Ironman New Zealand, the first race of the 2018 season, took place this weekend. A long standing race that draws a field of around 1,200 athletes with 40 Kona slots on offer. Conditions have, on occasion, taken their toll on race day, resulting in adjustments and rescheduling in the past. This year’s race looks to have been pretty much by the book with times trending slightly behind past results.
Note that I’ve excluded the 2012 race from this analysis as it was shortened due to race day conditions.
Comparing the distribution of splits at this year’s race with the previous decade shows a small trend towards slower overall splits. This appear to come from the run, where times also trend slower than the aggregated data. Both swim and bike split distributions fall in line with the past results. What difference there is in the final distribution is small, around 10 minutes at the median, and appears to be the result of a heavy tail with a high proportion of finishers over the 13:00 mark
DNF numbers for this years race are comparable with previous years and perhaps on the low side. 2014 and 2015 offer the best comparison as numbers for most other years look to include DNS as well. Regular DNF numbers would suggest a typical year of racing.
As with the distributions above, it’s on the run splits where we see the biggest difference in age division medians. Swim and bike are broadly similar with variations across age groups.
New Zealand attracted quite a broad spread of athletes to the race with less than half the competitors racing at home. They held their own and took an equivalent proportion of Kona slots with a number of other nations outperforming their turn out.
Following the trends in results over a decade at Ironman New Zealand puts this year’s race somewhere in the middle. This does depend on position in the age groups – at the front of the race times tend to be towards the faster end of the spectrum, but further back in the pack and the race comes out slower.
Based on my estimated slot allocation I’ve calculated the likely automatic qualifying times for each age group at the race. As always numbers may vary slightly and roll downs will impact the final qualifying times where they happen. You can compare these numbers with other races on my Kona qualification page.
Looking at the top twenty in each age group, results vary around the average for the race. For those at the very front, on the age group podium, times tend to be ahead of the average, but behind that they vary either side depending on age group.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman New Zealand 2018 on my Google Drive.