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Ironman Sweden 2016: Results and Kona Qualification Analysis

It’s a big weekend of racing – four Ironman events around the world with the final qualifying slots for the 2016 Ironman World Championships. First up is Ironman Sweden, which took place yesterday. It’s a race that has produced some exceptional age group times and this year doesn’t disappoint: qualifying times for the 40 Kona slots on offer were fast by any standard.

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

First up a comparison of split distributions between this year’s race and the previous four years. The swim and the bike clearly trend faster, but the run doesn’t diverge by much. With two stages faster, the overall results naturally follow and the 2016 race comes out ahead of the course average. Sweden has always been a fast course, this year is not exception.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Sweden
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2012 1389 1385 0.3% 1370 1.1% 1348 1.6% 3%
2013 1929 1710 11.4% 1679 1.8% 1605 4.4% 16.8%
2014 2346 2073 11.6% 2046 1.3% 1992 2.6% 15.1%
2015 2463 2086 15.3% 2041 2.2% 1968 3.6% 20.1%
2016 2458 2134 13.2% 2118 0.7% 2066 2.5% 15.9%

Ironman Sweden is one of the larger European races with over 2,000 athletes making the start line. The overall DNF/DNS rate at this year’s event falls in line with previous years, but there’s a noticeably lower DNF rate on the bike. Given the faster than usual bike splits this would suggest conditions were particularly favourable on the bike.

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

Breaking down the splits into age group medians confirms that this year trended faster. Both swim and bike median splits are consistently faster across the age groups. The pattern is less defined for the run, but the run also trends faster for a number of age groups.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Sweden
Count Percentage
Sweden 1822 74.1
United Kingdom 105 4.3
Finland 77 3.1
Germany 65 2.6
Denmark 51 2.1
Norway 50 2
United States 35 1.4
Spain 34 1.4
Russia 21 0.9
Poland 20 0.8

As we’d expect the majority of athletes are Swedish, but there’s a strong British contingent and a spread of other nationalities also on the course.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Sweden
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Sweden

Ironman Sweden debuted in 2012 with an exceptionally fast race. It’s never matched that opening year, but 2016 looks to be the closest it’s come to repeating those times. There aren’t huge variations; even at its slowest Sweden is one of the fastest Ironman courses.

Ironman Sweden 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 8:51:48 8:51:48 8:51:48
M25-29 2 8:52:46 8:54:57 8:57:09
M30-34 3 8:57:47 8:59:41 9:01:46
M35-39 4 8:43:10 8:51:37 8:55:49
M40-44 5 8:56:36 9:02:19 9:04:50
M45-49 4 9:10:31 9:18:40 9:23:30
M50-54 3 8:58:24 9:17:08 9:29:15
M55-59 2 10:15:48 10:16:51 10:17:54
M60-64 1 10:10:05 10:10:05 10:10:05
M65-69 1 11:50:35 11:50:35 11:50:35
M70-74 1 13:31:56 13:31:56 13:31:56
F18-24 1 10:17:52 10:17:52 10:17:52
F25-29 1 10:00:22 10:00:22 10:00:22
F30-34 1 10:00:10 10:00:10 10:00:10
F35-39 2 9:25:02 9:41:02 9:57:02
F40-44 2 10:04:53 10:11:56 10:18:59
F45-49 2 10:30:55 10:35:07 10:39:19
F50-54 1 10:42:59 10:42:59 10:42:59
F55-59 1 12:18:16 12:18:16 12:18:16
F60-64 1 14:19:06 14:19:06 14:19:06
F65-69 1 15:57:33 15:57:33 15:57:33

Based on the athlete tracker I can calculate the allocation of Kona slots and from that the automatic qualification times at this year’s race (as ever, actual numbers will depend on exact start numbers). If more proof was needed that Sweden was fast you just have to look at all the sub-9 hour qualifying times in the male age groups. If you’re under 45 and male, you needed to be finishing around the 9 hour mark to have any chance! For women 10 hours provided a similar standard. You can compare these numbers with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

Between the ages of 35 and 50 for men (and to a lesser extent women) top twenty times fall ahead of the course averages and closer to the course records. As we saw in the previous table, these age groups were fast. Most other divisions were closer to the course averages, but that’s still fast. There was clearly a strong front of pack contingent at this year’s race, making for a competitive field.

Sweden remains a really good choice for a fast Ironman time. As a qualifier it’s more challenging. Required times to be confident of a slot are exceptional, up there with the fastest courses on the circuit.

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

All Ironman Results and Statistics

A growing collection of results and statistics for the whole Ironman race calendar.

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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