How can a paddle race with 100 people have 3361 divisions? Let’s do the math

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This mathematical exercise is based on a comment that suggested we as a sport adopt standard marathon age groups and recognize every division in each race

We are going to take the Myrtle Beach Marathon which had 1805 participants in the full marathon as our model for age groups. We are also adding an inflatable division as many races attractive travelers have done. We are including SUP, OC, Surfski and Prone, but not other crafts like Kayak, Ocean Kayak, Canoe, bellyboard, etc.

Age Groups (14)

  • All Ages
  • 19 and under
  • 20-24
  • 25-29
  • 30-34
  • 35-39
  • 40-44
  • 45-49
  • 50-54
  • 55-59
  • 60-64
  • 65-69
  • 70-74
  • 75+

 Gender (2)

  • Male
  • Female

SUP Board Classes (5)

  • Surf style
  • 12’6″
  • 14″
  • Inflatable
  • Unlimited

Prone Board Classes (3)

  • Stock (12)
  • 14′
  • Unlimited

Surfski Classes (2)

  • Single
  • Double

OC Classes (2)

  • OC-1
  • OC-2

Courses (2)

  • Short Course

Adaptive Athletes

The Math: 14 x 2 x 5 x 3 x 2 x 2 x 2+ 1=3361

3361 potential divisions in a race with 100 people.

Multiply this by first second and third and you get 10,083 pre-made trophies.

Here’s the thing. There are major groups. Let’s say we only recognize SUP and only 3 age groups (under 17, 18-59, 60+). We will also exclude unlimited or inflatable.

Gender (2) x Age Groups (3) x Race Courses (2) x Craft Type (3) + Adaptive athletes (4) x places (1st, 2nd, 3rd) =120 trophies. This is what most races are set up to do.

The message: Don’t expect every division, age group and craft to be covered. It’s mathematically and economically impossible. If you are not in the elite race, paddle for the challenge, the personal accomplishment, the competition in an overall sense and as a meetup to see your friends and future friends.