'Twas the night before BUCS: An algorithmic approach for predicting cross country performances.

'Twas the night before BUCS, when all through Gloucester
Not an athlete was drinking, not even one beer.
The spikes were stood by the door with care,
In hopes that some medals soon would be theirs.

The greatest day of the year is almost upon us: tomorrow is the British Universities (BUCS) Cross Country championships. Obviously being too excited to do any work I decided to see if it were possible to predict the results based on previous performances.

PowerOf10 provides a fantastic source of athletics data and a few Scrapy spiders later I had a large dataset to play with.

The race entry lists provided a list of names and cross referencing with PowerOf10 allowed me to obtain a complete set of historical race results. Unfortunately several names were insufficiently unique or misspelt (some universities were more prone to this mistake than others... no comment) which meant obtaining performances was impossible.

Based on analysis of every cross country race from 1st of January 2015, my algorithm predicted the following top 20 mens' team results based on a 6 to run, 4 to score system:
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