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Ironman New Zealand 2019: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

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.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman New Zealand 2019 Compared with 2009-2018

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.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman New Zealand
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2009
1358
1271
6.4%
1255
1.3%
1235
1.6%
9.1%
2010
1253
1137
9.3%
1134
0.3%
1119
1.3%
10.7%
2011
1312
1278
2.6%
1270
0.6%
1250
1.6%
4.6%
2013
1432
1309
8.6%
1273
2.8%
1224
3.8%
14.5%
2014
1586
1558
1.8%
1537
1.3%
1497
2.6%
5.6%
2015
1131
1119
1.1%
1073
4.1%
1049
2.2%
7.2%
2016
1253
1242
0.9%
1207
2.8%
1164
3.6%
7.1%
2017
1253
1100
12.2%
1028
6.5%
996
3.1%
20.5%
2018
1144
1135
0.8%
1109
2.3%
1075
3.1%
6%
2019
1433
1426
0.5%
1386
2.8%
1331
4%
7.1%

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

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2019
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2009-2018

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.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman New Zealand
Country
Count
Percentage
New Zealand
672
43.8
Australia
289
18.8
United States
131
8.5
United Kingdom
88
5.7
China
62
4
Japan
58
3.8
Philippines
35
2.3
Canada
24
1.6
Thailand
21
1.4
Germany
12
0.8
Ironman New Zealand 2019 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
New Zealand
52.5
43.8
Australia
25.0
18.8
United States
7.5
8.5
Japan
2.5
3.8
Switzerland
2.5
0.4
United Kingdom
2.5
5.7
South Africa
2.5
0.6
Sweden
2.5
0.2

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.

Changes in Male Finishing Times by Position at Ironman New Zealand
Changes in Female Finishing Times by Position at Ironman New Zealand

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.

Ironman New Zealand 2019 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
1
09:19:39
09:19:39
09:19:39
M25-29
2
09:02:33
09:09:49
09:17:06
M30-34
2
09:22:55
09:26:46
09:30:37
M35-39
3
09:05:54
09:18:09
09:24:41
M40-44
4
08:54:29
09:15:53
09:26:09
M45-49
4
09:02:17
09:24:33
09:34:02
M50-54
3
09:47:57
09:55:01
09:58:45
M55-59
2
10:05:10
10:07:47
10:10:24
M60-64
1
11:06:22
11:06:22
11:06:22
M65-69
1
11:45:10
11:45:10
11:45:10
M70-74
1
14:11:48
14:11:48
14:11:48
M75-79
1
14:20:42
14:20:42
14:20:42
F18-24
1
12:25:44
12:25:44
12:25:44
F25-29
1
10:09:52
10:09:52
10:09:52
F30-34
1
10:03:53
10:03:53
10:03:53
F35-39
1
10:01:41
10:01:41
10:01:41
F40-44
2
10:24:02
10:35:35
10:47:09
F45-49
2
09:56:05
10:16:27
10:36:49
F50-54
2
10:46:58
11:07:39
11:28:20
F55-59
1
12:12:08
12:12:08
12:12:08
F60-64
1
12:41:17
12:41:17
12:41:17
F65-69
1
13:28:34
13:28:34
13:28:34
F70-74
1
15:49:46
15:49:46
15:49:46

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 Male Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2019
Top Twenty Female Performances and Kona Qualification by Age Group at Ironman New Zealand 2019

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.

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