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Ironman Sweden 2014: Results and Analysis

Ironman Sweden was a Saturday race which means I can fit in some results analysis before the weekend is over. In its first 2 years Kalmar has established a reputation as a fast race, but while this year’s event was far from slow it didn’t quite match the previous races. Across most of the field split times were down.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Sweden 2014
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Sweden 2012-2013

The medians splits show most age groups came out slower on average this year with differences seen in both bike and run splits. It’s not universal, one or two age groups showed improvements in times including the women’s pro field. The forecast for race day was good so it’s my suspicion the shift in results is partly a reflection of the general depth of field. The first year at Ironman Sweden had good conditions and an incredibly strong age group field, subsequent races have not quite matched those conditions or the strength of field.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Sweden 2014 compared with 2012-2013

The distributions repeat the message: both bike and run are slower. The change is consistent; fewer of the fastest athletes, more in the midpack and a little more at the rear. Inevitably when both bike and run splits trend slower the same pattern is seen in the overall results.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Sweden 2014
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Sweden 2014

At the front of pack there is a male/female divide. In the women’s age groups the times were broadly comparable with previous results; sometimes slower, sometimes faster, but not deviating far. The same is true for men over 45, but for the younger male age groups results tended to be slower than average, but comparable with 2013’s times. The 2012 results really do stand out as exceptional with so many fast times that have yet to be repeated.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results with splits for Ironman Sweden 2014 on my Google Drive.

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Comments

  • Kell

    Do you know if the course still the same as in 2012?

  • I’ve had a look and from what I can find the bike course changed in 2013 (alteration of first lap) – so this will likely account for some slowing of the bike splits. This year the swim course and the run course were slightly altered and the swim moved to a rolling start – also likely factors. So some of the slowing is likely course modifications and I’d expect to see future races more in line with 2013/2014 results.

    That said the 2012 results had 20+ age groupers going under 9 hours on a course that, as far as I’m aware, was correct on distances. You occasionally get that sort of number in Frankfurt, but it’s not a given. So 2012 was definitely a case of fast course, fast conditions and some very fast athletes.

    Russ

  • Paul B

    I gather the bike course has been, more or less, identical all 3 years. It’s pancake flat other than going over the 6k long bridge which gets to 50m above sea level. But the bike course is quite exposed, so it all comes down to the wind. In 2012 it was windless and with the smooth road surface that opens up 4:35-4:45 or faster to a host of age groupers, which in turn means lots of sub-9 potential. 2013 and 2014 were fairly windy, hence the slower bikes.