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Ironman Texas 2018: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

The 2018 Ironman North American Championship, Ironman Texas took place over the weekend. It’s a large race with over 2,500 athletes starting, 80 Kona slots on offer to age groupers and a fast course to compete on. This year was exceptional – the fastest seen on the course (the 2016 times involved a heavily reduced bike) – in some instances a sub-9 wouldn’t even see you in the top 15 of your age group.

Here’s the usual notes ahead of the graphs. The bike and run course on this years race are reportedly slightly short, but not to a degree that I’d anticipate hugely influencing times. Two miles shorter on the bike, as reported, would be 6 minutes difference at 20 miles per hour for example. I’ve have excluded the 2016 race from this analysis though, as it’s bike course was much more significantly shortened.

I’ve also seen the pictures and videos of bike pelotons. Drafting obviously aids bike (and run) splits, but I don’t have the data to produce any meaningful analysis of this. I’ll leave discussion of what might be done for another day, I don’t think there are easy solutions when you want 2,500 racing at once.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Texas 2018 Compared with 2011-2017

It was clearly a good day for racing in Texas. Both swim and run distributions trend ahead of the 2011-2017 aggregate results. It’s the bike that’s exceptional though. What was a top 25% bike split in previous years is a top 50% bike split this year. That’s quite a shift. You can also see a leading peak in the 4:30-4:45 range, with a full 10% of age groupers coming in under 4:45.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Texas
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2011
2658
2157
18.8%
2119
1.8%
2004
5.4%
24.6%
2012
2755
2270
17.6%
2177
4.1%
2022
7.1%
26.6%
2013
2814
2408
14.4%
2268
5.8%
2052
9.5%
27%
2014
2434
2393
1.7%
2322
3%
2203
5.1%
9.4%
2015
2588
2532
2.2%
2450
3.2%
2239
8.6%
13.5%
2016
3031
2334
23%
2288
2%
2213
3.3%
27%
2017
2346
2346
0%
2275
3%
2205
3.1%
6%
2018
2560
2536
0.9%
2469
2.6%
2345
5%
8.8%

Allowing for the fact that prior to 2017 figures include DNS numbers it doesn’t look like there’s much difference in DNFs for this years race. Percentages of DNFs are mid to low on bike and run. Nothing that suggests either exceptional conditions or anything tougher than usual.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2018
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2011-2017

Of course we see big jumps forward in the age group bike medians in the above charts. Swim and run faster too, but on the bike times are often 30 minutes faster or more.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Texas
Country
Count
Percentage
United States
2162
73.6
Mexico
140
4.8
Canada
92
3.1
United Kingdom
35
1.2
Brazil
32
1.1
Argentinia
27
0.9
France
27
0.9
Australia
26
0.9
Costa Rica
24
0.8
Colombia
23
0.8
Ironman Texas 2018 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
United States
55.0
73.6
Canada
8.8
3.1
Switzerland
3.8
0.4
Belgium
3.8
0.4
France
3.8
0.9
Czech Republic
2.5
0.2
Brazil
2.5
1.1
Mexico
2.5
4.8
Austria
1.3
0.1
Japan
1.3
0.5
Turkey
1.3
0.2
Argentinia
1.3
0.9
Venezuela
1.3
0.4
Italy
1.3
0.5
South Africa
1.3
0.3
Colombia
1.3
0.8
Denmark
1.3
0.5
United Kingdom
1.3
1.2
Spain
1.3
0.6
El Salvador
1.3
0.1
Panama
1.3
0.2
Germany
1.3
0.6

There’s a largely US field at Ironman Texas, but the slots get distributed over quit a range of nationalities in attendance.

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

Tracking times for specific age group positions over the years shows how this year’s race was clearly faster than before. While all times appear to have gotten faster, there’s a tightening of times at the front. First place in each age group isn’t necessarily that much faster than before, but 5th or 10th have often closed in on it. When you move back to 100th place in an age group the improvement isn’t necessarily on the same scale either. Overall though, times were faster across the top 100.

Ironman Texas 2018 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
2
09:14:35
09:14:44
09:14:53
M25-29
4
08:36:19
08:44:55
08:53:46
M30-34
6
08:17:24
08:35:43
08:45:35
M35-39
8
08:27:04
08:39:29
08:46:02
M40-44
10
08:21:39
08:39:16
08:47:27
M45-49
10
08:40:01
08:52:06
09:02:53
M50-54
6
09:02:29
09:10:04
09:15:27
M55-59
5
09:25:01
09:45:05
10:05:07
M60-64
2
10:11:56
10:14:18
10:16:40
M65-69
1
10:43:18
10:43:18
10:43:18
M70-74
1
11:20:07
11:20:07
11:20:07
M75-79
1
14:16:19
14:16:19
14:16:19
F18-24
1
10:30:28
10:30:28
10:30:28
F25-29
2
09:00:49
09:15:27
09:30:06
F30-34
3
09:27:13
09:32:41
09:36:09
F35-39
3
09:34:28
09:40:27
09:46:44
F40-44
4
09:29:04
09:35:53
09:39:56
F45-49
4
09:10:01
09:37:52
09:57:27
F50-54
3
09:44:58
10:07:58
10:23:13
F55-59
2
10:46:41
10:51:49
10:56:58
F60-64
1
12:15:29
12:15:29
12:15:29
F65-69
1
13:51:17
13:51:17
13:51:17

I’ve calculated a slot allocation based on the start numbers and from that estimated the automatic qualifying times in each age group. Final numbers might vary on this. Roll downs aren’t factored in. Fast aren’t they! For comparison with other races, you can check my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2018
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Texas 2018

Finally, the top twenty in each age group. With rare exception times are significantly faster than average and faster than previous races. From 30 through to 50 men needed a sub-9 to qualify and women a sub-10. There aren’t many races that can claim that, not least when 80 slots were distributed over the field.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Texas 2018 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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