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]

Thursday, 10 January 2013

TGO Challenge Analysis (Part 6–How Solo Females Fare)

I was going to put the Monster Spread Sheet away after Part 5 of this series, except that someone who I used to like Winking smile was mischievous enough to say that she would be interested to know how solo females fare, in the full knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to resist just sneaking a little peek at the relevant data.

After a few instability issues with Excel, and the resultant loss of more than one lot of work (really must save more often!), I’m finally there.

Before we get onto my interpretation of what might be meant by ‘how solo females fare’, it’s probably first worth looking at, in absolute numbers, how many people go solo each year compared to the total number of Challengers:image

The first question that sprang into my mind on the question in hand was what has been the male/female split of soloists over the whole history of the event. It turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, that men have dominated the solo category:

image

The unknowns account for such a small number that the space couldn’t be found to colour it in green, per the key, but I threw them in there purely to help the numbers add up. Needn’t have bothered really as there’s still a rounding error!

Having established how much in the minority solo females have been over the course of the event, the next question that popped into my mind was whether they’ve been increasing over the years, and the answer is that yes they have. Here’s the same male/female split, but on a year by year basis (and where the curves aren’t quite mirroring each other it’s because of the ‘unknowns’, who I didn’t bother to plot):

image

Whilst the proportion of soloists who are female has been increasing, the next question that came to mind was whether the popularity of soloism has also been increasing amongst females – i.e. has the number of female soloists, as a percentage of all females, increased? It has, and for completeness I’ve looked at the same information for men too:

imageProbably best to ignore the first year, as the high percentage was caused by the fact that only four women took part in the event, one of whom went solo (clarified just in case you needed help in working out 25% of 4…). In 2012 the numbers were somewhat increased, with 27 women out of 71 being solo.

All very well as background, but it doesn’t tell us much about how those girlies fare, does it? The only information we have to try to answer that question relates to retirements and One-Timers. What I found here is that solo women are more likely to retire during the event than solo men:

image

The data over the whole course of the event shows that in total 13% of solo women have retired but only 11% of solo men. That one surprised me. I really did think that, at worst, it would be even, considering that in Part 2 it was shown that, overall, women are notably less likely than men to retire.

That only left one bit of information to look at: which gender is more likely to call it a day after just one challenge and never return? At a glance, the answer looks obvious: that it’s the women who are more likely to find better things to do for two weeks in May. However, when you consider that some of those bigger spikes occur when only 2 or 4 women went solo, you start to realise that things may not be quite as simple as they seem – plus there are all of those years where no solo women, but some solo men, were put off. Overall it’s a pretty close run thing, with 9% of solo women and 10% of solo men not returning after their first event – a pretty low number compared with the nearly-50% of all First Timers who become One Timers (as shown in Part 5)

image

So, there we go. Does that answer your question Louise?

Now, please everyone, no more irresistible data-related questions until at least the middle of next week!

(I confess that the numbers used in this post may not all be entirely accurate. On the original data a person’s status is shown as ‘S’ for Solo, ‘P’ for Partnership, ‘T’ for Trio, ‘F’ for Foursome or ‘R’ for Retired. So, it’s possible to see for definite where someone has been a solo participant, but where a person retired the basis on which they entered is no longer made clear. I’ve worked on the basis that if their entry isn’t followed by a statement as to who they walked with, then they must have been solo. However, I have come across one entry where I believe that a partnering isn’t shown for a retiree (although it’s possible that the person in question entered as a soloist, but on the ground formed part of a partnership or team). That one entry leads me to wonder whether there is a lack of clarity in some of the data when it comes to the original status of retirees.)

Click to go to previous parts of this series of posts:

Part 1      Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

21 comments:

  1. Absolutely brilliant and yes, I think you answered all the questions I'd come up with, brilliant!
    I promise I won't ask anymore questions, and thank you for all your hard work.
    (Bet you enjoyed it though didn't you? ;-) )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I would have used the word 'enjoy' when Excel crashed for the second time! Other than that, it has been an interesting (and brain-stretching) exercise.

      Delete
  2. Wow!!! You have such a different brain to mine, but so glad yours is good at working out all this incredibly interesting info!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only my brain was as able as Mick's when it came to these calculations!

      Delete
  3. Speechless!.....(for a change!)- SO fascinating.....but now I'll have to go and lie down for a while!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've often felt the need for a lie down in a dark room when generating all of this info!

      Delete
  4. An Incredible set of postings, Gayle. Happy New Year and well done. I know now why you haven't joined us yet on this year's sunny walks!
    BTW, most of the 'Solo Females' I've met on the TGOC have actually been accompanied by a supporting, in the true spirit of the Challenge, entourage! No wonder they return year after year, they are rarely alone...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Happy New Year to you and Sue too. Now that the Monster Spread Sheet is firmly put away for a few days, I really must get out for a walk. Has there been sunshine? Hope it persists for the next couple of days.

      Delete
  5. A superb analysis - yet again!

    I still havn't got over the blogging that you did on last year's TGOC: I was reading your blog minutes after you had posted it!

    As a left handed male, there is just one more piece of .........................

    Perhaps not!!!

    Have you had any time to do you route, yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Route submitted, vetted and approved :-)

      Rather looking forward to going and walking it.

      Delete
    2. Well done! I'm currently still in the bar at the Plockton Hotel. Better book a room I suppose....

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry - that deleted comment was a bit garbled!

    When you have a moment...
    :-)
    I've been thinking about your graphs of average age. They show that the first timers' average age has increased by about 15 years over the history of the event, and overall averages increasing by about twenty years.
    I've been thinking about why this might be happening. You produced a really good graph showing the age of all the Challengers who had ever taken part. I was wondering how the graphs for for each Challenges would look. This could be illustrated on a 3-d graph, with the earliest at the front and the newest at the back, so we can see how the shape of the curve changes over the years.
    This would tell us how the Challenge demographic was changing.
    Up for it?
    I think that would tell us a great deal more than the simple spread of ages, which can be skewed enormously by one young/old participant.
    Go on.... I know you want to...
    Thanks in advance
    Alan
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mick had intended to do some 3D graphs for this very purpose ... and I will most definitely leave that to Mick. The ordinary ones tax my little brain enough as it is!

      Delete
    2. Mick needs to dump this work thing and concentrate on the more important aspects of life - these stats.

      Come on, dear boy!
      :-)

      Delete
    3. Mick agrees with you whole-heartedly, Alan!

      You'll be pleased to hear that even with the impediment of work during the week, he has spent some of this afternoon producing some 3D graphs that boggle my mind, but about which he has been getting quite enthusiastic.

      Delete
  8. Oh ho! Even I'm not that naughty Alan!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bet you could be, if you really put your mind to it?

      Delete
  9. Yes, but where do all these people come from? And are "southerners" (South of Nottingham!) retire more than "northerners" and what about Scots, and Khazakstanis? Huh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not asking questions in advance of the 'middle of next week' date are you Mike?

      As it goes, the best we could do would be based on 'foreign' and 'not foreign' as the historic data doesn't include location details except for overseas challengers.

      Delete