Ironman Lake Placid 2013: Full Results and Analysis

Having been away over the weekend I’m overdue with analysis of the two Ironman races that took place. So to kick things off I’ll examine the result from Ironman Lake Placid and see how it compares with previous years. Andy Potts led from the start, but won in a time 18 minutes slower than his victory the year before. The age group ranks present a different picture – without the tactics of the professional race overall finish times are largely as expected from this race.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Lake Placid 2013

Comparing the finisher splits from this year’s race with the past it’s clear that while there are differences in individual disciplines the overall results aren’t that far off. If anything despite skews towards slower swim, bike and run distributions the overall finish times appear weighted fractionally faster. The biggest difference of note comes in the swim where the distribution is clearly slower than in previous years.

Median Splits by Division at Ironman Lake Placid 2013
Median Splits by Division at Ironman Lake Placid 2002-2012

The median splits give a mixed message. For most divisions the swim times are slower although not to a level that should be considered too significant. Bike times are far more variable: women and younger men mostly slower, older men faster. The differences in median run times vary across the categories. However in the pro ranks median splits are similar or better than in previous years.

This was the second use of the SwimSmart rolling start. Lake Placid’s swim appears to have been slower than expected, while Coeur d’Alene was faster. How much the adjustment to the start influenced this, the dynamics of the bike and ultimately the run is another question. Did the rolling start reduce congestion – and hence the level of drafting – on the bike? Unfortunately without access to precise start times for all the athletes it’s impossible to analyse the impact it had on the race.

Top 20 Male Age Group Performances at Ironman Lake Placid 2013
Top 20 Female Age Group Performances at Ironman Lake Placid 2013

The front-of-pack age group is clearly faster this year. So while the distribution of results and their medians may differ, at the sharp end of the race times have improved in the majority of age groups. Generally they remain within the bounds of previous results, but to qualify your performance needed to be better than the average. Again it would be interesting to be able to examine the start times for these athletes and perhaps see if the rolling start offered them a better race.

While the front-of-pack went a little faster there appear to have been more athletes with marginally slower splits than expected. It’s hard to say whether this was due to conditions, a new kind of start or simply the diversity of athletes who’d entered. All three likely played a roll. For would be Kona qualifiers faster times were required across the board.

I’ve uploaded a spreadsheet version of the Ironman Lake Placid 2013 results and splits to Google Drive.

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  • kbliss

    Great work! Do you have the actual age-group qualifying times that were allocated spots to Kona that were filled for IM LP 2013?

  • Unfortunately and frustratingly Ironman rarely publishes specific lists of those who accept Kona slots so I don’t have those details I’m afraid. It’s hard to guess how much roll down might have taken place, generally roll down is more likely in larger age groups, but it’s unpredictable. I can attempt to work back from the start list for Kona looking to match athletes back to races they did, but even that may not guarantee finding all the qualifiers correctly. I don’t really understand why Ironman doesn’t public a list of qualifiers or note them in the results given how much interest there must be in this.

  • kbliss

    agreed. I guess the focus on time for any given event does become a bit arbitrary given different race conditions, etc. BUT… it would still be nice to have.
    I (Kevin Bliss) am attempting my first full IM at Lake Placid next Sunday — doubt I will hit the targets above, but its always nice to dream… Again, thanks for the effort here with all of the data mining.

  • No problem.

    First time, naturally you wonder about what times you’re capable of, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much – focus on doing the best you can and enjoying the day. Once you’ve down that you can obsess over the minutes and seconds and what it takes to qualify!

    You can never really predict your times, just make guesstimates based on experience. Similarly while i put up average qualifying information based on past results and numbers of slots there’s every chance a year will buck trends. So the times are interesting enough, but you race on the training you’ve done and fitness you’ve gained.

    Good luck in Lake Placid. i’ll have more stats up for it next week.