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Ironman New Zealand 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

Firstly, an apology that I’m so late with this results analysis. Ironman New Zealand fell on day one of my annual Lanzarote training camp and I just didn’t have the time (or internet band width) to properly process the results. So, 10 days late, but better late than never, here’s a very quick look at the results and Kona qualification at Ironman New Zealand 2017.

One more thing. For comparisons I’m going to limit past results to no more than the previous 10 years of racing. In the case of Ironman New Zealand, 2012 is also omitted as the full race was cancelled due to conditions.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman New Zealand 2017 Compared with 2007-2016

The 2017 results clearly trend much slower than those of the previous decade. This is true for all 3 disciplines, but most obvious on the bike and swim. Each chart has much more weight towards the right pulling down medians and higher percentile finish times. Obviously this also translates into a slower overall distribution at this year’s race than with seen in the aggregate results from before.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman New Zealand
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2007 1005 993 1.2% 993 0% 967 2.6% 3.8%
2008 1163 1085 6.7% 1068 1.6% 1038 2.8% 10.7%
2009 1358 1274 6.2% 1263 0.9% 1235 2.2% 9.1%
2010 1253 1137 9.3% 1137 0% 1119 1.6% 10.7%
2011 1312 1278 2.6% 1279 % 1251 2.2% 4.6%
2013 1432 1311 8.4% 1288 1.8% 1224 5% 14.5%
2014 1586 1559 1.7% 1553 0.4% 1497 3.6% 5.6%
2015 1131 1122 0.8% 1082 3.6% 1050 3% 7.2%
2016 1253 1247 0.5% 1224 1.8% 1164 4.9% 7.1%
2017 1253 1119 10.7% 1045 6.6% 996 4.7% 20.5%

There is also a notably higher DNS/DNF rate for this year’s race and it’s also focussed in the swim and the bike. It should be noted that some variance in swim numbers can be caused by changes in reporting of athlete registration, but even so, this looks to have been a swim that saw more DNFs than usual. The bike also saw a definite increase in numbers, the highest in the decade. Run numbers are at the high end, but not exceptional. The overall result appears to be the highest DNF rate at this race in a decade.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2007-2016

It’s no surprise that comparing the median splits for different age groups over this time period produces similar results. At the age group level, in each discipline, this year’s race was slower. This is not the case for the pros, here bike and run medians are faster than the previous 10 year aggregate. We are, of course, looking at averages over a number of races so these figures can also hide the variance in those events.

Ironman New Zealand 2017 Expected Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
New Zealand 47.5 46.0
Australia 27.5 21.5
United States 10.0 6.6
United Kingdom 5.0 4.9
Japan 2.5 4.8
Singapore 2.5 2.6
Sweden 2.5 0.2

Based on the results and Kona slot distribution, I’ve estimated how many slots went to each country and, for comparison, how much of the field came from that country. In this race the numbers tally quite nicely with automatic (pre-roll down) slots distributing inline with the entries.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman New Zealand
Count Percentage
New Zealand 577 46
Australia 269 21.5
United States 83 6.6
United Kingdom 61 4.9
Japan 60 4.8
Singapore 32 2.6
Thailand 22 1.8
Canada 15 1.2
Hong Kong 13 1
France 12 1

The top 10 most numerous nationalities at Ironman New Zealand is not quite as interesting, but it does show there’s quite a broad spread present at the race, with less than 50% coming from New Zealand itself.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman New Zealand
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman New Zealand

As the aggregate data hides a lot of the variance between race years and New Zealand has certainly seen variable conditions, it’s useful to look at trends over that time period. We can see that this years times are generally at the slower end of the range New Zealand has seen. Not always the slowest though – 2008 and 2015 offer some competition there. Still the charts support those of the distributions and medians, suggesting 2017 was one of the slower years for age groupers.

Ironman New Zealand 2017 Estimated Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 10:05:30 10:05:30 10:05:30
M25-29 2 9:32:02 9:35:43 9:39:24
M30-34 2 9:07:38 9:12:27 9:17:17
M35-39 3 8:54:10 9:16:21 9:41:42
M40-44 4 9:43:58 9:55:49 10:07:14
M45-49 3 9:40:12 9:49:53 9:57:48
M50-54 3 10:18:11 10:26:16 10:30:40
M55-59 2 10:45:25 10:46:54 10:48:24
M60-64 1 11:54:58 11:54:58 11:54:58
M65-69 1 12:05:10 12:05:10 12:05:10
M70-74 1 14:04:44 14:04:44 14:04:44
M75-79 1 15:49:53 15:49:53 15:49:53
F18-24 1 12:48:53 12:48:53 12:48:53
F25-29 1 9:56:39 9:56:39 9:56:39
F30-34 2 10:39:02 10:41:09 10:43:17
F35-39 2 10:28:41 10:43:16 10:57:51
F40-44 2 11:16:41 11:28:21 11:40:01
F45-49 2 11:17:11 11:28:32 11:39:53
F50-54 2 12:06:34 12:07:08 12:07:42
F55-59 1 12:08:47 12:08:47 12:08:47
F60-64 1 12:21:30 12:21:30 12:21:30
F65-69 1 14:33:53 14:33:53 14:33:53

The above table uses my calculations for the slot allocation to determine the likely automatic qualifying times in each age group. It doesn’t allow for roll downs or account for final start numbers in allocating slots. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2017
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2017

The final charts look at times for the top twenty in each age group. For most, although not quite all, age groups this years results fall behind the average times. In some cases we see the slowest results for the top twenty in the last decade. That said, moving towards the front of each age group sees the gap narrow and in some cases those on the podium beat the average times. While qualification times at this year’s race may come out a little slower than usual it wasn’t for a lack of competition.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman New Zealand 2017 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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