The 2020 Kona qualification season started over the weekend at Ironman Vichy with the first 40 Ironman World championship slots available. Ironman Vichy is a mid-sized race whose results have generally been comparable with other European events. This year’s race introduced a new and hillier bike route which has made for a slower event.
Only this year’s swim times trend faster than the previous race results for Vichy. The new bike course results in a significantly slower set of splits there – around 45 minutes at the median. The run that follows is also slower than the historical data, but only by a very small margin. The shift in the bike is more than enough to see a much slower race though.
The DNf rate at Vichy has been quite variable over it’s 5 years of racing. This year ranks as one of the higher ones though. A 15% overall DNf rate pushed the event towards the high end of Ironman DNFs. A tougher bike course might account for some of this, but I suspect conditions played a large role here too.
Age group medians follow the trends set in the distributions so we shouldn’t be too surprised to see consistently slower bike splits and slightly more variable run splits.
As in previous years about half the field originate from France and around a third of the slots were taken by those athlete with the rest being shared around the other nationalities.
There’s been a quite a lot of variance in results from Vichy with the high DNF years tending to be the slower ones. There is a clear uptick in times this year as things slow across the field. this is more pronounce further back than at the very front of each age group.
Based on start numbers I’ve calculated the Kona slot allocation and from that automatic qualifying times. At least two slots roll down from the oldest age groups, but the impact of roll down isn’t included in these times. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
For most age groups the top twenty times are significantly slower than the previous course average. There are one or two exceptions: M55-59 and F35-39 stand out. The vast majority of divisions are slower at the front and slower still at the median.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Vichy 2019 on my Google Drive.