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Ironman Cairns 2016: Results and Kona Qualification Analysis

This year Ironman Cairns saw a boost to numbers as it took on the mantle of Asia-Pacific Ironman Championship in Melbourne’s absence. Still a moderate size race in comparison with typical numbers in Europe, the US or previously in Melbourne; around 1400 age groupers competed for 75 Kona slots on offer at the event. Results at this year’s race lie around the course averages, perhaps coming out slightly slower with the higher competitor count.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Cairns 2016 Compared with 2012-2015

The differences between this year’s distributions and those of the past aren’t particularly significant. Generally they run a little slower in 2016, but only by small margins and the shift appears consistent from the front to the middle of the field. This year’s histograms appear to have slightly more weight to the right of the median line, each chart having a broader top than we see in the aggregate data. Perhaps a consequence of the enlarge field size.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Cairns
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2012 891 798 10.4% 782 2% 752 3.8% 15.5%
2013 1226 1209 1.4% 1187 1.8% 1140 4% 6.9%
2014 1275 1264 0.9% 1230 2.7% 1195 2.8% 6.3%
2015 880 768 12.7% 747 2.7% 705 5.6% 19.9%
2016 1434 1415 1.3% 1376 2.8% 1307 5% 8.9%

There’s been quite a lot of variance in the size of this race. DNS/DNF numbers are comparable with other years that drew over 1,000 competitors to the event. There’s nothing here to indicate an unusual level of DNF at the race or any significant difficulties on the course.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Cairns 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Cairns 2012-2015

Medians are similarly comparable between the different years of racing in Cairns. There’s no significant or obvious trend in results at this year’s race. Times appear largely comparable with the previous 4 years of racing.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Cairns
Count Percentage
Australia 811 56.6
Japan 372 25.9
New Zealand 52 3.6
United States 33 2.3
China 25 1.7
United Kingdom 24 1.7
Singapore 24 1.7
Hong Kong 10 0.7
France 9 0.6
Ireland 8 0.6

The cancellation of Ironman Japan brought a large field of Japanese athletes to Cairns this year. In addition to the standard 75 slots of a championship race, Ironman Cairns also carried Ironman Japan’s 30 Kona slots specifically for Japanese athletes. These slots would have been distributed after the normal roll down procedure and aren’t included in my qualification calculations today.

Changes in Male age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Cairns
Changes in Female age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Cairns

Tracking the change in finishing times for specific age group positions confirms that this year’s race was typical for the course. Generally times fall somewhere in the middle, neither the fastest nor the slowest seen on the course.

Ironman Cairns 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 2 10:10:33 10:23:13 10:35:53
M25-29 3 9:03:33 9:19:23 9:48:25
M30-34 6 8:55:24 9:23:43 9:41:04
M35-39 8 9:29:55 9:41:34 9:48:52
M40-44 9 9:29:00 9:46:16 9:55:43
M45-49 8 9:28:31 9:41:12 9:49:46
M50-54 6 9:53:35 10:07:22 10:19:49
M55-59 4 9:51:26 10:17:43 10:40:09
M60-64 3 10:57:46 11:18:10 11:33:58
M65-69 2 11:59:24 12:11:03 12:22:42
M70-74 1 13:20:02 13:20:02 13:20:02
M75-79 1 16:02:22 16:02:22 16:02:22
M80+ 1 13:38:23 13:38:23 13:38:23
F18-24 1 11:16:31 11:16:31 11:16:31
F25-29 2 10:13:58 10:29:04 10:44:11
F30-34 3 10:23:34 10:36:58 10:44:04
F35-39 3 10:31:19 10:38:21 10:43:54
F40-44 3 10:24:34 10:35:48 10:51:17
F45-49 2 10:19:15 10:23:50 10:28:25
F50-54 2 10:49:28 11:03:53 11:18:19
F55-59 2 10:39:25 10:57:22 11:15:19
F60-64 1 13:55:00 13:55:00 13:55:00
F65-69 1 15:14:37 15:14:37 15:14:37

I’ve estimated Kona slot allocations based on numbers in the athlete tracker, so the exact allocation may have varied slightly. Using this data I can then estimate the automatic qualifying times for each age group in the table above. You can find more data on qualification on my Kona Qualification page. As mentioned, this doesn’t include or take into account the 30 additional slots for the top Japanese athletes. These were assigned after the standard roll down and won’t have affected the standard allocation process.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Cairns 2016
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Cairns 2016

Overall qualification times don’t differ that much from race averages. This race has usually seen a few fast age groupers at the front and then a broader middle pack behind them. This appears to have been the case again, although with the larger field there’s some suggestion that mid-pack was larger still. Quite a few age groups are faster than average from tenth to twentieth position.

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

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