CoachCox

Ironman France 2016: Results and Kona Qualification Analysis

This weekend’s Ironman race took place in Nice. Ironman France is a long standing member of the European Ironman calendar. It’s a big race attracting over 2,500 entrants and offering the now standard 40 Ironman World Championship slots. As with most European races, the competition is stiff. The course itself involves a sea swim, climbing and descending on the bike and a hot, flat run.

A brief note on this analysis – I still haven’t collected 2010 results into my database so times from that event are excluded from all the charts shown here. The data appears to be available, it’s something I need to rectify before the 2017 race.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman France 2016 Compared with 2005-2015

Comparing the distribution of finishers at this year’s race one thing jumps out: how much faster the run was. There’s a big difference between this year’s results and the aggregated results form the last decade; roughly 15 minutes at the median point. For whatever reason – perhaps conditions were good for running – the bulk of the field was faster than normal. This positive shift in the run has a knock on effect on the overall splits, making this years race a fast year in Nice.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman France
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2005 1396 1265 9.4% 1238 2.1% 1102 11% 21%
2006 1156 1014 12.3% 996 1.8% 857 14% 25.9%
2007 1498 1358 9.3% 1329 2.1% 1248 6.1% 16.6%
2008 2536 2149 15.3% 2159 % 1952 9.6% 23%
2009 2741 2377 13.3% 2279 4.1% 2323 % 15.2%
2011 2617 1943 25.8% 2281 % 2060 9.7% 21.1%
2012 2469 2284 7.5% 2226 2.5% 2052 7.8% 16.9%
2013 2783 2481 10.9% 2455 1% 2354 4.1% 14.8%
2014 2759 2506 9.2% 2425 3.2% 2324 4.2% 15.7%
2015 2783 2480 10.9% 2407 2.9% 2250 6.5% 19.1%
2016 2885 2577 10.7% 2509 2.6% 2407 4.1% 16.6%

DNF and DNS data from this year’s race look to be inline with course norms. There’s not much more to add, figures are very much the average for this course. If conditions were better they can’t have been that much better as I’d expect to see a drop in rates in that instance.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman France 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman France 2005-2015

Separate age group medians naturally show a similar trend to the overall distribution. Run times are down across the majority of age divisions at this year’s race. Bike and swim times are more variable, some are faster, but the margins are smaller.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman France
Count Percentage
France 1441 49.9
United Kingdom 245 8.5
Spain 193 6.7
Italy 184 6.4
Belgium 98 3.4
United States 94 3.3
Germany 80 2.8
Switzerland 45 1.6
Denmark 43 1.5
Sweden 36 1.2

Checking the top ten nationalities we see a more diverse mix than recent races. Half the athletes came from France, the rest were widely distributed over Europe and the rest of the world.

Changes in Male Age Group Finishing Times at Ironman France
Changes in Female Age Group Finishing Times at Ironman France

If we track the times for specific finishing positions over the last decade we can see that, while this year’s race looks to be an upturn on last year’s it’s not necessarily the fastest for Nice. This highlights an issue with using aggregated data – a number of slower (or in some cases faster) years can heavily influence the distributions. I might achieve better results by limiting my analysis to the last 5 years of data.

Ironman France 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 2 9:29:43 9:30:04 9:30:26
M25-29 3 9:06:24 9:17:29 9:24:01
M30-34 4 8:42:06 9:03:26 9:13:22
M35-39 4 8:51:28 9:16:30 9:28:40
M40-44 5 9:13:04 9:18:45 9:25:32
M45-49 4 9:20:55 9:33:26 9:41:26
M50-54 3 9:30:40 9:42:47 9:51:03
M55-59 2 9:51:16 9:58:25 10:05:34
M60-64 1 10:20:57 10:20:57 10:20:57
M65-69 1 10:47:41 10:47:41 10:47:41
M70-74 1 13:26:51 13:26:51 13:26:51
F18-24 1 10:18:48 10:18:48 10:18:48
F25-29 1 11:01:10 11:01:10 11:01:10
F30-34 1 10:09:16 10:09:16 10:09:16
F35-39 1 10:31:52 10:31:52 10:31:52
F40-44 2 9:45:54 10:11:15 10:36:36
F45-49 1 10:41:49 10:41:49 10:41:49
F50-54 1 10:55:54 10:55:54 10:55:54
F55-59 1 13:12:26 13:12:26 13:12:26
F60-64 1 14:59:54 14:59:54 14:59:54

The table above gives my estimates of Kona slot allocations based on the number of athletes in the tracker, actual numbers will depend on who started the race. Using these numbers I’ve given qualification statistics assuming that no roll downs take place. These are the times you’d likely require to qualify at this year’s race.

Top 20 Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman France 2016
Top 20 Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman France 2016

From the perspective of age group Kona qualification it was definitely one of the faster year’s in France. There is a very consistent trend to faster than average times across the age groups. The drop off rate from first through fifth, tenth and back to twentieth looks consistent though, suggesting the race was as competitive as ever, but conditions helped the top age groupers finish sooner.

So overall this was one of the faster years in France. Qualification times were faster than average for the event and finishing times in general followed that trend. There have been other comparable years, 2014 looks to be similar for example.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman France 2016 on my Google Drive.

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Find out what it takes to place in your age group or to qualify for the Ironman Worlds Championships in Kona.

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