Racing season has started again and it’s a good start with favourable conditions in Taupo for Ironman New Zealand. The results from this year’s race saw course records in the pro fields and decent results from age groupers. There were also extra slots, 55 in total, a gift from the closure of Ironman Japan. So slightly better odds of getting a place if you can produce a fast enough time.
This is a quick review of results from Taupo as I wait for the second week of athletes to arrive for my training camp.
|Listed Athletes||Swim Finish||Swim DNS/DNF||Bike Finish||Bike DNF||Run Finish||Run DNF||Overall DNS/DNF|
The DNF/DNS rate for this year’s race is not the lowest seen, but it’s close and nowhere near the level of the toughest years (including race cancellations). Overall I’d describe these numbers as average for the course.
Comparing median splits across different age groups gives a mixed picture. The pros are clearly much faster, but among the age groups there’s some variation and not all matched this increase performance. In the major divisions, over 30 and under 50 the trend is towards faster split though, but outside of this it isn’t always the case. I’ll note here that while the historic range is from 2003-2015, instances where the race was shortened due to weather have been excluded in these stats.
Taking a broader view and looking at the distribution of age group splits (pro times are excluded in these charts), there isn’t that much difference between this year’s splits and past results. In fact there’s a separation between median times which appear to trend a little slower and the front of pack times which seem to be very slightly faster. These are not huge differences though.
This might point to a broader competitive field where fast front of pack age groupers are balanced out by a larger mid to back of pack. It could also indicate conditions worsening over the day resulting in a more challenging race for the slower athlete and those outside the pro ranks.
Checking how times have changed over the last decade of racing we can see how this year is tending towards the faster end of the spectrum. This is particularly the case when you consider age group winners, there are some fast times at the very front, but is also true a little further back. While it was course records for the pros it wasn’t quite as fast for the age groupers.
|Slots||Winner||Average Kona Qualifier||Final Qualifier|
The above table is an estimate of the slot allocation at New Zealand (actual numbers will of course vary from this) and based on this allocation the automatic qualification times at the race. You’ll find a lot more data on this on my Kona Qualification page.
It’s perhaps a little easier to interpret this data in pictorial form, the above charts break down top twenty times in each age group over the last decade so we can see how this year stands. It varies – as mentioned before, faster in the major age groups, but in other slower to average. For men over 25 qualifying times are some of the fastest seen at this race.
As usual, I’ve put a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman New Zealand 2016 on my Google Drive.