I hope that answers your question, Alan.
Sorry I couldn’t answer your question Mike Knipe, nor meet your deadline(!) … as interesting as it would be, that information isn’t available.
(* I did spend the best part of two hours manually gathering data from each of the 2920 entries on the spreadsheet, before I managed to get hold of Mick to ask him what function it was that I needed to automate the process. I then redid my best-part-of-two-hours of work, plus finished the job, in about five seconds flat!)
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