After the winter break the 2019 Ironman season kicked off in New Zealand. Ironman New Zealand is a long standing race with a mid-sized field of over 1,400 age groupers competing for the 40 Kona slots on offer. This year’s race looks to trend slightly slower than average for the course.
Note that I’ve excluded the 2012 race from this analysis as it was shortened due to race day conditions.
Although all three stages of this year’s race trend slower it’s the bike that has the most impact. The distribution trends slower from the front and back through the middle of the field. The swim is also noticeably slower, but makes up a smaller proportion of the race while the run doesn’t deviate far from the averages. Overall this was a slower year, but the cumulative differences aren’t huge.
DNF rates for this year’s race look to be typical for the course in recent years (noting that red row likely include DNS and DNF in one). The run is perhaps the one area where the DNF rate was higher than usual
It’s hard to read a clear picture from individual age group medians given the relatively small difference in split distributions this year. There are slower times, particularly in swim and bike, but the degree if often small – a matter of minutes.
Ironman New Zealand draws a broad field of athletes, but manages to keep half the slots in the country. Australia takes a further quarter of the available slots.
Conditions have varied a lot over the years and this is reflected in the historical times for specific age group positions. Most recently 2017 was a particularly slow year of racing, but others have also been slower. Although I form an average and distribution from this data, there’s more variation in the times than in many races.
Based on the start list I’ve estimated the Kona slot allocation for each age group and from that the automative qualifying times within age groups. Numbers may vary as it’s always possible that there are errors in the start list, adjustments to the allocation method and of course roll down to affect the final distribution.
Top twenty age grouper performances vary with division. Some are slower than average and some faster. Men over 50 and women between 40 and 55 are most obviously faster this year. Outside those age categories it’s more varied. When race distributions aren’t significantly different to usual natural variation in age group performances will show through clearly.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman New Zealand 2019 on my Google Drive.