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Ironman Boulder 2018: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

Ironman boulder is my first race analysis from a busy weekend of Ironman racing. This was the fifth year for the mid-sized US race which comes with the standard 40 age group Kona slots. Boulder is a race that normally draws a competitive front of pack, but is also a challenge for those unprepared for racing at altitude. There is a broad spread from fastest age groupers to the median.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Boulder 2018 Compared with 2014-2017

That broad spread is on display when we look at the split distributions. This year’s race is similar, if not a little faster at the fifth percentile, when compared with the previous four year. The front of the pack perform like normal. Median splits at this level tend to come out a little slower than the amalgamated data though.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman Boulder
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2014
2790
2260
19%
2206
2.4%
2001
9.3%
27.5%
2015
2769
2206
20.3%
2146
2.7%
2010
6.3%
27.4%
2016
1490
1459
2.1%
1415
3%
1313
7.2%
11.9%
2017
1338
1170
12.6%
1145
2.1%
1072
6.4%
19.9%
2018
1493
1427
4.4%
1338
6.2%
1205
9.9%
20.9%

Prior to 2016 the data mixed DNS and DNF numbers, but more recent years have allowed me to distinguish the two cleanly. DNF rates at Boulder are towards the high end for an Ironman. Almost 10% of those who started the marathon, didn’t complete it. this pushes Boulder up towards a 20% DNF rate at this years race, higher than either of the previous 2 years.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Boulder 2018
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Boulder 2014-2017

As seen in the distributions, the median splits at this year’s race – at least on bike and run – tend to be slower than the four previous years. From a whole race or whole age group perspective, this was a slower year.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Boulder
Country
Count
Percentage
United States
1416
83
Canada
55
3.2
Mexico
51
3
United Kingdom
26
1.5
Germany
16
0.9
Costa Rica
11
0.6
Colombia
11
0.6
Chile
10
0.6
Sweden
7
0.4
Brazil
7
0.4
Ironman Boulder 2018 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
United States
62.5
83.0
Canada
10.0
3.2
Mexico
7.5
3.0
Australia
2.5
0.4
Costa Rica
2.5
0.6
United Kingdom
2.5
1.5
Poland
2.5
0.3
Colombia
2.5
0.6
South Africa
2.5
0.1

As with most races the majority of competitors are from the host country with a mix coming from around the world. The US takes the majority of the slots on offer although not in proportion with their numbers.

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

Tracking age group times for specific places over the five years of racing in Boulder shows that at the front of the pack times tend to be close to or even faster than previous year. As we move further back in the field though we see this trend drop off. That said, the times aren’t too different from last year and the reduction in pace at places further back may also be a reflection in the reduction in overall field size.

Ironman Boulder 2018 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
1
08:55:46
08:55:46
08:55:46
M25-29
2
09:20:10
09:28:49
09:37:29
M30-34
3
09:08:57
09:23:02
09:39:11
M35-39
3
09:09:01
09:19:12
09:38:13
M40-44
3
09:28:16
09:38:33
09:43:57
M45-49
3
10:05:02
10:06:26
10:08:48
M50-54
3
09:17:53
09:52:57
10:11:13
M55-59
2
10:39:32
10:40:21
10:41:10
M60-64
1
11:07:10
11:07:10
11:07:10
M65-69
1
13:09:04
13:09:04
13:09:04
M70-74
1
14:41:08
14:41:08
14:41:08
F18-24
1
10:32:51
10:32:51
10:32:51
F25-29
2
10:29:02
10:33:37
10:38:13
F30-34
2
10:18:40
10:26:28
10:34:16
F35-39
2
10:23:34
10:29:09
10:34:45
F40-44
2
10:22:40
10:37:50
10:53:01
F45-49
2
10:22:11
10:52:32
11:22:54
F50-54
1
11:28:13
11:28:13
11:28:13
F55-59
1
12:01:01
12:01:01
12:01:01
F60-64
1
13:07:22
13:07:22
13:07:22
F65-69
1
14:15:19
14:15:19
14:15:19

Based on the slots available to the race and the start numbers I’ve estimated the Kona slot allocation above. From that I’ve calculated automatic qualifying times for each age group. Exact numbers may have varied and roll down would affect qualifying times too. You can compare with other races on my Kona qualification page.

Top Twenty Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Boulder 2018
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Boulder 2018

There’s a lot of variation between the age groups when we look at the top twenty results. No solid trend that crosses these divisions as a whole. This year seems most similar to the last year and varies around the average times quite a lot. Still a competitive race at the front, much as it’s always been, but a little slower as we head back in the field.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Boulder 2018 on my Google Drive.

All Ironman Results and Statistics

A growing collection of results and statistics for the whole Ironman race calendar.

Find out what it takes to place in your age group or to qualify for the Ironman Worlds Championships in Kona.

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