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Ironman Wisconsin 2016: Results and Kona Qualification Analysis

The second Ironman race of the weekend was a long standing event – Ironman Wisconsin. A race on a much bigger scale than Weymouth with well over 2,000 athletes on the start line. There were the normal 40 Kona slots on offer here and a standard distribution for them. This year’s race looks to have trended slightly slower than usual with a few more DNFs too.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Compared with 2003-2015

We can see this year’s race trends slower than the aggregated data from past races. It’s mostly on the bike where the differences come, but even so swim and run seem to be a little behind in 2016. This is still well within the bounds of racing at Wisconsin, a slower than average year, but not necessarily an exceptionally slow year.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Wisconsin
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2003 2012 1805 10.3% 1705 5.5% 1536 9.9% 23.7%
2004 2495 2139 14.3% 2104 1.6% 1973 6.2% 20.9%
2005 2245 2036 9.3% 1873 8% 1681 10.3% 25.1%
2006 2692 2415 10.3% 2303 4.6% 2172 5.7% 19.3%
2007 2472 2193 11.3% 2161 1.5% 2106 2.5% 14.8%
2008 2445 2206 9.8% 2139 3% 2082 2.7% 14.8%
2009 2699 2380 11.8% 2307 3.1% 2176 5.7% 19.4%
2010 2912 2522 13.4% 2481 1.6% 2397 3.4% 17.7%
2011 2797 2450 12.4% 2362 3.6% 2245 5% 19.7%
2012 2827 2449 13.4% 2388 2.5% 2337 2.1% 17.3%
2013 2543 2463 3.1% 2390 3% 2332 2.4% 8.3%
2014 2826 2478 12.3% 2391 3.5% 2320 3% 17.9%
2015 2990 2517 15.8% 2433 3.3% 2387 1.9% 20.2%
2016 2881 2395 16.9% 2283 4.7% 2206 3.4% 23.4%

What’s more noticeable is the upturn in DNF/DNS rates over previous years. 2016 saw one of the higher DNF/DNS rates for Wisconsin. One point to note – 2013 numbers appear to exclude DNS statistics, hence the much lower figures.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Wisconsin 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Wisconsin 2003-2015

Comparing the medians splits for different age groups we can see that the difference does centre on the bike. Here the pattern is quite consistent – 2016 is slower. In swim and run there’s less of a trend and some age groups come out on the faster side of the medians.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Wisconsin
Count Percentage
United States 2725 94.6
Canada 44 1.5
United Kingdom 16 0.6
Mexico 15 0.5
Germany 8 0.3
Philippines 7 0.2
France 5 0.2
Colombia 4 0.1
Japan 4 0.1
Netherlands 3 0.1

Wisconsin is a very clear American race with the a very low percentage of athletes coming from outside the US or Canada.

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

This year’s race is by no means the slowest seen in Wisconsin, but it does point towards the slower end of the spectrum for many age groups. There are divisions and places that sped up in this year, but for the most part it’s a downturn over the previous couple of years.

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 10:36:45 10:36:45 10:36:45
M25-29 2 9:14:52 9:23:09 9:31:27
M30-34 3 9:07:43 9:29:59 9:41:15
M35-39 3 9:36:24 9:40:37 9:43:21
M40-44 3 9:51:24 9:58:13 10:02:09
M45-49 3 9:56:38 10:04:56 10:10:51
M50-54 3 9:33:16 10:15:16 10:43:34
M55-59 2 10:43:12 10:47:56 10:52:41
M60-64 2 12:00:58 12:10:18 12:19:39
M65-69 1 12:56:15 12:56:15 12:56:15
M70-74 1 13:46:19 13:46:19 13:46:19
F18-24 1 11:07:25 11:07:25 11:07:25
F25-29 2 10:19:47 10:29:34 10:39:21
F30-34 2 10:35:44 10:47:44 10:59:45
F35-39 2 10:40:46 10:52:02 11:03:19
F40-44 2 10:46:09 10:55:14 11:04:20
F45-49 2 11:15:34 11:17:35 11:19:37
F50-54 2 11:35:28 11:39:29 11:43:30
F55-59 1 11:18:28 11:18:28 11:18:28
F60-64 1 12:02:56 12:02:56 12:02:56

Based on the athlete tracker I’ve predicted the number of Kona slots that will be assigned to each age group (actual numbers depend on the exact start numbers). From there I can determine the automatic qualifying times in each age group, the times that are guaranteed a place without roll down. You can compare these figures with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

For the top twenty in each age group the trend is less clear. While a few age divisions have results behind the average, as many or more have results that are average or better. If anything I’d say the front end of the race was as fast as ever and very competitive. For the women this is definitely the case and the race appears to have been quicker than usual. It’s in some of the tiger male age groups where we see the slower than average times.

So, Ironman Wisconsin 2016 was probably a little slower for the majority of athletes. However, this wasn’t universal and the front of the age group race, the competition for Kona slots was as fast as ever (perhaps a little faster).

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Wisconsin 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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