The Points Explained
Thursday afternoon around noon or 1pm here in Salt Lake City the 2012 Spartan Race World Points Series came out with it’s final update of the season. The races have been run and the points calculated, reactions of excitement, confusion, anger, outrage and many more are being reverberated amongst the crowd. I have had many conversations since the points were updated as to how people ended up where.
THE POINTS SYSTEM EXPLAINED
1. Race distances were weighted. Four races counted this season in your ranking. To rank high you needed to race 4 beasts in 2012. Spartan Race held Beasts in Utah, Sacramento, Ottawa, South Carolina, Texas and of course the championship in Vermont and Ultra Beast in Vermont. Vermont (on Saturday) being the championship was weighted 200% (based off the 5000 point Super). The Championship Beast and Ultra Beast held the same weight (200%) thus you needed to race the Beast or Ultra Beast to be on top.
2. You had to do well in your age group. There were age bonuses at each race for top 3 in age group 10, 5, and 3 points for a Super then weighted like the other races.
3. Gender did not make a difference in your overall race result. Your race result was how you finished overall not just in your gender (explained more later).
FOR THE WOMEN:
For the men the race series was pretty evident who was going to come out on top at the end of Texas for the women it was a much harder prediction. Here is why explained through my season:
I raced 19 official times in 2012 – 9 Sprints, 5 Supers, 4 Beasts and the Ultra Beast. Four of my races counted at the end of the season My Ultra Beast finish, Texas both days and Carolinas. Each day at a race venue counted as a separate race. We threw out Utah as it was a poor result for me.
The women’s results have been one of mystery to many this season as people struggled to figure out the Spartan math. However it was always all written on the points page, if you knew how to read it. Reminds me of when I learned to read a racing form in thoroughbred horse racing.
Let’s break it down column by column and use Irene Call’s result from Saturday in Glen Rose Texas:
Irene Call is a female in the 35-39 Age Group. The first column you see indicated the race: Texas Spartan Beast Spartan Race; the second column is her finishing time: 2:41:45; the third column is her place overall in the elite heat (men and women): 46th place; the forth column in her place in her gender (female): 4th; the fifth column is her placing for her age group (age group determined by age on day of race): 1st. The final column is her points earned for that race.
To determine her points we subtract 6250 (maximum elite beast points) – 46 (overall place points) + (weighted age bonus points) = 6218 (total score). This is the system used to score races all season and led to confusion with many of the women as our placing in our gender had little effect on our overall score. We raced everyone and therefor you had to look at overall placing and age group placing and disregard for the most part how you finished in your gender. This is how some people earned more points than others without actually placing higher in their gender than another female.
How Vermont Points Worked & Why you wanted to do the Ultra Beast:
When looking at results online everyone will see the results for their beast listed. For Ultra Beasters it means we see where we were after the first lap. This does not mean that is the number we see on the side. The Beast and Ultra Beast were a first of it’s kind, two races on one day. Before the race started people had the option to race the Elite Championship Beast, the Ultra Beast (both were weighted the same in points) or you could opt to register for both races and your best result would count. Thus you had the opportunity to drop out after the first lap and still receive a finish.
Once all the racing was over all the results were put into one excel spreadsheet. All the Beast competitors from the 8:00 and 8:30 elite heats along with the first lap and overall placing in the Ultra Beast. Still following? From this one giant spreadsheet the Beast results were calculated. The Ultra Beast racers had a few additional columns which indicated where they finished in the Ultra Beast (most were better as pacing was different). The two results were compared and the racer received the better result as their points.
What this means is the Ultra Beasters had a much better chance at getting more points by finishing than the single lap Beasters did. Only 150 finished the Ultra Beast and over twice that the elite Beast heats. How this worked out for women. With less people in the Ultra Beast and women’s results lumped in with mens chances were that higher points would be able to be earned in the Ultra Beast.
At the end of the day the racers who did the Ultra Beast got the advantage and one hell of a story to tell their friends on Monday.
Reasoning for Post
I decided to write this post not to endorse or condemn the system Spartan Race used this year. To many it will still be confusing and a mystery, others might understand it a little better after this post. I attempted to put my own brain out on the page for you to understand. Basically, Spartan Race set out to do something that no one in obstacle course racing has done to date, make it a sport. A system with many flaws yes, but it is a start and was a beginning. The 2013 season has already begun and is already changing from 2012. It takes the first step in the process and is definitely as many things in life are… a work in progress.