Ironman Switzerland 2019: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

This week’s race analysis is for Ironman Switzerland. Switzerland is another long running European race that draws a mid-sized field for the standard 40 age group Kona slots. The course is not the fastest in Europe, but like most of its counterparts sits towards the faster end of the calendar. This years race trends a little slower than usual.

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

Comparing this year’s results with those from the previous decade we do have a slightly slower race. Overall 2019 trends around 10 minutes slower, with this coming from slower bike and run distributions while the swim distribution trends faster this year. All these variations are in the order of minutes, so not hugely different from the amalgamated distributions.

DNF Rates at Ironman Switzerland
Year
Starters
Finishers
Swim DNF
Bike DNF
Run DNF
Overall DNF
DQs
2009
2508
1984
22.4%
20.9%
2010
2676
2156
21.7%
19.4%
2011
1768
1599
10.7%
9.6%
2012
1520
1394
0.2%
3.7%
4.6%
8.3%
2013
2201
1878
1.8%
6.7%
6.9%
14.7%
2
2014
2350
2174
1.4%
3.2%
3.1%
7.5%
2015
1842
1591
2.6%
6.1%
5.7%
13.6%
1
2016
1425
1254
0.9%
4.6%
6.9%
12%
2017
1479
1302
0.5%
5.2%
6.7%
12%
2018
1575
1382
1.3%
5.5%
6%
12.3%
2019
1750
1553
1.7%
5.5%
4.5%
11.3%

Following some significant upgrades to my DNF and DNS data I’ve also updated the DNF table. Rows in blue clearly separate DNS and DNF statistics while those in red do not (so numbers aren’t as reliable). We have 8 years of data to look at here and that indicates that the DNF rate at this years race was in the middle ground.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2019
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Switzerland 2009-2018

Median patterns tend to follow the trends outlined in the distributions. This is largely the case here with slightly slower bike and run splits. As is often the case when differences are small the pattern is not universal over all divisions. Women’s age groups show a lot of variation, the F40-44 bike being significantly slower while the F45-49 bike is faster for example.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Switzerland
Country
Count
Percentage
Switzerland
500
25.5
Germany
316
16.1
France
197
10
United Kingdom
188
9.6
Italy
117
6
Belgium
76
3.9
Spain
61
3.1
United States
53
2.7
Netherlands
52
2.6
Austria
35
1.8
Ironman Switzerland 2019 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
Switzerland
27.5
25.5
Germany
25.0
16.1
France
7.5
10.0
Belgium
7.5
3.9
Italy
5.0
6.0
Netherlands
2.5
2.6
Japan
2.5
1.5
Austria
2.5
1.8
United States
2.5
2.7
South Africa
2.5
0.7
Czech Republic
2.5
1.3
United Kingdom
2.5
9.6
Luxembourg
2.5
0.2
Slovenia
2.5
0.3
Finland
2.5
0.4
Australia
2.5
0.7

Switzerland is a race that draw a wide range of nationalities and spread its Kona slots as widely.

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

There are two key observations from tracking age group times for specific positions. Firstly as the race has shrunk in size this impacts the pace of athletes at positions further back in the field (50th moves from mid towards back of pack). Secondly smaller age groups tend to be more variable in performance and we see greater variation in their charts. For the larger age groups times tend to be more consistent with bumps better reflecting conditions on a given year. Here times look to improve on last year’s race, but are around the average for the course.

Ironman Switzerland 2019 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Average Kona Qualifier
Final Qualifier
M18-24
1
10:02:29
10:02:29
10:02:29
M25-29
2
09:03:29
09:05:12
09:06:56
M30-34
4
09:03:44
09:07:04
09:09:48
M35-39
4
08:52:38
08:59:26
09:10:47
M40-44
6
09:16:46
09:32:17
09:39:57
M45-49
5
09:24:53
09:34:39
09:42:46
M50-54
3
09:52:31
09:57:57
10:05:06
M55-59
2
10:12:31
10:13:28
10:14:25
M60-64
1
10:45:49
10:45:49
10:45:49
M65-69
1
12:04:13
12:04:13
12:04:13
M70-74
1
12:30:42
12:30:42
12:30:42
F18-24
1
14:17:32
14:17:32
14:17:32
F25-29
1
10:57:43
10:57:43
10:57:43
F30-34
1
09:59:05
09:59:05
09:59:05
F35-39
1
09:50:36
09:50:36
09:50:36
F40-44
1
10:16:02
10:16:02
10:16:02
F45-49
1
10:31:23
10:31:23
10:31:23
F50-54
1
11:01:38
11:01:38
11:01:38
F55-59
1
12:16:50
12:16:50
12:16:50
F60-64
1
13:55:52
13:55:52
13:55:52
F65-69
1
15:22:04
15:22:04
15:22:04

Based on the start list I’ve calculated the slot allocation at Ironman Switzerland and from that the automatic Kona qualification times. Final numbers may vary and I have not factored potential roll downs into this data. You can compare these times with other races on my Kona qualification page.

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

Broadly the top twenty times in each age group trend around the average or slightly better. So while the picture from distributions points towards a slightly slower race there was clearly less impact towards the front of the pack. It’s really only the youngest athletes who deviate and had slower races for Kona positions.

You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Switzerland 2019 on my Google Drive.

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