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Ironman Wales 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

Another busy weekend of racing just gone. I’m going to start my analyses close to home with Ironman Wales. Now into it’s 7th year, Wales is one of the toughest Ironman courses on the circuit, but still draws around 2,000 entrants. This year the event was given some additional Kona slots taking the total up to 65 qualifying places for the 2018 Ironman championship. Conditions on Sunday were wet and windy making this tough race tougher still.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Wales 2017 Compared with 2011-2016

With the exception of the swim, which trends within the bounds of past results, every stage of this race was slower. At the median the bike was around 15 minutes slower than the 6-year aggregate results and the run around 10 minutes slower. Clear indications that conditions made for a particularly tough day in Tenby.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Wales
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2011
1508
1266
16%
1198
5.4%
1122
6.3%
25.6%
2012
1314
1312
0.2%
1296
1.2%
1215
6.3%
7.5%
2013
1677
1432
14.6%
1370
4.3%
1280
6.6%
23.7%
2014
2085
1774
14.9%
1707
3.8%
1612
5.6%
22.7%
2015
2030
1728
14.9%
1664
3.7%
1551
6.8%
23.5%
2016
1915
1677
12.4%
1618
3.5%
1575
2.7%
17.8%
2017
1878
1854
1.3%
1714
7.6%
1615
5.8%
14%

We have clean DNS numbers for this year’s race, so the DNF figures should be accurate at every stage. Bear in mind that older races mix DNF and DNS in the swim and overall when comparing. Bike DNF numbers at this year’s race are the highest seen for this course and a step above previous years. Run DNFs are more typical for the course, lying somewhere in the bottom half of results. The confusion over DNF/DNS in past years makes it hard to be certain, but it looks like this year had the highest DNF rate for the Wales course though.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Wales 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Wales 2011-2016

Comparison of medians at the age group level shows the same pattern as the distributions above – clearly slower bike and run times for almost every division. Pro times remain very similar to previous results with a slower male bike split being the most notable change.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Wales
Country
Count
Percentage
United Kingdom
1675
81.1
Ireland
66
3.2
Germany
61
3
France
42
2
United States
23
1.1
Poland
21
1
Belgium
19
0.9
Spain
16
0.8
Switzerland
12
0.6
Japan
11
0.5
Ironman Wales 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
United Kingdom
44.6
81.1
Germany
15.4
3.0
Belgium
4.6
0.9
France
4.6
2.0
Switzerland
4.6
0.6
Poland
4.6
1.0
Spain
3.1
0.8
Netherlands
3.1
0.4
Ireland
3.1
3.2
New Zealand
1.5
0.2
Russia
1.5
0.1
Portugal
1.5
0.1
Austria
1.5
0.2
Czech Republic
1.5
0.3
Denmark
1.5
0.2
Croatia
1.5
0.1

It’s a majority UK race, but slots are heavily divided among many of the other nationalities present. As an early qualifier for 2018 and with extra slots Wales may have drawn a lot of Kona chasers.

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

Tracking times for specific age group placings over the last 7 years helps put this year’s race in context for the event. It’s clearly not among the fastest years, we can see in comparison with 2016 it slowed a lot. You can also see other years that have been slower, it’s debut in 2011 and 2015 stand out.

Ironman Wales 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
3
10:51:39
10:54:39
10:58:48
M25-29
4
10:04:11
10:16:28
10:24:38
M30-34
7
10:04:32
10:10:21
10:17:40
M35-39
9
09:50:47
10:17:42
10:30:05
M40-44
9
10:14:43
10:27:19
10:42:40
M45-49
8
10:18:04
10:37:44
10:58:11
M50-54
5
10:41:04
11:08:46
11:21:54
M55-59
2
11:58:30
12:03:17
12:08:04
M60-64
1
12:52:59
12:52:59
12:52:59
M65-69
1
15:34:51
15:34:51
15:34:51
F18-24
1
11:56:05
11:56:05
11:56:05
F25-29
2
11:23:43
11:51:45
12:19:48
F30-34
2
11:38:15
11:56:28
12:14:41
F35-39
2
11:26:43
11:39:17
11:51:52
F40-44
2
12:05:14
12:21:04
12:36:54
F45-49
2
11:59:26
12:23:30
12:47:35
F50-54
1
12:30:25
12:30:25
12:30:25
F55-59
1
12:38:28
12:38:28
12:38:28
F60-64
1
15:37:49
15:37:49
15:37:49
F65-69
1
16:22:26
16:22:26
16:22:26

Based on the start list I’ve calculated the likely Kona slot distribution across the age groups and from there the automatic qualifying times in each age group. Actual numbers will vary and roll down will affect final qualifying times. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

While the median times across age groups slowed, for the top twenty athletes results lie much closer to the course averages. There’s some variation around this, but for the most part times at the front of the race were typical for the course. For quite a few of the age groups podium and qualifying times were a little slower than usual, but it’s marginal. Conditions had less impact on those at the front of the race.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Wales 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.

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