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Challenge Roth 2017: Age Group Results Analysis

I’ve not forgotten the other German Iron distance race from the weekend. Alongside Frankfurt there was Challenge Roth. No Kona slots, but a world famous and fast course that attracts a very strong field. Here’s a quick look at how this year’s results stack up.

Firstly a note – I focus my analyses on the age group results and generally exclude pro times from my charts (unless clearly labelled). However some of Roth’s older results categorised pros by their age. It’d be a slow manual process to correct all of this, so you’ll see some very fast times in these stats from years where pros are included.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Challenge Roth 2017 Compared with 2010-2016

Results from this year’s race look very similar to those from the previous 7 years of racing. A change in run course doesn’t appear to have hugely affected the distribution of run splits for the race. Times are a touch slower, but a matter of a minute or two at the median so hardly significant. The apparent slowing for the fifth percentile run times is likely a side affect of the pro data mixed with age group in the older results. The swim is probably the area that appears to trend the slowest this year.

DNS and DNF Rates at Challenge Roth
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2010 3133 2805 10.5% 2707 3.5% 2674 1.2% 14.6%
2011 2793 2791 0.1% 2790 0% 2791 -0% 0%
2012 2753 2751 0.1% 2751 0% 2748 0.1% 0%
2013 3407 3126 8.2% 3040 2.8% 2879 5.3% 15.4%
2014 3459 3166 8.5% 2928 7.5% 2673 8.7% 22.5%
2015 2734 2729 0.2% 2693 1.3% 2734 % 0%
2016 2930 2918 0.4% 2920 % 2930 % 0%
2017 3142 3137 0.2% 3031 3.4% 2892 4.6% 8.7%

There are a few gaps in my data sets for the DNS/DNF records. Often these come from missing splits on an earlier stage lowering the numbers at that point and yielding 0 or lower DNF rates. As it stands, the data for this year’s race has no issues. DNF rates look to be quite typical for a fast Ironman course, perhaps pushed up a little on the run by the heat of the day.

Median Splits by Age Group at Challenge Roth 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Challenge Roth 2010-2016

As with the results distributions, looking at medians for individual age groups shows lots of similarities with previous results. There don’t appear to be any significant shifts at any stage of the race and certainly none that might be considered significant.

Top 10 Nationalities at Challenge Roth
Count Percentage
Germany 1643 47.6
United Kingdom 224 6.5
France 160 4.6
United States 130 3.8
Spain 127 3.7
Austria 89 2.6
Switzerland 86 2.5
Australia 82 2.4
Italy 78 2.3
Brazil 66 1.9

Similar to Ironman Frankfurt, roughly half the field is German with the rest of the competitors coming from a broad spread of nations.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Challenge Roth
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Challenge Roth

Tracking finishing times for age group placings over the years we can firstly see that prior to 2014 pro data was counted in the age groups. There are some fast first places in M35-39 and F30-34 in those earlier results. Considering 2014 onwards puts this year as one of the fastest. For a lot of age groups times are a little faster; this is mainly true for the front of the race, the pattern is less consistent further back.

Top Twenty Male Performances by Age Group at Challenge Roth 2017
Top Twenty Female Performances by Age Group at Challenge Roth 2017

Finally the top twenty in each age group. For most age groups the results trend quite close to the average line. F30-34 is a clear exception to that with finishing times trending slower than most on the other side to that, M55-59 trend faster. It’s worth noting that this chart will be heavily affected by the presence of those older pro times. For the most part though, as with the other charts I’ve looked at, these results don’t shift too far away from average.

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