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Ironman Frankfurt: Past Performances and Kona Qualification

From one fast European Ironman to another – this weekend it’s the turn of Ironman Frankfurt, the European Championship. Being a championship means there are more points on offer to the pros and more Kona slots for the age groupers. It also means this race is big with 3,000 athletes registered to start. Competition will be stiff for the 100 Kona slots on offer in Frankfurt.

Aggregate Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Frankfurt 2003 - 2012
Distribution of Finisher Splits for Ironman Austria 2005-2012

As with previous analysis of historic race results I’ve aggregated the distribution of finishers from the years available to me in the athlete tracker (2003 – 2012 with 2004 again absent). The result (top chart) is a very typical set of graphs for a fast Ironman – each discipline displaying a narrow, left skew which peaks at the faster end of the Ironman scale. For comparison I’ve included Ironman Austria’s chart which displays a near identical pattern. There is little to choose between these two races in terms of speed. For those looking to qualify I’d go with the one with the most slots.

Median Splits by Division at Ironman Frankfurt 2003-2012

Naturally the median splits are also at the faster end of the scale. If you compare with the equivalent chart for Ironman Austria they are again remarkably similar. Either race is a good choice when looking to set a personal best time too.

I can’t comment on course length as I did with Austria – for some reason few of my athletes have chosen to race in Frankfurt. My impression has been that the bike is the correct length, but involves less overall climbing than its Austrian counterpart. In speed terms it balances out and the average times are broadly comparable.

Predicted Kona Slot Allocation for Ironman Frankfurt 2013
  Number of Athletes Number of Slots
F18-24 1 1
F25-29 22 2
F30-34 58 3
F35-39 85 3
F40-44 64 3
F45-49 50 2
F50-54 26 2
F55-59 14 1
F60-64 1 1
F65-69 1 1
M18-24 38 2
M25-29 149 5
M30-34 347 10
M35-39 446 13
M40-44 580 17
M45-49 596 17
M50-54 298 9
M55-59 102 4
M60-64 31 2
M65-69 9 1
M70-74 6 1
Total 2924 100

This year Germany receives 100 Kona slots to be shared among the age groupers. My predicted Kona slots based on registration numbers are in the table above. Men in their forties dominate the table as usual making up a third of the overall field. While there are plenty of slots as the next two charts show – times are tight.

Top 20 Male Age Group Performances and Kona Qualification at Ironman Frankfurt
Top 20 Female Age Group Performances and Kona Qualification at Ironman Frankfurt

There is little dividing the top 10, or even top 20 performances in most age groups. For the men I’d be looking below 9:15 as a target, although the wealth of slots for the forties means 9:30 should deliver results. Note the variance though – in some years 9:30 would not have made the top 20 in the M40-44. Conditions will have a large impact on qualification times. As usual women will need to at least make it onto the podium to earn a place in Kona. The drop off in times is a little more rapid, but still challenging at the sharp end of the race; 10:15 seems to be a good target for the main age groups. Surprisingly, there is only one 18-24 year old woman listed – in her case finishing will be sufficient.

This year Challenge Roth proved the more popular race and none of my athletes will be racing in Frankfurt, but I know enough who will that I’ll be following closely at the weekend.

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Find out what it takes to place in your age group or to qualify for the Ironman Worlds Championships in Kona.

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