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The USA Triathlon final rankings continue to be a popular benefit of annual membership. Rankings help athletes gauge their performance for the year against others throughout the nation, in addition to comparing their personal performance from year to year.

How does my ranking get calculated?

Our ranking system uses pace setters to determine a par time for each race. Every race has a unique par time, depending on who has competed. Because each race is unique, you may receive a higher score in one race, even if you consider your finish time in another race better. Your score is determined by a par time, which is based on the calculated times of the pace setters.

So what are pace setters?

A pace setter is any athlete who received an overall ranking in the previous year. A calculated time is determined for each pace setter. This is calculated by taking their overall score from the previous year and dividing it by 100, and then multiplying that number by their finish time for the current race, which is converted to minutes. 

Example: If John is a pace setter and he finished a race this year in 1:30:00, we can find his calculated time. If his score from last year was 95.234, we would divide it by 100 to get .95234. Then, we multiply that by his finish time, which would be 90 minutes. 90 x .95234 = 85.7106

How many pace setters are there?

It actually depends on the race and who competes. Pace setters received rankings from the previous year. Some races may have five; some may have 50!

How do I get a score for my race?

Everyone's score for the race is determined by the par time, which is the average calculated time of the pace setters.

Par time is calculated by dropping the top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of all the pace setters - only the middle 60 percent is averaged together. If there are 100 pace setters in a race, the top 20 and bottom 20 pace setters are not included, and the remaining 60 pace setters' calculated times are averaged together to equal the par time.

After the par time is calculated, the time of every participant in the race is compared against the par time. If the par time of John's race is 80 minutes, and he finished in 90 minutes, his score would be 88.888 (80 / 90 = .88888 * 100 = 88.888) 

Other keys to understanding USAT rankings

  • For triathlon rankings, your top three scores will be averaged to create your final ranking.
  • For duathlon, aquathlon or off-road triathlon rankings, your top two scores will be averaged for your final ranking.
  • Women receive a 10 percent "gender grade" in the final rankings. This grade is not included in the pace setter formula. Women pace setters are calculated using their raw score (before the 10 percent).
  • To be included in the final rankings, you must have been a member on Dec. 31 of that year. So, for 2011 rankings, you must have been a member of USA Triathlon on Dec. 31, 2011.

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