I totally didn't expect this at all! I am truly humbled. The gift may not be much and personally, I think it's great marketing to get people to do more of their events. But it's a nice encouragement to know that I'm heading in the right direction in this triathlon world. And hey, how often does Ironman give out things for free, right?
Here's the ranking system explained straight from the Ironman website.
New in 2013, The Age Group Ranking System (AGR) recognizes the best age group athletes in the world at IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races.
The new AGR system builds on the pilot program started in Europe in 2012. This year the global AGR will score IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 races, but will not include 5150 Triathlon Series events.Some important notes about the 2013 AGR:
→The AGR in no way replaces the current qualification system for the IRONMAN World Championship or IRONMAN World Championship 70.3.
→The world champion for both IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 is determined at the world championship events. The top-ranked AGR athlete may not also be the world champion.
→Athletes are encouraged to double check the rankings to ensure all their results are listed. If an athlete’s name or other information is listed differently in two different races, the system might not match their race performances accurately. Any discrepancies should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may race as much as you’d like in 2013, but only the top three (3) race performances are scored. You can improve your ranking by improving on your race performance. (For example, if you have a strong performance in one IRONMAN race and two good performances in IRONMAN 70.3 events, you may choose to race another IRONMAN 70.3, improve your finish time and improve your rank.)
The AGR recognizes age group athletes in three different categories: IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3 and a combination of both race distances. The AGR is not connected to KPR (Kona Points Ranking) in any way.
The AGR allows IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 athletes the opportunity to see how their race performances compare to competitors in their age group throughout the calendar year. Rankings will be updated weekly.
I am ranked 520th out of 13,531 in my age group worldwide. And because I only did two Ironman branded races for 2013 - Ironman Canada and Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, I missed out on points for the 3rd race. The GOLD positions (top 1%) went up to 136th. For 2014, it would be tough as I only have one Ironman event, being Ironman Malaysia. But we'll see how it goes.
More info on this Age Group Ranking system here.