The biggest Ironman of the weekend was the 2019 Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. Ironman Frankfurt is a large race and as a championship event comes with 80 age group Kona slots, but competition for them is high. Normally a fast course, but when conditions are as hot as they were at the weekend the pace slows. June has been a tough month for Ironman racing, like Cork the week before DNF rates were exceptional in Frankfurt.
Race distributions clearly reflect the impact of high heat on the race. The non-wetsuit swim naturally trends slower than the amalgamated results of the previous 10 years. The bike is around 20 minutes slower at the median and through to the top 5% of the field, and the run trends similarly behind. Overall the impact is around an hour at the median and around 30 minutes for the top 5%. Those are big shifts for a single year of racing.
Perhaps the clearest indicator of the challenging conditions is the exceptional DNF rate. As usual blue row have a clear separation of DNS and DNF figures while red rows merge DNS and DNF numbers. 2019 is the highest rate of DNF seen on the Frankfurt course with most athletes dropping out during the run.
Of course the age group medians show the same trends as the distributions. Almost consistently slower across swim, bike and run.
As we saw with Nice over the weekend, the major European races draw a wide range of nationalities and tend to spread Kona slots among them.
Comparing times for specific age group positions shows that the last time we saw such a slow day in Frankfurt was in 2015, another hot year. Generally Frankfurt has been quite consistent at the front of the race and it’s taken hot conditions to slow the course down. This year definitely falls towards the slow end of racing for Frankfurt.
Based on the start list for Frankfurt I’ve calculated the Kona slot allocation and from that the automatic qualification times in each age group. Numbers may vary and roll down will affect final qualifying times. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
The final piece of evidence of tough conditions is the times from the top twenty in each age group. In many age groups this year is the slowest of the last decade. That’s not a consistent pattern, but almost every division is slower than their average. The overall picture is that this was a slow year from front to back of the race and while the very front of the race tends to suffer less the impact of hot weather was still present.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Frankfurt 2019 on my Google Drive.