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Ironman Western Australia 2017: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

A shark sighting not far from the swim course turned Sunday’s Ironman Western Australia into a duathlon. Obviously that’s going to have a huge impact on any athlete’s day and also carry over into the results. Alongside this last minute change the race also carried extra slots, with 65 on offer over the usual 40.

I’m going to put this in bold as it’s important to note before you read any further: to allow a degree of comparison with past results I’ve subtracted swim times from athlete’s overall splits in the historical data. Of course, the impact of a last minute cancellation is more than just the time it takes to swim, but I thought this approach might give some context.

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

This year’s race trends slower – both bike and more significantly run trail behind past results. Bike times are mostly impacted at the mid to back of pack, but run times are shifted by 15 minutes across the age group field. When we compare the overall times with the adjusted times from the past decade this was a slower day despite the loss of the swim. Conditions look to have been tough outside of the water too.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Western Australia
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2004
779
779
0%
779
0%
778
0.1%
0%
2005
700
609
13%
615
%
588
4.4%
16%
2006
850
788
7.3%
788
0%
767
2.7%
9.6%
2007
997
921
7.6%
918
0.3%
900
2%
9.6%
2008
1179
1071
9.2%
1065
0.6%
1029
3.4%
12.7%
2009
1313
1229
6.4%
1203
2.1%
1124
6.6%
14.4%
2010
1294
1201
7.2%
1195
0.5%
997
16.6%
22.9%
2011
1259
1243
1.3%
1222
1.7%
1180
3.4%
6.3%
2012
1342
1332
0.7%
1309
1.7%
1239
5.3%
7.6%
2013
1402
1365
2.6%
1362
0.2%
1330
2.3%
5.1%
2014
1699
1419
16.5%
1397
1.6%
1329
4.9%
21.8%
2015
1189
1142
4%
1125
1.5%
1092
2.9%
8.2%
2016
1382
1374
0.6%
1347
2%
1318
2.2%
4.6%
2017
1438
1340
6.8%
1198
10.6%
16.7%

As well as this slower distribution of splits, the DNF rate for the race was also high. Bike DNF numbers appear to be the highest seen and run DNFs are only beaten by the 2010 race. Conditions for race day were clearly tough enough to eliminate any potential gain from missing an hour or more in the water.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Western Australia 2017
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Western Australia 2007-2016

Medians reflect the distribution’s trends. Broadly we see somewhat slower bikes and significantly slower runs. The pros highlight how the front of the field did manage to match or beat previous bike medians, but still the runs were slower.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Western Australia
Country
Count
Percentage
Australia
924
64.3
Japan
80
5.6
United Kingdom
64
4.5
Singapore
57
4
New Zealand
52
3.6
United States
29
2
Philippines
22
1.5
Malaysia
20
1.4
Hong Kong
19
1.3
Indonesia
19
1.3
Ironman Western Australia 2017 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
Australia
70.8
64.3
New Zealand
15.4
3.6
United Kingdom
4.6
4.5
Germany
1.5
1.0
Switzerland
1.5
0.5
Japan
1.5
5.6
Hong Kong
1.5
1.3
United States
1.5
2.0
South Africa
1.5
0.5

It’s mostly a local race, but Western Australia pulls athletes from around the Pacific and also a good turn out from the UK. Kona slots mostly stayed in Australia.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Western Australia
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Western Australia

Comparing with adjusted historic times (swim subtracted), we can see how this year’s race is effectively slower. As previously noted, it’s more noticeable further back in the field, those in first place are less affected. Of course, if I used the actual historic times without adjustment we’d see the opposite trend and this year’s race would appear slightly faster.

Ironman Western Australia 2017 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
2
08:54:30
08:59:17
09:04:05
M25-29
3
08:04:55
08:09:28
08:14:18
M30-34
5
07:49:36
08:11:41
08:23:29
M35-39
6
08:07:48
08:21:01
08:34:13
M40-44
8
08:12:19
08:39:36
08:56:28
M45-49
8
08:27:44
08:48:46
09:06:54
M50-54
5
08:46:41
09:07:00
09:37:36
M55-59
3
09:03:07
09:24:58
09:36:33
M60-64
2
09:08:41
09:38:39
10:08:38
M65-69
1
11:04:54
11:04:54
11:04:54
M70-74
1
13:22:02
13:22:02
13:22:02
M75-79
1
12:56:39
12:56:39
12:56:39
F18-24
1
09:28:33
09:28:33
09:28:33
F25-29
2
08:43:48
08:56:06
09:08:24
F30-34
3
08:52:29
09:15:41
09:48:34
F35-39
3
08:48:05
08:56:20
09:06:56
F40-44
3
08:52:54
08:59:29
09:03:13
F45-49
3
09:11:52
09:32:32
09:50:39
F50-54
2
09:37:29
09:58:26
10:19:24
F55-59
1
09:22:30
09:22:30
09:22:30
F60-64
1
12:18:16
12:18:16
12:18:16
F65-69
1
12:21:27
12:21:27
12:21:27

Based on the results list I’ve estimated the Kona slot allocation from each age group and from that the likely automatic qualifying times before any roll down. Actual numbers may vary from this. These times will be faster than normal, but you can compare with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

Finally, the top twenty in each age group, again comparing against adjusted historical results. The broad trend is towards a slower race when we only consider the bike and run. Most age groups come in slightly slower than average with the very front closing in on the averages. There are exceptions, F40-44 performed very well in the conditions and came in ahead of most adjusted times.

So the loss of a swim naturally made for faster times than usual on the course, but if we adjust past results and remove the swim element, this year’s race actually looks to have been a bit slower. Conditions in the water prevented a swim, but those on dry land made for a tough day of racing.

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

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