Ironman World Championship 2014: Results and Analysis

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The 2014 Ironman World Championship came to a close a little over an hour ago. Midnight in Hawaii is conveniently mid-morning in the UK, allowing me to immediately analyse this year’s results. So how does it compare? 2014 was a return to form following an unusually fast race the year before; splits are largely comparable to previous year’s results, perhaps subtly slower on the bike.

Median Splits by Age Group at the 2014 Ironman World Championship
Median Splits by Age Group at the Ironman World Championship 2004 - 2013

For the most part the medianss from this year’s race fall inline with those from the last ten years of racing in Kona. There are small variation across age groups, but not with a consistent trend or pattern to discuss. The pro athletes show improvements across all their splits, I suspect this is the results of the current qualification system narrowing the field and lowering those averages.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at the Ironman World Championships Comparing 2014 with Previous Years

It’s a little easier to pick out details in the distribution of splits. Here the subtle trend towards a slower bike is more easily seen – there appears to be a roughly 5 minute shift towards slower times than in previous years. Swim times also appear to be a touch slower, but the run looks to be on par. Combining the three, the overall distribution is slightly slower this year; it’s not a significant change, but would fit with reports of a choppy swim and windy conditions on the bike.

Top Twenty Male Performances by Age Group at the 2014 Ironman World Championship
Top Twenty Female Performances by Age Group at the 2014 Ironman World Championship

At the very front of the age group race we see results that tend to fall around the average for this race with a few age groups pushing ahead a little. While the overall picture for Kona suggested a slightly slower bike and overall distribution the front runers weren’t hit that hard. No records were set, but solid times were recorded by those on the podium with some pushing ahead of the averages.

In summary, 2014 looks like a typical year of racing in Kona with results comparable to the past. Slightly slower swim and bike times across the field would suggest conditions might have been a little bit tougher than usual, definitely more than in 2013. Overall though, I don’t think the variation was that large – certainly not enough to impact the front age groupers and not enough to make a serious dent in overall age group times.

I’ll likely run some more analysis on these results in the next few days and once my athlete in Kona uploads his data I’ll take a look at a sub-10 race there. For those who want to see a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from the 2014 Ironman World Championship it’s available on my Google Drive.

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