This weekend saw the final qualifiers for the 2017 Ironman World Championship in Kona. The first race I’ll look at is Ironman Coeur d’Alene; if only because it’s proving the more popular of the two on the site. This year’s race had an additional 10 slots, giving a total of 50 slots on offer to a field of 1,100 athletes. The race trended significantly slower than usual and for some age groups final qualifying times were also down.
As the distributions show, while swim times were similar to the 10 year aggregate both bike and run times were slower. Consequently there’s a big shift to the overall distribution with the median coming in 40 minutes behind the historical results. I’d note that the size of the field has halved in recent years and this certainly has an impact when comparing with larger races in the past. Still, these are big changes.
I suspect the DNS numbers for this years race are mixed with DNFs in the results I’ve pulled; this confuses and raises the swim and overall percentages, but both bike and run remain clean. It’s often been the case that there’s not been a clear distinction to be made and this year’s numbers compare well with those from previous years. Both run and bike DNF rates have increased in the last few years alongside the reduction in entry numbers.
Just like the distribution the age group medians follow the same trend of much slower times at this year’s race. It’s quite pronounced and true across all age groups.
There are few entries from outside North America. So much so that a handful of unattributed athletes make third place on the list.
Given the long history of results used, it’s useful to track back times and positions for the last decade to see how things change. When the field shrinks you tend to see sharper drop offs in times for those placing further back – 50th in an age group of 400 athletes is different to 50th when the division is only 150. From 2015 on times have slowed and most markedly for those towards the back. Coeur d’Alene has never been among the fastest Ironman courses, but this year’s race is among the slowest for the event.
I’ve ensured the slot allocation numbers should be correct despite some confusion over exact start numbers in the data I pulled. Still, I can’t account for roll down in the figures so the final qualification times will vary with that. You can compare with other races on my Kona qualification page.
Reviewing the top twenty times for each age group and we have plenty tracking well behind their averages and many with the slowest times of the last decade. Men between 30 and 40 certainly saw slower qualification times than usual, but for most age groups the top placings came in close to average and the gap opens up further back.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2017 on my Google Drive.