CoachCox

Ironman Texas 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

The North American Ironman Championship took place in Texas a few days ago now. So this is a late analysis, largely thanks to some apparent changes in tracker data forcing me to update my code. The results are in though and with the added benefit of more precise DNS numbers. Ironman Texas moved to an earlier date in the calendar this year and the result was better conditions for racing. A championship race with extra age group slots inevitably brings some competition and the race for top spots was certainly fast.

Before I work through the usual set of charts and tables, a couple of notes. Firstly, I’ve excluded the 2016 results from this analysis as the bike course was significantly shortened last year which skews the data. Secondly, as mentioned the delay in analysis is a result in apparent changes to the tracker for this event. The overall impact is small, but DNS and DNF numbers are taken directly from the tracker which also influences my calculations for Kona slot allocations (in theory making them more accurate).

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Texas 2017 Compared with 2011-2015

The earlier race date was expected to bring better racing conditions and this certainly looks to be the case. Comparing the results with previous years (barring 2016) and while the bike is slightly faster it’s the run where we see the biggest change. There’s still a wide spread to this years histograms and a definite weight in the rear half of both the bike and run graphs.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Texas
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2011 2658 2157 18.8% 2119 1.8% 2004 5.4% 24.6%
2012 2755 2270 17.6% 2177 4.1% 2022 7.1% 26.6%
2013 2814 2408 14.4% 2268 5.8% 2052 9.5% 27%
2014 2434 2393 1.7% 2322 3% 2203 5.1% 9.4%
2015 2588 2532 2.2% 2450 3.2% 2239 8.6% 13.5%
2016 3031 2334 23% 2288 2% 2213 3.3% 27%
2017 2346 2346 0% 2275 3% 2205 3.1% 6%

I always make note of the difficulty of separating DNS and DNF numbers when the tracker doesn’t clearly label them nor indicate how many signed up for the race compared with how many turned up. In this instance DNS was clearly labelled and could be excluded from the calculations for 2017. It appears everyone completed the swim and bike and run DNF numbers fall comfortably towards the lower end of the scale too.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2011-2015

Comparing median splits across age groups it’s worth noting that not every age group produced a faster race. On the bike the major shifts to medians appear in the biggest age groups, men around the 30 to 50 range. On the run the trend to faster splits this year is more universal.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Texas
Count Percentage
United States 2071 77.5
Mexico 98 3.7
Canada 72 2.7
United Kingdom 37 1.4
Colombia 25 0.9
Venezuela 22 0.8
Argentinia 21 0.8
Germany 21 0.8
Japan 20 0.7
Spain 17 0.6
Ironman Texas 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
United States 70.7 77.5
Canada 6.7 2.7
Switzerland 2.7 0.4
Panama 2.7 0.6
Czech Republic 2.7 0.2
Netherlands 2.7 0.1
Germany 1.3 0.8
Finland 1.3 0.0
Denmark 1.3 0.1
Australia 1.3 0.6
France 1.3 0.5
Russia 1.3 0.3
Colombia 1.3 0.9
Costa Rica 1.3 0.3
Brazil 1.3 0.5

Based on my Kona slot estimates qualifiers largely tally with the athlete numbers from given countries. US and Canada dominate with a number of the smaller attending countries pulling in a handful of remaining slots.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Texas
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Texas

Tracking finishing times for a variety of age groups and positions within them shows how this year’s race was faster. If you discount the 2016 times on an adjusted course then 2017 is often faster than previous years. It’s not universal and does vary with position too, a step forward rather than a leap.

Ironman Texas 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 2 8:57:50 9:34:50 10:11:51
M25-29 3 8:50:55 9:17:36 9:36:31
M30-34 6 8:30:24 8:52:34 9:11:58
M35-39 8 8:51:44 9:06:25 9:17:02
M40-44 10 8:53:19 9:13:38 9:25:17
M45-49 9 9:24:10 9:36:26 9:46:57
M50-54 6 9:11:44 9:32:09 9:49:34
M55-59 3 9:58:15 10:16:08 10:34:53
M60-64 2 10:03:23 10:07:08 10:10:54
M65-69 1 12:29:27 12:29:27 12:29:27
M70-74 1 14:20:06 14:20:06 14:20:06
M75-79 1 17:05:03 17:05:03 17:05:03
F18-24 1 11:36:57 11:36:57 11:36:57
F25-29 2 9:56:08 10:03:52 10:11:36
F30-34 3 9:39:57 9:59:10 10:11:31
F35-39 3 9:47:37 9:51:39 9:57:34
F40-44 4 10:17:27 10:23:52 10:30:32
F45-49 4 9:52:59 10:10:46 10:18:55
F50-54 2 10:47:33 10:51:39 10:55:45
F55-59 2 10:46:51 10:52:37 10:58:23
F60-64 1 14:07:59 14:07:59 14:07:59
F65-69 1 13:33:08 13:33:08 13:33:08

Based on the athlete tracker I’ve calculate the slot allocation I’d expect at Ironman Texas and based on that the automatic qualification times in the results. I can’t account for roll downs so actual times may vary. You can compare this with other races and past results on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2017
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2017

The final set of graphs look at the top twenty performances in each age group with a particular focus on Kona qualifying times. 2016 obviously comes in much faster than any other year, but discounting that 2017 is one of the fastest. In those big, male age groups it’s often the fastest year seen; in others it’s normal faster than average.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Texas 2017 on my Google Drive.

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