Ironman Mallorca 2014: Results and Analysis

It’s a busy weekend for Ironman racing, but with Mallorca (and Malaysia) already done I can start the analyses early. So, to begin: Ironman Mallorca, the first full distance Ironman event to take place on the island, building on the success of the 70.3. With 50 slots on offer Mallorca is a good choice for Europeans looking to qualify early for the 2015 Ironman World Championship.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Mallorca 2014
Median Splits by Category at 2013 European Ironman Races

As I can’t look back at previous races in Mallorca I’ll compare the median splits from yesterday’s race with those from all European races last year. For the most part splits from Mallorca compare closely with the European aggregates – the only difference of any note being faster swim times in Mallorca. Professional splits are very similar too, so Ironman Mallorca appears to fit somewhere in the middle of the European events.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Mallorca 2014
Distribution of Finishers' Splits at 2013 European Ironman Races

The distribution of splits further reinforces this point with broadly similar patterns across the charts. Again, it’s only the swim that is strongly skewed towards faster times than its European counterpart.

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

At the front of the age group race there are fast times – very fast in some cases. While the overall distribution of result might fit with the European averages, the front of the race – particularly the men’s race – is better compared to one of the fastest Ironman races, Frankfurt. The top male (and to a lesser extent female) times fall very close to the averages for the top twenty in Germany which suggests there was some good competition for those early Kona slots on offer in Mallorca.

So year one in Mallorca and the new event appears to be an ‘average’ European Ironman that comes with a competitive edge. An early chance to qualify, but also a challenging one. A spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Mallorca 2014 is available on my Google Drive.

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  • Kiko V

    Very insightful review. Q: is IM Mallorca ideal for a first-time full IM event?

  • Hi,

    I think Mallorca would be fine as a first-time full IM. It’s not the most challenging course, nor is it the easiest (not that any IM is easy). It does involve some climbing of course, but not the most extreme you’ll find on IM courses out there. Heat can be a factor there so it’s worth considering how you cope with hotter conditions.

    I would say that from a first time perspective almost all the races are good choices – some are a little more challenging than others in terms of the course, but all will be challenging in terms of racing for that long. I’d pick a course that suited my preferences (hilly vs flat, hot vs cooler) and a location I wanted to race at first.


  • Kiko V

    Thank you, CoachCox. Really appreciate the response + advice. Seriously considering taking on IM Mallorca…

    All the best!

  • Tyrone

    Hi Coach

    I wanted to ask you a question.

    I will be competing in Ironman Mallorca next month. I have reviewed your analysis of both Ironman Mallorca and South Africa.

    The times seem to be far quicker for Mallorca than South Africa (median and top 20 age group 30-34).

    Do you believe that Mallorca had better athletes at the race or that the course is just an hour quicker than South Africa?



  • Hi,

    I would say it’s a mix of both.

    While there is climbing and heat to deal with in Mallorca I think the winds and road surfaces in South Africa make that bike course the tougher of the two. So, assuming you can handle the potential heat of the day Mallorca is not that slow a course.

    Mallorca definitely draws a competitive field. It comes later in the season, with Kona slots for the following year, ideal for those who haven’t qualified this year. It’s easy to get to for most of Europe and a familiar training centre so it pulls in some strong athletes. South Africa hasn’t got the same pull, the majority of athletes are native and there isn’t the same depth of field. So this influences times as well.

    I would generally expect to go faster in Mallorca than in South Africa, but that to qualify or place high up the times needed would also be a bit faster.


  • Tyrone

    Hi Coach

    Would you recommend a disc?

    I see the course is mostly flat for 160kms, would the time gained with a disc outweigh the time lost up the mountain ?

  • Hi,

    Apologies for the delay replying. You’re right about the course, aside from the major climb it is mostly flat and rolling. Aerodynamically a disc would be beneficial and the impact on the climbing would likely be minimal. That said there are those who argue that a (unspoken) disc wheel is unsuitable for Ironman anyway as it results in more fatigue in the legs for the run (due to the increased flex of the disc). I don’t have good data on this to comment definitively, but it is something to bear in mind.

    What I’d say is that while climbing is an element of the course it doesn’t predominate it to the extent of Lanza or Wales for example, there are advantages to better aerodynamics even at a small cost of weight.