Ironman Louisville 2015: Results and Analysis

A change of date for Ironman Louisville has placed it in the shadow of the Ironman World Champs. Having run through results from Kona already it’s now Louisville’s turn. This year’s race, on average, was faster than previous events, but the front of pack appears to have trended slower. Perhaps the consequence of sharing the weekend with Kona? A thinning of the sharp end of the age group field at this event?

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Louisville 2015 Compared With 2007-2014

Comparing this year’s split distributions with older results does show faster median splits on swim, run and overall. Only the bike trends slower than previous years, otherwise the field as a whole appears faster than usual. What is of note is the fact the top 5-10% of the field was slower on swim, bike and overall. Perhaps the loss of a pro field had an influence here, but we might also be seeing the impact of the shared weekend with Kona. In fairness the shift isn’t huge, but is at odds with the rest of the field.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Louisville 2015
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Louisville 2007-2014

We see the same pattern when comparing age group medians: faster swim, slower bike and faster run. The biggest and most consistent differences come on the run with median splits 20-30 minutes faster for many age groups this year. That’s quite a significant change to see in results suggesting the run proved much more favourable.

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

Looking at how times have changed for key positions over the last 8 years suggests that 2015 was one of the faster years. The shift varies with age group in place with this years results proving the fastest in some cases. That’s not universally the case, but as a general rule this year improved on the previous two.

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

At the front of the race what we see depends on gender. For the women’s race most age groups are comfortably ahead of the race average in the top twenty. Some, in fact, are among the fastest times seen on the course. For the men’s race the top twenty times fall more closely in line with the averages with a few exceptions pulling ahead.

In the end Louisville looks to have been a bit faster than usual, largely thanks to favourable swim and run times. The impact doesn’t appear to have been evenly spread across the field, but overall competition for Kona slots appears to be on par with previous years. Sharing the weekend with Kona may have had some influence, but any impact was likely small – in late August you weren’t likely to see many Kona qualifiers anyway. Better times from the middle of the pack is where the real differences come.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Louisville 2015 on my Google Drive.

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  • Paul Sappie

    I’m curious about the swim times. Since Ironman Louisville has a time trial start, are the times shown from the start of the race or when each swimmer crosses the starting mat and enters the water.

  • The athlete tracker’s times (and so mine) are mat times, not race start times. It’s a shame they don’t provide the latter as it would allow some analysis of how the time trial start influenced the race or how crowded the race was at different stages.

    As it stands there’s no way to piece together when an athlete started relative to gun time.

  • Paul Sappie

    Thanks Russell!

  • Gregory J Santollo

    awesome site thanks

  • Eric Guzman-Alvarez

    The bike was about the same or slower than previous year because there was a good head wind in the last 35 miles … Also the swim didnt have any current compare to previous year