Ironman Cairns: Past Performances and Kona Qualifications

Latest statistics for Ironman Cairns

Had there been an Ironman Cairns during my time in Australia I might have made it that far north. As it was I never got further than an all too brief weekend in Noosa for its famous triathlon. Ironman Cairns is a relatively new edition to the Ironman calendar, only it’s second year under the brand although it started life as a Challenge race. It’s a small race, entries in the 1,350 region with 40 Kona slots available for the fastest age groupers. It’s also the final qualifier on the Australian Ironman calendar – for some the last chance to get a place.

While this is the third edition of the race I’ve only used data from 2012 in my pre-race analysis. With the previous year not being in the Athlete Tracker (as it was a Challenge event) it would take more work to put them in my database. In a normal week my need for completion would compel me to do this, but having spent the week in a classroom I haven’t had the time. Unfortunately this makes the figures presented here a little less reliable.


An accumulation of years of results tends to smooth out these distributions, in comparison one year can look a little scrappy. The 2012 distribution shows what I would consider a typical distribution for a marginally faster race. Peaks are skewed to the left and rapidly trail off with slowing times. Overall though it doesn’t appear to be a race for a fast time, although the relatively small field may also contribute to that with fewer fast athletes present.

Ironman Cairns 2012: Median Splits by Division

I can look at the median splits per age group for an alternative view on race performance. Again times start to place Cairns in the top half of the Ironman series. The professional performances aren’t exceptional – run times in particular slower than we’d expect. Much of this may come down to the field – pro numbers are low and few if any of the fastest are present. Similarly among the age groupers there isn’t much depth of field.

Predicted Kona Slot Allocation for Ironman Cairns
  Number of Athletes Number of Slots
F18-24 1 1
F25-29 21 1
F30-34 50 2
F35-39 40 2
F40-44 39 2
F45-49 33 1
F50-54 22 1
F55-59 13 1
F60-64 3 1
M18-24 25 1
M25-29 76 2
M30-34 193 4
M35-39 210 4
M40-44 262 5
M45-49 177 3
M50-54 96 2
M55-59 42 2
M60-64 39 2
M65-69 8 1
M70-74 5 1
M75-79 1 1
Total 1356 40

A total of 40 Kona slots will be allocated to the age groups present at Ironman Cairns, my estimate based on the current starting list are above. As ever it’s the 40-44 year old men who dominate the field and take the most slots.

Top 20 Male Age Group Performances and Kona Qualification at Ironman Cairns
Top 20 Female Age Group Performances and Kona Qualification at Ironman Cairns

One year offers limited data for would-be Kona qualifiers. In the case of the lone 18-24 year old woman there is no previous record to go by, but her task is simple – finish and she’ll get a slot. In all categories the top 20 show a very steep drop off in finishing times, suggesting that with smaller age group numbers the front-of-pack competition is weaker. That may be the case, but qualifying times remain fast and in the main male age groups you are looking to perform at least in the 9:30-9:45 region.

With limited data it’s hard to present a strong picture of a race and Ironman Cairns is in its infancy. It appears to have the potential for quite a fast event, although not on the level of Melbourne in the south. It’s relatively small field size has yet to show that fully.

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