CoachCox

Ironman France 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

I’ve got two Ironman races to review from the last weekend, I’ll start in Europe with Ironman France. It’s a big race with a lot of competition for the standard 40 Kona slots on offer. The bike course is hilly, but it’s probably the heat of the run along the promenade that has the biggest impact on performances. The Nice course is not the fastest in Europe, but it’s a way ahead of the slower races like UK, Wales and Lanzarote. This year’s age group race appears to have been particularly slow though.

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

It’s immediately obvious from the chart above that this years race distributes much slower than the previous 10 years of racing. This is true in bike, run and overall. Once athletes were out of the water the whole event was slower than we typically see. Margins are large too with over a 30 minute change in the median.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman France
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2005 1396 1265 9.4% 1238 2.1% 1102 11% 21%
2006 1156 1014 12.3% 996 1.8% 857 14% 25.9%
2007 1498 1358 9.3% 1329 2.1% 1248 6.1% 16.6%
2008 2536 2149 15.3% 2159 % 1952 9.6% 23%
2009 2741 2377 13.3% 2279 4.1% 2323 % 15.2%
2011 2617 1943 25.8% 2281 % 2060 9.7% 21.1%
2012 2306 2284 1% 2226 2.5% 2052 7.8% 11%
2013 2783 2481 10.9% 2455 1% 2354 4.1% 14.8%
2014 2759 2506 9.2% 2425 3.2% 2324 4.2% 15.7%
2015 2783 2480 10.9% 2407 2.9% 2250 6.5% 19.1%
2016 2885 2577 10.7% 2509 2.6% 2407 4.1% 16.6%
2017 2070 1852 10.5% 1797 3% 1636 9% 20.9%

Entry numbers were lower at this year’s race and the DNF rate was higher than usual. The bulk of this seems to come on the run with the DNF rate up at the high end for this race. So we have a slower event with a higher DNF than usual suggesting conditions were challenging.

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

Naturally we also see such a big shift in performances when we look at individual age group medians. A brand spread of slower times across age groups and disciplines. It’s not often I analyse a set of results that diverge this much from the past pool of data.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman France
Count Percentage
France 1082 52.3
United Kingdom 169 8.2
Italy 146 7.1
Spain 125 6
Belgium 89 4.3
Germany 54 2.6
United States 38 1.8
Sweden 28 1.4
Switzerland 26 1.3
Ireland 20 1
Ironman France 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
France 55.0 52.3
Italy 10.0 7.1
Netherlands 7.5 0.7
Spain 7.5 6.0
Germany 5.0 2.6
Australia 2.5 0.9
Czech Republic 2.5 0.6
Gaudeloupe 2.5 0.0
Belgium 2.5 4.3

Like most mainland European races there’s a broad spread of nationalities. The largest group is French and they take an equivalent proportion of the Kona slots.

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

Tracking times for age group positions shows how slow this year was. Normally they’ll be some variation across the categories, but pretty much every division and every place saw a large drop off in times. There have been other years with slow results similar to these, but few as consistent.

Ironman France 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 2 9:18:46 9:36:33 9:54:21
M25-29 3 9:08:58 9:18:36 9:31:11
M30-34 4 9:19:10 9:46:24 10:06:24
M35-39 4 9:40:54 9:52:47 10:01:36
M40-44 5 9:44:36 9:59:23 10:17:20
M45-49 4 10:04:47 10:17:14 10:38:06
M50-54 3 9:46:12 10:16:19 10:44:50
M55-59 2 10:54:33 11:07:35 11:20:37
M60-64 1 9:56:01 9:56:01 9:56:01
M65-69 1 11:18:15 11:18:15 11:18:15
F18-24 1 12:37:06 12:37:06 12:37:06
F25-29 1 10:59:52 10:59:52 10:59:52
F30-34 1 10:45:50 10:45:50 10:45:50
F35-39 1 10:26:22 10:26:22 10:26:22
F40-44 1 10:21:33 10:21:33 10:21:33
F45-49 1 11:13:00 11:13:00 11:13:00
F50-54 1 11:30:16 11:30:16 11:30:16
F55-59 1 12:17:17 12:17:17 12:17:17
F60-64 1 15:54:55 15:54:55 15:54:55

Based on my the results list I’ve calculated the likely allocation of Kona slots and what that would suggest for automatic qualifying times. As always the exact slot allocation and qualifying times will likely vary from this, especially once you factor in roll down. You can find more information on qualification times at this and other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

To further emphasises the point, for most age groups times for the top twenty places were significantly slower than the average. In some cases the slowest in the last decade. This isn’t true for every single age group, but the majority follow the trend.

I didn’t have any athlete racing in France this year, so I’m not sure what conditions were like or if there is another explanation for this year’s slower results.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman France 2017 on my Google Drive.

All Ironman Results and Statistics

A growing collection of results and statistics for the whole Ironman race calendar.

Find out what it takes to place in your age group or to qualify for the Ironman Worlds Championships in Kona.

Comments