The problem with the Monster TGO Challenge Data Spread Sheet is that it’s all too easy to pick up one particular piece of information, thinking ‘I wonder what…’ and then getting sucked down a rabbit hole in examining the stats related to that piece of information.
A question asked by Alan Sloman on my last post (as to whether I had considered only the First Timers who had finished the event, thus discounting Retirees (you’ll have to go to the comments on Part 3 to see the answer to that one!)) made me realise that I had forgotten to deal with the ‘Did Not Start’ (DNS*) First Timers, which in turn meant that my first cut of Part 3 was skewed. I’ve now put that right, but in the process I got sucked down a rabbit hole, starting with ‘how many DNSs never came back’ and going on from there.
‘Did Not Start’, as the name suggests, occurs where someone was on the list of Participants, but didn’t make it to the start line. Nowadays, with the standby list, people tend to pull out officially rather than simply not arriving at the start line and, although there must be scope for DNSs (sudden day-before-the-start accidents or emergencies), either they are not recorded or one hasn’t occurred for years, as the last DNS recorded was in 1997**. As the system has changed, the DNSs are of little statistical value, but, even so, let me share what I found.
The first recorded First Timer DNS was in 1982; the last was in 1995 (note that I’ve only looked at First Timer DNSs, not at people who DNSd on their second or subsequent Challenge). Over the period 1982 to 1995 there were 1330 First Timers listed, of whom 24 did not make it to the start line. A very small percentage really:
Not a very interesting statistic by itself, is it? It becomes more interesting when you start to look at what happened to that 1.8% in subsequent years:
When I say ‘Didn’t Enter Again’ what I mean is they didn’t appear on the list again. If we were to be pedantic, I concede that it is possible they entered then withdrew before the start.
So, only 5 out of the 24 First Timer DNSs ever entered the event again. What happened to those 5 people next?
Incredibly, of those five, every single one of them did start a subsequent Challenge and every single one of them retired from a subsequent Challenge. Let me repeat that: 100% of First Timer DNSs who came back for a later event have retired on at least one Challenge. Of course, some of those five returning First Time DNSs entered more than one subsequent Challenge, and not only did every one of them retire from at least one Challenge, but 40% of them DNSd for a second time.
Some were successful on subsequent Challenges, but no-one who DNSd on their first entry managed successfully to complete more than two Challenges:
The ‘never completed’ includes both DNS and Retired.
And now, having spent/lost another morning playing with data (so much more interesting than work!) I really must go and do a little housework and then take myself out for a little yomp through some of the local mud.
(*Please forgive me for having treated ‘DNS’ as both a noun and a verb!
**Whilst looking at when the last DNS occurred, I noticed that one of the 1997 DNSs was on the list for 9 Challenges in the 1990s and didn’t even make it to the start line on 6 of them. He completed two and retired on one. Two completions in 9 consecutive entries – I wonder if that’s a record? Hmmm, there’s another rabbit hole down which I could so easily fall …)
Click to go to other Parts of this series of posts: