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Ironman UK 2019: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

I’ll start this week’s analyses with Ironman UK. A mid-sized race with the standard 40 Kona slots on offer to age groupers. While it’s been hosted in Bolton for a decade this year’s race saw large changes to the bike course. The new course has had a major impact on results, slowing an already slow Ironman further.

2018 results have been excluded from amalgamated data due to the shortening of the bike course last year. Other variations in the Bolton course remain as they were not as significant.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman UK 2019 Compared with 2009-2017

It’s quite clear that the new bike course has had a large impact on race results. Comparing with the previous 10 years of racing in Bolton shows a roughly 30 minute slowing of the distribution from front to back. This pushes many more athletes closer to the bike course cut off than before. Swim and run distributions don’t vary too much. the run is a little slower, possibly a knock on effect from the longer bike. Naturally the overall distribution is slower for this year’s race too.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman UK 2019
Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Wales 2011-2018
Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Lanzarote 2010-2019

Given the size of the shift and the much slower bike median I thought I’d compare distributions with a couple of other races at the slow end of the Ironman Calendar. The new Bolton bike course trends slower than either the Wales or Lanzarote courses. Lanzarote is faster at the front of the race which may reflect the field that it draws. The welsh distribution trend about 20 minutes faster than the new UK bike course. It’s worth remembering we’re looking at one year of data for the new course, so we can’t say exactly how representative these results will prove to be.

DNS and DNF Rates at Ironman UK
Year
Listed Athletes
Swim Finish
Swim DNS/DNF
Bike Finish
Bike DNF
Run Finish
Run DNF
Overall DNS/DNF
2009
1652
1252
24.2%
1252
0%
1255
%
23.7%
2010
1109
1046
5.7%
1046
0%
1047
%
5.1%
2011
1115
1026
8%
1026
0%
1036
%
6.9%
2012
1275
1273
0.2%
1210
4.9%
1180
2.5%
7.5%
2013
1450
1424
1.8%
1381
3%
1354
2%
6.6%
2014
1748
1728
1.1%
1639
5.2%
1602
2.3%
8.3%
2015
1861
1855
0.3%
1739
6.3%
1707
1.8%
8.3%
2016
1826
1812
0.8%
1724
4.9%
1685
2.3%
7.7%
2017
1874
1854
1.1%
1744
5.9%
1717
1.5%
8.3%
2018
1890
1881
0.5%
1847
1.8%
1806
2.2%
4.4%
2019
1618
1599
1.2%
1369
14.4%
1336
2.4%
17.2%

We do see an increase in DNF rates from this years race. Again the fault lies with the bike where the rate shot up into double figures. Potentially much of this comes from athletes being pushed outside of the cutoff time on the longer course, certainly there is a lot more weight towards the tail of the bike distribution. It’s hard to say how much of this is the case and while the course is slower, cut off times were standard.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman UK 2019

Comparing the age group medians reiterates the pattern of the distribution. A significantly slower bike median across age groups. Run medians are slightly slower, but not as consistently across age divisions.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman UK
Country
Count
Percentage
United Kingdom
1740
89.7
Ireland
33
1.7
United States
18
0.9
Poland
13
0.7
France
11
0.6
South Africa
11
0.6
Germany
11
0.6
Italy
9
0.5
Australia
6
0.3
Netherlands
6
0.3
Ironman UK 2019 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
United Kingdom
60.0
89.7
France
7.5
0.6
United States
5.0
0.9
Italy
5.0
0.5
Denmark
2.5
0.1
Sweden
2.5
0.2
Germany
2.5
0.6
Netherlands
2.5
0.3
New Zealand
2.5
0.2
Slovakia
2.5
0.1
Switzerland
2.5
0.2
Monaco
2.5
0.1

Ironman UK largely draws a local crowd with a small number of other nationalities racing. The Kona slots look to be spread a little more widely though.

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

Tracking the times for specific age group positions shows how Ironman UK has been quite a variable race over the years. 2019 does push towards the slowest times, but this varies with size of division and also position within the division. At the very front of the race the change is often much smaller and times aren’t so far from previous years. Further back in the age groups and the impact is larger. We can also see how much faster 2018’s short course was in comparison.

Ironman UK 2019 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
1
09:53:00
09:53:00
09:53:00
M25-29
3
10:03:50
10:17:32
10:25:15
M30-34
4
09:38:05
09:56:34
10:06:51
M35-39
4
09:27:12
09:58:46
10:25:58
M40-44
5
10:12:11
10:24:45
10:46:25
M45-49
5
10:13:01
10:46:07
11:03:40
M50-54
3
10:45:47
10:59:21
11:10:48
M55-59
2
11:23:09
11:41:14
11:59:20
M60-64
1
12:45:25
12:45:25
12:45:25
M65-69
1
16:46:44
16:46:44
16:46:44
M70-74
1
16:22:49
16:22:49
16:22:49
F18-24
1
13:18:32
13:18:32
13:18:32
F25-29
1
11:18:39
11:18:39
11:18:39
F30-34
1
10:39:48
10:39:48
10:39:48
F35-39
1
11:49:04
11:49:04
11:49:04
F40-44
1
11:02:15
11:02:15
11:02:15
F45-49
1
11:55:32
11:55:32
11:55:32
F50-54
1
12:23:39
12:23:39
12:23:39
F55-59
1
13:37:52
13:37:52
13:37:52
F60-64
1
14:29:38
14:29:38
14:29:38
F65-69
1
No Finishers
 
 

Based on the athlete list I’ve calculated the Kona slot allocation and from that the automatic qualifying times in each age group. Final allocation might vary slightly and roll down will impact the qualifying times. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

Finally the top twenty within each age group. The main trend is slower than average times, but there are variations. Age group winners are generally closer to the race average and some smaller age groups trend much closer to average. There are also instances where we see the slowest times for Bolton in the top twenty, but that’s not universally the case. Overall the new course makes Bolton a slower race.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman UK 2019 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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