Ironman 70.3 UK: Past Performances at Wimbleball

The only reason I don’t analyse Ironman 70.3 results is there are far too many of them – the 2013 70.3 series consists of 55 races. Combine that with 29 Ironman events and compiling statistics begins to look like a full time job. Better to leave well alone. I am going to make an exception in the case of Wimbleball. The UK 70.3 has a well earned reputation for toughness; the course undulates, often steeply, and splits are slower for it. Last year it even broke my bike. You don’t go to Wimbleball for a fast time, you go for the challenge.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman 70.3 UK Races
Ironman 70.3 UK: Median Splits by Division

The UK 70.3 moved to Wimbleball in 2006 which gives me 7 years of results to examine. Unfortunately, being the only half distance event in my database I’ve little to compare it with. The two charts above show the distribution of splits and the median split times by age groups. Both give some indication as to the speed of this event. It’s slow. The average splits at Wimbleball are a 38:59 swim, a 3:34:53 bike and a 2:05:22 run; the average finish time is 6:28:37. Relatively few break 5 hours outside of the professional ranks and those that do will almost certainly qualify for the World Championships in Vegas.

Predicted Vegas Slot Allocation for Ironman 70.3 UK
  Number of Athletes Number of Slots
F18-24 15 1
F25-29 37 1
F30-34 49 2
F35-39 39 2
F40-44 32 1
F45-49 19 1
F50-54 16 1
F55-59 5 1
F60-64 1 1
M18-24 58 2
M25-29 209 4
M30-34 301 5
M35-39 284 5
M40-44 291 5
M45-49 188 3
M50-54 69 2
M55-59 20 1
M60-64 9 1
M65-69 3 1
Total 1645 40

There are 40 qualifying slots for Vegas on offer. They’re distributed along the same lines as Kona slots so I applied the same algorithm to estimate the allocation above. Numbers on the day will be determined by actual starters and will likely vary. Examining the top 20 in each age group gives some appreciation of the performances required from those looking to qualify.

Top 20 Performances by Male Age Groups at Ironman 70.3 UK in Wimbleball
Top 20 Performances by Female Age Groups at Ironman 70.3 UK in Wimbleball

Relatively few women race at Wimbleball and so there are relatively few slots available. As is often the case this means you typically need to win your age group outright to be certain of qualifying. There’s quite a lot of variance in the women’s results which makes it harder to pin down times. The picture is a little clearer on the men’s side – as a rough rule I would want to be sub 5:15 to have a chance, and would view 5:00 as a much safer bet, at least until the age of 50. As mentioned, relatively few age groupers break the 5 hour mark at this race.

It will involve an early start, but I’m looking forward to standing on the sidelines spectating this Sunday. I’ve plenty of athletes to cheer on, Wimbleball is a popular event among those I coach.

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