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Ironman World Championship 2017: Age Group Results

It’s 24 hours since the start of the 2017 Ironman World Championship in Kona and I’m taking my first look at the age group results. This year drew the largest field yet, with over 2,300 athletes competing at the event. Conditions were hot, humid and windy – typical for Kona. My preliminary examination of the data suggests this year’s results were also pretty typical for the course.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at the Ironman World Championship 2017 Compared with 2007-2016

Comparing the 2017 distributions with the amalgamated data from the previous decade suggests this year’s race trends slightly slower. The emphasis should be on slight here. The swim trended faster this year, the bike insignificantly faster and the run slower. That difference on the run seems to be enough to push back the overall distribution. The marathon appears to have been the area that challenged most.

Two points to note in this comparison. Firstly, the amalgamated data incorporates a range of years from Kona, some on the faster side and some on the slower side. Merging all that data can give some context to this year’s results, but also hides detail. Secondly, while trending slightly slower, Kona always has highly skewed results highlighting the impact of selection on race times.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman World Championship
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2003
1713
1625
5.1%
1610
0.9%
1568
2.6%
8.4%
2004
1797
1705
5.1%
1660
2.6%
1575
5.1%
12.2%
2005
1797
1724
4.1%
1724
0%
1686
2.2%
6.1%
2006
1786
1687
5.5%
1669
1.1%
1620
2.9%
9.1%
2007
1835
1777
3.2%
1738
2.2%
1682
3.2%
8.2%
2008
1808
1733
4.1%
1697
2.1%
1633
3.8%
9.5%
2009
1853
1804
2.6%
1732
4%
1649
4.8%
10.8%
2010
1927
1841
4.5%
1814
1.5%
1768
2.5%
8.1%
2011
1918
1851
3.5%
1832
1%
1770
3.4%
7.5%
2012
1983
1983
0%
1952
1.6%
1886
3.4%
4.8%
2013
2067
2064
0.1%
2040
1.2%
1970
3.4%
4.4%
2014
2187
2108
3.6%
2057
2.4%
1984
3.5%
9.2%
2015
2308
2295
0.6%
2240
2.4%
2137
4.6%
7.3%
2016
2315
2208
4.6%
2185
1%
2114
3.2%
8.6%
2017
2433
2338
3.9%
2290
2.1%
2212
3.4%
9%

As I often do I’ll start with the note that swim and overall figures in the table above include athletes who DNSed. That said, this is true of most years and based on that there’s nothing unusual in the figures from this year’s race. Perhaps the most notable thing in the table is how much participant numbers have increased in the last 6 or 7 years.

Median Splits by Age Group at the Ironman World Championship 2017Median Splits by Age Group at the Ironman World Championship 2007-2016

Comparing age group medians largely mirrors the trends picked up by the distributions – slightly faster swim and bike, slower run. Again, the shift in times is quite small and not universally followed.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman World Championship
Country
Count
Percentage
United States
730
30
Australia
233
9.6
Germany
218
9
United Kingdom
142
5.8
Canada
114
4.7
France
105
4.3
Brazil
86
3.5
Japan
78
3.2
Denmark
61
2.5
Belgium
56
2.3
Ironman World Championship 2017 Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
Germany
19.2
9.0
United States
15.4
30.0
Australia
7.7
9.6
United Kingdom
7.7
5.8
Austria
7.7
1.3
Netherlands
7.7
1.6
France
7.7
4.3
Belgium
3.8
2.3
Italy
3.8
1.4
Venezuela
3.8
0.3
Poland
3.8
0.5

The majority of the field come from the US, but it’s Germany that takes the majority of first place positions (Kona slots) in the age group divisions.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at the Ironman World Championship
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at the Ironman World Championship

Tracking age group times for specific positions for over a decade shows how consistent results are in Kona. Not many races show such a tightly banded set of results for their major age groups. We can certainly say that 2017 was neither the fastest of slowest race of the last decade. It looks like it might just come in slightly lower than the average, but as before, it’s really not by much.

Ironman World Championship 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
1
09:02:13
09:02:13
09:02:13
M25-29
1
09:01:30
09:01:30
09:01:30
M30-34
1
09:04:38
09:04:38
09:04:38
M35-39
1
08:55:28
08:55:28
08:55:28
M40-44
1
09:00:43
09:00:43
09:00:43
M45-49
1
09:18:43
09:18:43
09:18:43
M50-54
1
09:23:31
09:23:31
09:23:31
M55-59
1
09:52:35
09:52:35
09:52:35
M60-64
1
09:46:54
09:46:54
09:46:54
M65-69
1
11:54:10
11:54:10
11:54:10
M70-74
1
12:29:35
12:29:35
12:29:35
M75-79
1
14:17:56
14:17:56
14:17:56
F18-24
1
10:06:19
10:06:19
10:06:19
F25-29
1
09:44:25
09:44:25
09:44:25
F30-34
1
10:08:50
10:08:50
10:08:50
F35-39
1
09:58:16
09:58:16
09:58:16
F40-44
1
10:02:23
10:02:23
10:02:23
F45-49
1
10:17:31
10:17:31
10:17:31
F50-54
1
11:01:51
11:01:51
11:01:51
F55-59
1
10:48:16
10:48:16
10:48:16
F60-64
1
11:56:12
11:56:12
11:56:12
F65-69
1
12:32:23
12:32:23
12:32:23
F70-74
1
13:42:50
13:42:50
13:42:50

The winner of each age group at Kona receives a slot for the following year’s race, so we can quite precisely track the qualifying times at the World Champs. You can review and compare with previous years and other races on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances by Age Group at the Ironman World Championship 2017
Top Twenty Female Performances by Age Group at the Ironman World Championship 2017

The final step of the analysis is tracking times for the top twenty athletes in the major age groups. At a race like Kona, with a primarily selected field we’d expect the front of pack to follow similar trends to the rest of the field. For the most part the top twenty comes out around the average with some variation either side. However, women above 35 seem to have performed much better with most of the top placers finishing ahead of the average.

The overall picture I’m seeing from this is of a normal year in Kona. A field composed of some of the fastest age groupers and largely typical conditions to race under.

You can access a spreadsheet of the results from the Ironman World Championship 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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