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Ironman Switzerland 2015: Results and Analysis

While Ironman UK was being cold, damp and windy (typically British) on the continent Ironman Switzerland continued the trend towards hot racing we’ve seen this summer. As with Austria and Frankfurt temperatures in Zurich were high and consequently age group times were low. Nothing impacts performance quite like the heat.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2015
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2005-2014

The 2015 median splits for swim, bike and run are almost universally slower than for the previous 10 years of racing. High temperatures impair performance right from the start when it’s a non-wetsuit swim. Clearly all age groups and the pros struggled more than usual under race day conditions.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Switzerland 2015 Compared With 2005-2014

Looking at split distributions emphasises the changes in results. The non-wetsuit swim is significantly slower than usual, a relatively small percentage of the field duck under the hour mark. Bike and run follow with similar drop off in times from the front to the back of the field. Overall, the impact looks to be in the order of 20 minutes at the front of the age group race and closer to the hour from the middle back.

Changes in Male Age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Switzerland
Changes in Female Age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Switzerland

Looking at how times have changed over the last 10 years of racing there’s no doubt that 2015 was a slow year, but not necessarily the slowest. A few other years have seen a similar level of performance, again presumably due to tough conditions on race day.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2015
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2015

Finishing times for the top twenty in each age group fall behind the averages and the 2014 results. That said at the very front of each age group, in the top 3-5, the times are close to average. Once again faster athletes appear to be less affected by (or better prepared for) the conditions. Kona qualification times were a little slower overall, but the level of competition looks to have been the same as usual.

A full spreadsheet of the results and splits for Ironman Switzerland 2015 can be accessed on my Google Drive.

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