In the age group field this was a slightly faster year at Ironman Cairns. Not consistently, nor universally, but the front through to the middle of the pack finished faster than in the previous two years of the Ironman. Roughly 10% of athletes broke the 10 hour mark and the front of pack race for Kona slots was tighter than in previous events.
Comparing the median splits for each age division shows the inconsistent pattern of faster splits in bike and run. While quite a few categories were faster in both, there are some which are noticeably slower. I suspect conditions were typical for the course and what we’re seeing is variation in the competitive field. The trend to faster times is strongest in the large male field where the run in particular is noticeably quicker. Far fewer women raced so the pattern is less predictable among their age groups. With the exception of a much faster average male run split, the pro times are broadly comparable between the two years.
The distributions of splits (above) allow a slightly more nuanced look at timings for the race. We can see the 50% (median) mark was faster this year across all stages, but most significantly on the run. The shift in times is mainly in the middle of the pack, but carries through to the front where times were still a little faster.
Times over each age group’s top twenty finishers were broadly faster. Again this trend is most significant in the larger men’s field, but still present among the women. The spread of times in each of the men’s divisions was much smaller this year making for a closer race for podium and Kona positions. Where some races appear to be seeing a split between competitive age groupers at the front and the mid to back of pack athletes, this doesn’t appear to be the case in Cairns.
You can view a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Cairns 2014 on my Google Drive. I’ve also produced a PDF of this year’s top 10 in each age group along with previous years and some summary statistics from this below.