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Ironman Switzerland 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

It was big weekend of Ironman racing, leaving me with three events to analyse this week. I’ll get started with Ironman Switzerland. Switzerland sits somewhere in the middle of the mainland European races, neither the fastest or slowest course in the region. It carries the standard 40 Kona slots of most qualifying races and qualification is as competitive as any other European event. Age group times at this year’s race look to be slightly slower than usual.

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

Comparing distributions shows a more tightly bunched swim with athlete out in a shorter span than usual. This is followed by a bike and run that both trend slower than the aggregate results. So overall the race comes out slower than the norm, although not by a significant margin. As is often seen, there’s a broader spread of results around the median with more finishing towards the rear of the race than in the historical date.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Switzerland
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2005 1637 1499 8.4% 1189 20.7% 1291 % 21.1%
2006 1827 1681 8% 1640 2.4% 1500 8.5% 17.9%
2007 1969 1809 8.1% 1774 1.9% 1640 7.6% 16.6%
2008 2631 2057 21.8% 2020 1.8% 1955 3.2% 25.7%
2009 2508 2092 16.6% 2071 1% 1984 4.2% 20.9%
2010 2676 2226 16.8% 2250 % 2156 4.2% 19.4%
2011 1998 1759 12% 1704 3.1% 1600 6.1% 19.9%
2012 1534 1520 0.9% 1480 2.6% 1394 5.8% 9.1%
2013 2493 2171 12.9% 2060 5.1% 1878 8.8% 24.7%
2014 2655 2322 12.5% 2247 3.2% 2174 3.2% 18.1%
2015 2077 1818 12.5% 1703 6.3% 1590 6.6% 23.4%
2016 1583 1414 10.7% 1367 3.3% 1254 8.3% 20.8%
2017 1479 1476 0.2% 1407 4.7% 1302 7.5% 12%

Good DNF/DNS numbers again (older results merge swim DNF and DNS numbers) that show average levels for the course. Bike and run DNFs lean towards the high side, but it’s not extreme.

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

That bike and run were slower than usual this year is clear from the age group medians. The difference tends to be quite small on the bike, but larger on the run. Conversely, swim medians are faster for this year’s results.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Switzerland
Count Percentage
Switzerland 402 24.7
United Kingdom 236 14.5
Germany 190 11.7
France 147 9
Italy 105 6.5
Spain 83 5.1
United States 57 3.5
Belgium 42 2.6
Finland 36 2.2
Austria 30 1.8
Ironman Switzerland 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
Germany 30.0 11.7
Switzerland 22.5 24.7
United Kingdom 10.0 14.5
Belgium 7.5 2.6
France 7.5 9.0
Russia 5.0 1.3
Denmark 5.0 0.7
Italy 2.5 6.5
Australia 2.5 1.2
Poland 2.5 1.8
Spain 2.5 5.1
Netherlands 2.5 1.1

A wide spread of nationalities raced in Switzerland with the three largest groups taking most of the slots.

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

Tracking positions across age groups generally shows a slowing for times at this year’s race. This is more pronounced further back in the race than at the front of each age group. The times are not the slowest, but put this year towards the slow end. I’d note that entry numbers are lower for the last two years and this may mean the field has changed with more middle of the pack athletes and fewer potential front of pack athletes. Even if this is the case, the limited change at the front of the age groups shows that qualifying remains unchanged.

Ironman Switzerland 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 9:57:10 9:57:10 9:57:10
M25-29 2 9:18:46 9:19:05 9:19:25
M30-34 4 9:13:15 9:22:41 9:36:24
M35-39 4 9:08:30 9:14:49 9:22:03
M40-44 5 9:11:37 9:30:16 9:40:14
M45-49 4 9:29:58 9:43:44 9:53:20
M50-54 3 9:58:01 10:09:43 10:16:27
M55-59 2 10:16:13 10:17:20 10:18:28
M60-64 1 11:07:17 11:07:17 11:07:17
M65-69 1 13:35:06 13:35:06 13:35:06
M70-74 1 13:38:01 13:38:01 13:38:01
F18-24 1 12:39:23 12:39:23 12:39:23
F25-29 1 9:52:21 9:52:21 9:52:21
F30-34 2 10:31:39 10:34:12 10:36:45
F35-39 2 9:55:24 10:00:19 10:05:15
F40-44 2 10:30:13 10:36:12 10:42:11
F45-49 2 10:44:50 10:58:20 11:11:50
F50-54 1 11:37:29 11:37:29 11:37:29
F55-59 1 12:15:51 12:15:51 12:15:51

Based on the results I’ve estimated the slot allocation in Switzerland and from that the times that would automatically qualify you in each age group. Actual numbers may vary from this and roll down will influence the qualifying times. If you want to see more data on qualifying times at Ironman Switzerland and other races, check out my Kona qualification page.

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

For most age groups this year’s results do track behind the top 20 average. As noted before, when you look at the top 3 the difference tends to be minimal, but over the 20 times were generally slower than average. How much of this is down to conditions on the day and how much reflects the competitiveness of a smaller field is hard to say.

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

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