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Ironman Louisville 2016: Result and Kona Qualification Analysis

The day after the World Champs it was straight back to regular racing at Ironman Louisville. Louisville is a typical US race with around 2,500 entrants and 40 Kona slots on offer for the 2017 World Champs. This year’s race looks to have been at the faster end of results for Louisville course.

One small note ahead of the analysis. The cut off for Louisville is 16 hours after the last competitor enters the water. Results appear to show a hard cut off at 16 hours and in the athlete tracker those athletes who finished after 16 hours are marked as DNF in their details. I’ll be checking back to make sure this is correct, but the tighter cut off compared to some of the previous years may also have an affect on the result distribution.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Louisville 2016 Compared with 2007-2015

This year’s race appears to have trended slightly faster in all 3 disciplines. These differences aren’t very big, but they accumulate into faster overall results. This is true across the field with times improving from the front to the middle of the pack.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Louisville
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2007 2137 1695 20.7% 1662 1.9% 1562 6% 26.8%
2008 2452 1978 19.3% 1908 3.5% 1792 6.1% 26.9%
2009 2929 2402 18% 2399 0.1% 2351 2% 19.7%
2010 2994 2507 16.3% 2395 4.5% 2155 10% 28%
2011 2865 2437 14.9% 2386 2.1% 2276 4.6% 20.6%
2012 3014 2580 14.4% 2499 3.1% 2229 10.8% 26%
2013 2600 2547 2% 2507 1.6% 2347 6.4% 9.7%
2014 2388 2071 13.3% 2005 3.2% 1868 6.8% 21.6%
2015 2573 2534 1.5% 2470 2.5% 2365 4.3% 8.1%
2016 2652 2618 1.3% 2577 1.6% 2428 5.8% 8.4%

This year’s athlete tracker results don’t include DNS number, the same is true for 2015 and 2013, but other years appear to include entrants who didn’t make the start line. With that noted, there doesn’t appear to be anything exceptional about the DNF rates at this year’s race; values lie within range of previous years.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Louisville 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Louisville 2007-2015

For the most part age division medians come out ahead at this year’s race. There are exceptions, like F18-25 which saw a slower bike, but the general trend is faster.

Ironman Louisville 2016 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
United States 80.0 91.1
Canada 5.0 3.7
Slovakia 2.5 0.0
Netherlands 2.5 0.2
Sweden 2.5 0.1
Israel 2.5 0.0

The vast majority of slots went to US competitors, but they were the vast majority of the field. A couple of nationalities that picked up slots were so few in numbers they round to 0% in my table.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Louisville
Count Percentage
United States 2416 91.1
Canada 99 3.7
United Kingdom 16 0.6
Philippines 12 0.5
Colombia 8 0.3
Japan 8 0.3
India 6 0.2
Mexico 6 0.2
France 6 0.2
Netherlands 5 0.2

As we can see, this race was particularly weighted towards the US in numbers, perhaps falling at the same time as the World Champs helps reduce the number of foreign competitors making their way to the race?

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

Although I was uncertain is the presence of a hard cut off in results might influence medians, we can see that finish times for specific age group positions were generally faster this year. This is certainly true in comparison with the last two years, but we have seen similar results in the past. It does appear that 2016 was a faster year on the course though.

Ironman Louisville 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 9:40:00 9:40:00 9:40:00
M25-29 2 9:01:17 9:08:52 9:16:28
M30-34 3 9:07:20 9:12:41 9:18:56
M35-39 3 9:09:40 9:26:14 9:42:17
M40-44 4 9:13:17 9:23:20 9:32:17
M45-49 3 9:25:42 9:34:15 9:43:03
M50-54 3 9:35:47 9:48:06 10:06:36
M55-59 2 10:35:24 10:41:01 10:46:39
M60-64 1 10:49:17 10:49:17 10:49:17
M65-69 1 12:09:55 12:09:55 12:09:55
M70-74 1 13:49:38 13:49:38 13:49:38
F18-24 1 10:52:52 10:52:52 10:52:52
F25-29 1 10:42:14 10:42:14 10:42:14
F30-34 2 10:21:17 10:21:20 10:21:24
F35-39 2 9:46:24 9:54:26 10:02:29
F40-44 2 10:21:44 10:22:39 10:23:35
F45-49 2 9:55:25 9:59:20 10:03:16
F50-54 2 10:54:20 10:58:43 11:03:07
F55-59 1 11:11:47 11:11:47 11:11:47
F60-64 1 13:01:07 13:01:07 13:01:07

Based on the athlete tracker I’ve predicted the number of Kona slots for each age group and what that would suggest for automatic qualifying times. As ever there’s no accounting for roll down here so actual qualifying times will vary. For more statistics on 2017 Kona qualification, check out my Kona qualifying page.

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

At the very front of the age groups we see some real differences in times. In a number of age groups the top twenty proved exceptionally fast. In most age groups times are at least faster than average, in a few they’re some of the fastest seen on the course. This looks to have been a quick and competitive year for both men and women.

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

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