Ironman Brazil, the South American Championship, took place last weekend. By this point I’m sure you’ll have heard about Tim Don’s new Ironman record (and any ensuing debate over Ironman versus Iron distance records or the impact of course variation), but I focus on age group performance. Was this a record breaking year for age groupers? There are 75 Kona slots available in Brazil and the race for them was definitely one of the fastest Brazil has seen.
Before I continue some notes on the results. While collecting and processing the results today (4 days after the race) I found issues with the timings for some age groupers. In some instances the athlete tracker listed the run time as the finish time and appeared to have ranked the athlete based on this. The actual finish time was available on the athlete page (from the race time at run finish) and I’ve used this as required. Perhaps more notable was an unusual number of age group finishers with run times below 3 hours (61 in my results), far more than I’ve seen in any other race. Basically, I have my suspicions about this results set.
Brazil had very favourable race conditions – calm and cool for the most part. This is reflected across the results with every stage trending faster than the aggregate of previous years. The biggest difference is on the run, although this may be weighted by that high number of sub-3 hour age group run times. The net effect seems to be in the order of 30 minutes at the median.
|Listed Athletes||Swim Finish||Swim DNS/DNF||Bike Finish||Bike DNF||Run Finish||Run DNF||Overall DNS/DNF|
DNF and DNS rates have varied quite widely at this race. Some of this may come down to reporting in the athlete tracker, the most recent year clearly distinguishes DNS in the results meaning we have a more accurate DNF picture for the swim. DNF in bike and run look to fall in the mid ground for this race.
Comparing median splits for age groups throws up another set of errors from the results – not all record a T1 time. This may be included in bike splits for some age groups, potentially skewing the times for that segment of the race. Other than that we can see the broad trend to faster times across the age groups.
|Country||Percentage of Slots||Percentage of Field|
The majority of athletes come from Brazil or Argentina and they also claim most of the Kona slots (based on assumed slot distribution).
Looking at the changes in finishing times across different age groups and places shows this years race really was one of the fastest on the course. That said it falls quite close with previous years when considering a spread of age groups and positions, it’s not universally faster.
|Slots||Winner||Average Kona Qualifier||Final Qualifier|
Based on the start numbers for this race, I’ve estimated what the slot distribution might have looked like and from that what time would automatically qualify. Actual times will vary where the allocation differed or roll downs happened. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
Finally, when we look at the top 20 times for each age group there’s little doubt this was a fast year. Almost every age group was faster than the averages, most were faster than any of the previous 10 years of racing. That’s quite a significant step up in times and shows the front of the race was particularly fast this year. My only note being the potential influence of the high number of sub-3 hour marathons which makes me question some of the timings.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Brazil 2017 on my Google Drive. Just be aware, not all times have been sanitised and corrected and that rankings taken from the athlete tracker are incorrect.