Another busy weekend of racing just gone. I’m going to start my analyses close to home with Ironman Wales. Now into it’s 7th year, Wales is one of the toughest Ironman courses on the circuit, but still draws around 2,000 entrants. This year the event was given some additional Kona slots taking the total up to 65 qualifying places for the 2018 Ironman championship. Conditions on Sunday were wet and windy making this tough race tougher still.
With the exception of the swim, which trends within the bounds of past results, every stage of this race was slower. At the median the bike was around 15 minutes slower than the 6-year aggregate results and the run around 10 minutes slower. Clear indications that conditions made for a particularly tough day in Tenby.
We have clean DNS numbers for this year’s race, so the DNF figures should be accurate at every stage. Bear in mind that older races mix DNF and DNS in the swim and overall when comparing. Bike DNF numbers at this year’s race are the highest seen for this course and a step above previous years. Run DNFs are more typical for the course, lying somewhere in the bottom half of results. The confusion over DNF/DNS in past years makes it hard to be certain, but it looks like this year had the highest DNF rate for the Wales course though.
Comparison of medians at the age group level shows the same pattern as the distributions above – clearly slower bike and run times for almost every division. Pro times remain very similar to previous results with a slower male bike split being the most notable change.
It’s a majority UK race, but slots are heavily divided among many of the other nationalities present. As an early qualifier for 2018 and with extra slots Wales may have drawn a lot of Kona chasers.
Tracking times for specific age group placings over the last 7 years helps put this year’s race in context for the event. It’s clearly not among the fastest years, we can see in comparison with 2016 it slowed a lot. You can also see other years that have been slower, it’s debut in 2011 and 2015 stand out.
Based on the start list I’ve calculated the likely Kona slot distribution across the age groups and from there the automatic qualifying times in each age group. Actual numbers will vary and roll down will affect final qualifying times. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
While the median times across age groups slowed, for the top twenty athletes results lie much closer to the course averages. There’s some variation around this, but for the most part times at the front of the race were typical for the course. For quite a few of the age groups podium and qualifying times were a little slower than usual, but it’s marginal. Conditions had less impact on those at the front of the race.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Wales 2017 on my Google Drive.