Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Musher Central

If you like dogsled race data, or are a mushing trivia fan, you'll enjoy the website, "Musher Central," quite a bit.  They've consolidated a lot of data about a few of the major distance races, in one place, and have aggregated some of it to provide interesting overviews.  For example, if you go to the summary page on our favorite race, the Yukon Quest, you'll find not just the most wins and most top-ten finishes, but also most starts without a win, most scratches, and other fun information.  There are summaries for individual runnings of the race, and summary pages for individual mushers.

There are really only two drawbacks.  One is that the site is kind of ugly (friends don't let friends use Javascript unless they're trained professionals working together with someone who's got a clue about user interfaces) and doesn't provide a way to link to individual race runnings (see previous comment about friends and Javascript).  The other is that the data are a little incomplete and occasionally surprising (for example, he's got data for the Minto race but not the Copper Basin, and nothing at all for the Kusko or Tustumena or a few other major races), and most of the races only have data for last year.  But it's a hard slog to put this kind of thing together and Jeff deserves both kudos and support for putting up this website.  I hope he's able to find the resources to continue to build his database, go further back on the races he's already got, and include more races.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing about the site.
    There are a couple ways you can link to individual race runnings:
    1) by clicking the year button on the race's summary page
    2) you can click the race's name in the summary table for a musher
    3) you can type the link manually in this format:

    If you are talking about checkpoint data for each musher in a specific race, we do not have that capability. The only race we may do that for is the Iditarod, and that is after we can track down electronic data for a wider range of races.

    As for the completeness, we have complete records for three races: Iditarod, Yukon Quest, Sheep Mountain 150. Yeah, that is very incomplete, but those races have nicely formatted data easily accessible on there websites.

    I want more, and anyone interested in mushing stats wants more, so feel free to send links or tables of race data for your favorite race. I'd be happy to include.

    Thanks again for the review.