Ironman Los Cabos 2015: Results and Analysis

Latest statistics for Ironman Los Cabos

Ironman Los Cabos has never been a fast race. In 2013, its inaugural year, athletes were punished by heavy winds and a long swim, the DNF rate was exceptionally high. Course changes and conditions improved things for 2014, but this year’s race appears to have been the slowest yet. Los Cabos is a small race by Ironman standards, less than 1,000 athletes made the start line. It still comes with the regular allocation of 40 Kona slots which may sound like good odds for would be qualifiers, but it’s not a fast, or easy course.

Update: since writing this analysis I’ve learned that this year’s race returned to the original, slower bike course and the move in race date also resulted in hotter conditions. Both factors would contribute to a slower race that aligned more closely with the 2013 event.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Los Cabos 2015 Compared with 2013-2014

There is a very obvious trend in bike, run and overall results, the shift in times this year is significant. There’s easily a 30 minute shift in overall finish times mostly made up of 15-20 minute changes in both bike and run. The swim sits more closely with the previous race distributions, but it’s worth noting this contain a long, slow 2013 swim alongside the more normal 2014 results. There’s little doubt that this years race was unusually slow.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Los Cabos
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2013 1346 1020 24.2 945 7.4 877 7.2 34.8
2014 871 855 1.8 823 3.7 748 9.1 13.3
2015 908 747 17.7 677 9.4 619 8.6 31.8

When a race is this slow it’s worth checking the DNS and DNF numbers. When looking at the table bear in mind that the swim and overall figures will include both DNS and DNF athletes. The athlete tracker doesn’t provide sufficient information to distinguish those that didn’t start from those that DNFed in the swim. From other sources I know that the DNF rate in 2013 was actually around 20%. What I can say is this years race looks to be similar.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Los Cabos 2015
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Los Cabos 2013-2014

There are no surprises when we compare median splits. We see slower bike and run times and more comparable swim times. Differences vary across age groups as we should expect, but as in the distributions the pattern is clear.

Changes in Male Age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Los Cabos
Changes in Female Age Group Finishing Times by Place at Ironman Los Cabos

Looking at how times have changed over the three years of racing we can see that 2014 has been the fastest year. This years results tend to be the slowest, although this is less significant at the front of most age groups. The small field size will influence this, but it’s not unusual to see less impact at the front of an age group; where conditions play a role it tend to be mid to back of pack athletes who come off worse.

Ironman Los Cabos 2015 Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 1 10:41:00 10:41:00 10:41:00
M25-29 2 9:39:52 9:42:29 9:45:06
M30-34 3 9:46:23 10:04:04 10:19:49
M35-39 4 9:25:06 9:34:58 9:58:36
M40-44 5 10:04:46 10:26:08 10:43:09
M45-49 4 10:18:46 10:39:30 10:53:30
M50-54 2 10:31:58 10:34:13 10:36:29
M55-59 2 11:58:20 11:58:20 11:58:20
M60-64 1 11:13:26 11:13:26 11:13:26
M65-69 1 12:00:19 12:00:19 12:00:19
M70-74 1 16:22:14 16:22:14 16:22:14
F18-24 1 13:26:05 13:26:05 13:26:05
F25-29 1 10:49:26 10:49:26 10:49:26
F30-34 2 10:43:13 11:18:01 11:52:49
F35-39 2 11:02:26 11:09:35 11:16:44
F40-44 2 11:10:07 11:16:43 11:23:20
F45-49 2 12:17:15 12:17:48 12:18:21
F50-54 1 11:38:00 11:38:00 11:38:00
F55-59 1 12:49:39 12:49:39 12:49:39
F60-64 1 15:22:54 15:22:54 15:22:54

A new table for this analysis. I’ve estimated the slot allocation in Los Cabos and used those numbers to look at qualifying times for the race. You can see the age group winning times along with the average qualifying time and the time for the last placed qualifier. Obviously roll down is not factored in and actual slot numbers will depend on exact start numbers in each age group (given I can’t accurately track DNS). You can compare this to the Los Cabos averages and those of other races on my new Kona Qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Los Cabos 2015
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Los Cabos 2015

The charts above give a more graphical representation of the data in the table. Here we see that for most age groups this year was much slower in the top twenty. There are exceptions, with a few of the Kona qualifiers being as fast as usual and also some of the younger age groups performing as before. There’s enough slow down here to suggest that conditions were tougher than 2014.

I can’t say why Ironman Los Cabos proved so slow this year? Conditions presumably played a roll, but I’ve not seen any clear indication that they were unusually tough. I’d be interested to hear what race day was like from those on the course.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Los Canbos 2015 on my Google Drive.

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