Ironman Brazil: Past Performances and Kona Qualification

Latest statistics for Ironman Brazil

This year Florian√≥polis is the first of two Brazilian Ironman races with a second event taking place in Fortaleza later in the year. It’s a smaller race than many of its North American counterparts with roughly 1,900 competitors, but still carries a complement of 50 slots for the 2014 Ironman World Championships. Those are potentially good odds.

You can find more detailed, age group specific information at the end of this post, but first I’ll look at the broad pattern of results.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Brazil 2006-2013
Median Splits by Category at 2013 North American Ironman Races

As the sole South American race (until now) I’ll compare the results of the last 8 years at Ironman Brazil against the 2013 North American averages. It should be noted that 2011 has been excluded from the data as I’ve been unable to source a full and accurate results set. The comparison is easy: the average splits in Ironman Brazil are significantly faster than is typical of US races. On this evidence alone we might conclude that Brazil is the faster event but I think it’s a little more complicated than this.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Brazil 2006-2013
Distribution of Finisher Splits at All 2013 North American Ironman Races

Comparing the distributions of finisher splits helps build a more detailed picture. While the median (50% mark) is significantly different between these two sets of charts it’s notable that the difference in splits reduces as we move towards the front of the field. Brazil remains the faster race, but by the fifth percentile the margin is greatly reduced. It’s also worth noting that in aggregating the North American results like this we are merging times from faster and slower courses for comparison with one single course.

Before considering the final element of the main analysis let’s look at the Kona slot allocation.

Predicted Kona Slot Allocation for Ironman Brazil 2014
  Number of Athletes Number of Slots
F18-24 4 1
F25-29 17 1
F30-34 29 2
F35-39 38 2
F40-44 31 2
F45-49 21 1
F50-54 11 1
F55-59 7 1
F60-64 3 1
M18-24 28 1
M25-29 136 3
M30-34 343 6
M35-39 432 8
M40-44 367 7
M45-49 220 4
M50-54 129 3
M55-59 50 2
M60-64 22 1
M65-69 5 1
M70-74 2 1
M75-79 1 1
Total 1896 50

The numbers in the table above, including the estimated slot allocations, are taken from the Ironman Brazil website. I will note that my own estimates differed slightly, but given this is an official source I’m going with the Brazilian numbers. Either way exact numbers of slots will depend on the exact number of starters on the day and may vary.

As is often the case with races away from the major hubs of Ironman racing overall numbers are lower and the majority of athletes are local to the event – typically two thirds of athletes racing are Brazilian. The demographics also appear to favour younger age groups and are far more male dominated (roughly 90% of the field is male) than the North American norm.

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

Performances of the top 20 athletes in each age category are fast. For the men qualifying times fall in the low 9 hour range through to 10 hours at the outside for those in their forties. The drop off from first to twentieth is also relatively small; there’s definitely competition at the front. Despite its relatively small size the women’s field has been quite consistent over the years with qualifying times falling around the 10:30 mark.

Comparing these charts against a race like Texas and I wouldn’t say that Brazil is obviously the faster course. Times and competition at the front of the pack look quite similar in fact. While I do believe the Florian√≥polis course is relatively fast I also suspect that differences in the composition of the field explain much of the improvements in average splits over US races. Basically larger US races have a lot more entrants looking to complete rather than compete and these slower athletes help weight the average and distributions towards slower times. All of which means that while Ironman Brazil may offer you a potentially faster course it’s less likely to offer you an easier ride to qualification.

Detailed Age Group Statistics

Age group specific Ironman Brazil results analysis. More charts and more detailed timings and splits for top age grouper and Kona qualifiers.

Select an age group to view or download PDF

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As always a detailed race analysis will follow after the weekend.

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