A new addition to the US Ironman calendar, Ironman Maryland took place on Saturday. A relatively recent announcement – back in April – the field in Maryland was small by North American standards at around 1,450 age groupers. Only thirty Kona slots were up for grabs meaning, for the most part, age group wins were needed for qualification. There was also no professional field, although one female pro does appear in the results, so the race winners came from the age group ranks.
As a new event there are no past performances to compare this race against, so this analysis draws comparison with typical North American race performances.
Two differences jump out when comparing median splits from Maryland with the 2013 US aggregated results: Maryland’s swim was much slower than we’d expect and it’s bike was faster. The run varies, but generally isn’t significantly different from the US averages. Overall these changes result in a marginally faster race average for Maryland.
Comparing the split distributions emphasises these differences – swim much slower, bike much faster and the run not too disimilar. I’d note there’s more difference in run splits than I observed in the medians, with the 50th percentile coming out about 10 minutes slower in Maryland. The overall splits in Maryland are still clearly faster than the North American aggregate.
|Number of Athletes||Number of Slots|
I’ve estimated the meagre Kona slot allocation using the start numbers from the athlete tracker, final distributions may vary though. As mentioned before, due to the low number of slots, most age groups have a single chance to qualify; only the M40-44 age group is likely to have 3 slots on offer.
With only a single year to judge there’s not much to say about the top twenty performances across the age groups. Times at the front are on par with faster US races; there’s perhaps a little less depth in the top 5-10. A smaller field may make this a good contender as a qualifier, but the relative lack of slots means you need to be confident of a win in your age group.
On one year of racing Maryland seems to be one of the quicker US races on offer, were it not for the shortage of Kona slots it might make a strong recommendation for qualification. As it stands it looks like a good race for faster times, but qualification could be quite competitive. You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Maryland 2014 on my Google Drive.