Ironman Malaysia 2016: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

A more recent article about this race is available

This weekend saw Ironman Malaysia take place in typically hot and humid conditions. Since it’s relaunch in 2014 Malaysia has established itself as one of the tougher, slower Ironman races thanks to those conditions. If you can handle the heat there are 40 Kona slots on offer at age group athletes.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Malaysia 2016 Compared with 2014-2015

The 2016 race trends faster than results from the previous two years. It’s all relative though with less than 3% of the age group field breaking the 10 hour mark this is far from a fast course. Much of this year’s apparent speed up can also be explained by a particularly slow set of results in 2015 that pull down the past averages.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Malaysia
Listed Athletes Swim Finish Swim DNS/DNF Bike Finish Bike DNF Run Finish Run DNF Overall DNS/DNF
2014 1094 1073 1.9% 1004 6.4% 915 8.9% 16.4%
2015 761 745 2.1% 704 5.5% 617 12.4% 18.9%
2016 944 940 0.4% 893 5% 825 7.6% 12.6%

Comparing the DNF and DNS data from the three year’s of racing shows 2016 to have been the most successful so far with the lowest rates all round. This might suggest that conditions proved a little more favourable than in previous years, or perhaps competitors had a better idea of what to expect.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Malaysia 2016
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Malaysia 2014-2015

Age group medians vary, but for the most part trend faster as expected. There’s more variation among female age groups where relatively small field sizes puts more weight on outlier results. In all cases age group medians are at the slow end of what we usually see at an Ironman event.

Ironman Malaysia 2016 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country Percentage of Slots Percentage of Field
Australia 35.0 7.4
Japan 10.0 14.4
Spain 7.5 1.7
Singapore 7.5 6.9
Denmark 5.0 1.1
Ireland 5.0 0.4
Canada 2.5 0.6
Germany 2.5 2.8
Korea 2.5 1.1
Belgium 2.5 0.7
South Africa 2.5 0.4
Portugal 2.5 0.2
Switzerland 2.5 0.6
Czech Republic 2.5 0.7
France 2.5 2.4
Philippines 2.5 5.4
Italy 2.5 0.7
Russia 2.5 0.7

A broad spread of nations finished in automatic Kona qualifying spots (before roll down takes place), but the majority went to Australian or Japanese athletes. Malaysians don’t appear to have picked up any qualifying spots at least by placing.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Malaysia
Count Percentage
Malaysia 285 30.2
Japan 136 14.4
Australia 70 7.4
Singapore 65 6.9
Philippines 51 5.4
United Kingdom 35 3.7
Thailand 31 3.3
Germany 26 2.8
France 23 2.4
Spain 16 1.7

There’s also a very broad spread of nationalities racing in Malaysia. Almost a third of athletes are Malaysian, low for a hosting nation, the rest come from round the world.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Malaysia
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman Malaysia

Tracking age group finishing times by placings over the three years of racing shows 2016 to be the fastest year yet. It does vary with division, in some instances 2014 or even 2015 were faster, but for most this year is the quickest so far. It’s also evident how the top placings in an age group show less annual variation than those back in the middle or back of pack.

Ironman Malaysia 2016 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
  Slots Winner Average Kona Qualifier Final Qualifier
M18-24 2 10:31:23 10:48:20 11:05:17
M25-29 3 9:30:51 9:36:00 9:42:32
M30-34 4 9:15:53 9:28:39 9:41:55
M35-39 5 9:53:48 9:56:01 9:58:37
M40-44 5 9:30:29 10:01:57 10:12:38
M45-49 4 9:34:19 9:53:39 10:03:42
M50-54 2 10:34:33 10:36:18 10:38:04
M55-59 2 10:51:20 11:02:44 11:14:09
M60-64 1 12:16:58 12:16:58 12:16:58
M65-69 1 13:14:34 13:14:34 13:14:34
M70-74 1 13:53:09 13:53:09 13:53:09
F18-24 1 11:22:53 11:22:53 11:22:53
F25-29 1 11:59:53 11:59:53 11:59:53
F30-34 1 10:57:04 10:57:04 10:57:04
F35-39 1 10:15:13 10:15:13 10:15:13
F40-44 2 11:11:06 11:14:57 11:18:49
F45-49 1 10:50:37 10:50:37 10:50:37
F50-54 1 12:38:57 12:38:57 12:38:57
F55-59 1 12:00:49 12:00:49 12:00:49
F60-64 1 14:39:25 14:39:25 14:39:25

I’ve not seen the final Kona slot allocations for Malaysia so I’ve calculated the likely slot allocation based on the athlete list. From that I’ve calculated automatic qualifying times assuming there are no roll downs. You can compare these times with other races on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Malaysia 2016
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Malaysia 2016

Finally, we can look at top twenty performances in each age group. For the major, male age groups 2016 times are very clearly faster. As noted before, at the very front of the age group race the differences in times are much smaller. It’s often the case that variation in race conditions have a much smaller effect on the fastest age group athletes and that seems to be the case here too.

While Ironman Malaysia will remain one of the slowest Ironman races on the calendar, this year appears to have been a relatively fast one for the event.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results and splits from Ironman Malaysia 2016 on my Google Drive.

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