The Ironman triathlon was created in 1978 by combining events with the longest distances for races then contested in Hawaii in swimming, cycling, and running. The Half Ironman triathlon was formed using half the distances of each of the events in the Ironman. The Olympic distance triathlon was created by combining events with the longest distances for races sanctioned by the major federations for swimming, cycling, and running. The relative importance of each event in overall race outcome was not given consideration when determining the distances of each of the races in modern triathlons. Thus, there is a general belief among triathletes that the swimming portion of the standard-distance triathlons is underweighted. We present a nonlinear Bayesian model for triathlon finishing times that models time and standard deviation of time as a function of distance. We use this model to create "fair" triathlons by equating the standard deviations of the times taken to complete the swimming, cycling, and running events. Thus, in these "fair" triathlons, a one standard deviation improvement in any event has an equivalent impact on overall race time.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Statistics
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Curtis, Steven McKay, "The "Fair" Triathlon: Equating Standard Deviations Using Non-Linear Bayesian Models" (2004). Theses and Dissertations. 32.
Bayesian estimation, nonlinear model, triathlon