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Ironman Vichy 2016: Results and Kona Qualification Analysis

Ironman Vichy opens up the 2017 Kona qualification season with 40 slots on offer for next year’s World Championship race. It’s a relatively new addition to the Ironman calendar, entering it’s second year under the brand. Prior to that it was a challenge event, but results from those races are kept in PDF format making them harder to extract. For this analysis I’ll compare this year’s results with those from 2015.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Vichy 2016 Compared to 2015

The Vichy course is designed to be fast (the bike is described as easy on the Ironman website) and this year that proved to be the case. Much faster than the 2015 event, which was average compared with other European races. The swim is the only component to slow in 2016 – the result of a wetsuit ban in warm conditions. After that the race speeds up and both bike and run trend ahead of 2015. I’m not aware of any significant course changes that might lead to this jump.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Vichy
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2015 1626 1443 11.3% 1395 3.3% 1182 15.3% 27.3%
2016 1837 1667 9.3% 1616 3.1% 1551 4% 15.6%

The DNF/DNS rates for this race also dropped significantly this year thanks largely to much lower DNF rates on the run. Clearly last year’s run must have been tough (hot, I assume) and this year’s race offered improved conditions.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Vichy 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Vichy 2015

The age group medians follow the pattern we’d expect – slower swim, faster bike and faster run. Changes in bike and run are large and contribute to a much faster race.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Vichy
Count Percentage
France 755 41.1
United Kingdom 331 18
Italy 121 6.6
Spain 109 5.9
Belgium 109 5.9
Germany 105 5.7
Switzerland 57 3.1
Netherlands 20 1.1
United States 19 1
Ireland 16 0.9

A broad spread of nations represented in Vichy. Less than half from France with the UK, again, taking the second spot.

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

There is an almost perfect pattern of improvements across age groups and placings comparing the two years of results. This year’s event was faster across the board, from front to back of pack.

Ironman Vichy 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 8:56:26 8:56:26 8:56:26
M25-29 3 8:53:18 8:57:16 9:03:21
M30-34 3 8:54:47 8:55:53 8:57:48
M35-39 4 8:47:24 8:56:41 9:03:46
M40-44 5 8:58:29 9:07:26 9:15:33
M45-49 4 9:02:14 9:14:06 9:21:51
M50-54 3 9:05:59 9:23:51 9:38:45
M55-59 2 9:49:37 9:50:14 9:50:52
M60-64 1 10:39:16 10:39:16 10:39:16
M65-69 1 13:06:38 13:06:38 13:06:38
M70-74 1 15:13:49 15:13:49 15:13:49
F18-24 1 10:51:11 10:51:11 10:51:11
F25-29 1 10:12:32 10:12:32 10:12:32
F30-34 1 10:27:53 10:27:53 10:27:53
F35-39 2 9:50:22 10:01:04 10:11:46
F40-44 2 10:03:29 10:09:40 10:15:52
F45-49 1 11:01:26 11:01:26 11:01:26
F50-54 1 10:52:08 10:52:08 10:52:08
F55-59 1 12:27:04 12:27:04 12:27:04
F60-64 1 13:20:50 13:20:50 13:20:50

Based on athlete tracker numbers I’ve calculated the likely slot allocation and the automatic qualification times in each age group. As with a number of races I’ve analysed recently we see some very fast times, with qualification under 9 hours for a number of male age groups. You can compare these times with other races on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Vichy 2016
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Vichy 2016

Not surprisingly we see times in the top twenties significantly improved on 2015 results. This was a much faster race for qualification (with fewer slots on offer too).

When results change this much, there isn’t much need for commentary. If the course hasn’t changed then conditions must have been much better this year and potentially we saw a more competitive field too. Clearly Ironman Vichy is a faster race then I gave it credit for in 2015.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Vichy 2016 on my Google Drive.

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