Ironman New Zealand 2014: Quick Results Analysis

It’s been a couple of weeks since Ironman New Zealand, enough time that those who raced are most likely more focussed on their next event, but in the interest of completion I’m still going to look over the results data. This will be a relatively brief analysis – graphs as normal, but I’ll keep the commentary slim. If you raced feel free to add comments about conditions on the day.

Comparison of Finisher Distributions at Ironman New Zealand 2003-2014

So starting with the top level histograms, comparing this year with previous races (I’ve only included full Ironman races in the historical results) and it would appear that 2014 was slightly slower than usual. Distributions are broader with less of a skew in all three disciplines and as a consequence also in the overall time. The top level view is clearly one of a slower race.

Median Splits by Category at Ironman New Zealand 2014
Median Splits by Category at Ironman New Zealand 2003-2013

Comparing the median times largely reiterates this point. For the most part median times were slower this year; not exclusively and not always significantly, but the overall pattern is again of a slower race. The exception we should make note of though are the pros, going against the age group trend they were generally faster in 2014; possibly the 30th anniversary drew a stronger field.

Top 20 Male Age Group Performances at Ironman New Zealand 2014
Top 20 Female Age Group Performances at Ironman New Zealand 2014

Interestingly when we look at the front-of-pack age group results they too have bucked the trend. While the overall median times and the distributions pointed towards a slower race, at the front of the field finishers were often faster than average. Again not always, but often qualification required times pushing the fastest age group results in the last 10 years.

The question is why the discrepancy between the front-of-pack and the rest of the field? Perhaps there are changes in the field – a hardcore of competitive athlete remain while there is an overall broadening of ability among entrants. Of course it could equally be that those finishing later in the day were subjected to changing conditions that made their race more challenging. From this quick look at the results alone it’s hard to say.

Late and rushed – not the best analysis of Ironman New Zealand I’ll admit. You can, as always, access a spreadsheet version of all the results and splits from Ironman new Zealand 2014 on my Google Drive. Things will pick up now and the next race on the calendar, Melbourne, should receive a little more attention. Meanwhile I’m working on new tools to analyse all the splits per discipline from this seasons result – the data is there, working out what to do with it is the question.

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  • Nadine

    Love that every time I PB at Taupo your analysis shows a slower year 🙂 Does that mean I’m getting extra fast?
    One factor that may have impacted times is the larger than normal field, 1610 starters vs the normal 1350-1400. Maybe more than usual speedy folk as there were 10 extra Kona slots on offer. It certainly made the swim a lot rougher, a number of us commented on that later, first time I’ve ever been kicked and punched for the full 3.8km swim. It also made the cycle challenging with that many people on the course, you had to sit up often to drop back from a group that had passed. Draft busters were plentiful and were doing a good job however, would be interesting to see the penalty stats. Was the windiest I’ve ever ridden Taupo, having said that it wasn’t particularly windy in the grand scheme of things but was a definite headwind on the return leg and it had strengthened by the second lap. The day was a good temp, mid to low 20’s, it did get significantly cooler once the sun went down however. I had a friend pull out as they had gotten too cold once it was dark. There was another slight change to the run course this year as well, it was still 3 loops but rather than an almost direct out and back we dropped down to run along a cobbled path by the lake, this effectively eliminated a small hill on the return leg.
    Still an awesome day in Taupo 🙂