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Ironman Brazil 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

Ironman Brazil, the South American Championship, took place last weekend. By this point I’m sure you’ll have heard about Tim Don’s new Ironman record (and any ensuing debate over Ironman versus Iron distance records or the impact of course variation), but I focus on age group performance. Was this a record breaking year for age groupers? There are 75 Kona slots available in Brazil and the race for them was definitely one of the fastest Brazil has seen.

Before I continue some notes on the results. While collecting and processing the results today (4 days after the race) I found issues with the timings for some age groupers. In some instances the athlete tracker listed the run time as the finish time and appeared to have ranked the athlete based on this. The actual finish time was available on the athlete page (from the race time at run finish) and I’ve used this as required. Perhaps more notable was an unusual number of age group finishers with run times below 3 hours (61 in my results), far more than I’ve seen in any other race. Basically, I have my suspicions about this results set.

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

Brazil had very favourable race conditions – calm and cool for the most part. This is reflected across the results with every stage trending faster than the aggregate of previous years. The biggest difference is on the run, although this may be weighted by that high number of sub-3 hour age group run times. The net effect seems to be in the order of 30 minutes at the median.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Brazil
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2006 1053 976 7.3% 960 1.6% 938 2.3% 10.9%
2007 1260 1178 6.5% 1140 3.2% 1126 1.2% 10.6%
2008 1315 1235 6.1% 1162 5.9% 1185 % 9.9%
2009 1388 1263 9% 1235 2.2% 1209 2.1% 12.9%
2010 1626 1477 9.2% 1444 2.2% 1399 3.1% 14%
2011 1822 1557 14.5% 100% 0% 23.4%
2012 1929 1477 23.4% 1648 % 1383 16.1% 28.3%
2013 1924 1707 11.3% 1642 3.8% 1620 1.3% 15.4%
2014 1641 1552 5.4% 1556 % 1581 % 0%
2015 1905 1680 11.8% 1657 1.4% 1602 3.3% 15.9%
2016 1845 1644 10.9% 1597 2.9% 1556 2.6% 15.7%
2017 2207 2196 0.5% 2140 2.6% 2083 2.7% 6.3%

DNF and DNS rates have varied quite widely at this race. Some of this may come down to reporting in the athlete tracker, the most recent year clearly distinguishes DNS in the results meaning we have a more accurate DNF picture for the swim. DNF in bike and run look to fall in the mid ground for this race.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Brazil 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Brazil 2007-2016

Comparing median splits for age groups throws up another set of errors from the results – not all record a T1 time. This may be included in bike splits for some age groups, potentially skewing the times for that segment of the race. Other than that we can see the broad trend to faster times across the age groups.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Brazil
Count Percentage
Brazil 1475 61.3
Argentinia 469 19.5
China 155 6.4
United States 51 2.1
Uruguay 31 1.3
Peru 22 0.9
France 18 0.7
Bolivia 17 0.7
Canada 16 0.7
Germany 16 0.7
Ironman Brazil 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
Brazil 53.3 61.3
United States 8.0 2.1
Argentinia 8.0 19.5
China 6.7 6.4
Germany 2.7 0.7
Italy 2.7 0.2
France 2.7 0.7
South Africa 2.7 0.6
Norway 1.3 0.0
Ukraine 1.3 0.0
Uruguay 1.3 1.3
Canada 1.3 0.7
Paraguay 1.3 0.6
Russia 1.3 0.2
Portugal 1.3 0.1
Israel 1.3 0.2
Poland 1.3 0.1
Serbia 1.3 0.0

The majority of athletes come from Brazil or Argentina and they also claim most of the Kona slots (based on assumed slot distribution).

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

Looking at the changes in finishing times across different age groups and places shows this years race really was one of the fastest on the course. That said it falls quite close with previous years when considering a spread of age groups and positions, it’s not universally faster.

Ironman Brazil 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 9:18:18 9:18:18 9:18:18
M25-29 4 8:53:23 9:06:14 9:13:26
M30-34 8 9:01:20 9:09:30 9:14:26
M35-39 13 8:48:39 9:00:44 9:09:58
M40-44 12 8:34:26 9:09:41 9:21:13
M45-49 9 9:22:44 9:32:32 9:38:54
M50-54 5 9:22:03 9:33:37 9:39:45
M55-59 3 9:45:25 9:55:06 10:03:45
M60-64 2 10:51:23 10:51:56 10:52:30
M65-69 1 11:16:55 11:16:55 11:16:55
M70-74 1 11:12:50 11:12:50 11:12:50
F18-24 1 9:53:37 9:53:37 9:53:37
F25-29 2 9:26:15 9:37:40 9:49:06
F30-34 2 9:40:03 9:46:59 9:53:55
F35-39 2 9:29:32 9:35:24 9:41:16
F40-44 3 9:54:27 10:00:22 10:06:08
F45-49 2 9:42:41 10:00:13 10:17:45
F50-54 1 10:54:48 10:54:48 10:54:48
F55-59 1 11:13:40 11:13:40 11:13:40
F60-64 1 12:41:15 12:41:15 12:41:15
F65-69 1 11:50:00 11:50:00 11:50:00

Based on the start numbers for this race, I’ve estimated what the slot distribution might have looked like and from that what time would automatically qualify. Actual times will vary where the allocation differed or roll downs happened. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

Finally, when we look at the top 20 times for each age group there’s little doubt this was a fast year. Almost every age group was faster than the averages, most were faster than any of the previous 10 years of racing. That’s quite a significant step up in times and shows the front of the race was particularly fast this year. My only note being the potential influence of the high number of sub-3 hour marathons which makes me question some of the timings.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Brazil 2017 on my Google Drive. Just be aware, not all times have been sanitised and corrected and that rankings taken from the athlete tracker are incorrect.

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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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