The final race from a busy Ironman weekend was Ironman Taiwan. A smaller event than the others with less than 500 competitors and 35 slots for the 2020 Ironman World Championship in Kona. Conditions usually make this a slower race and results have varied widely over the last few years. In particular, last year’s race saw the swim shortened to 400m leading to a much quicker event.
Rather than excluding all of the 2018 results from this analysis I’m trying a new approach. 2018 swim and overall times are excluded from comparisons (distributions and medians), but bike and run are still included. The shortened swim will have some impact on performance in these, but it should be negligible in aggregate.
This year’s race is faster at every stage when compared with the previous year’s of racing in Taiwan. It’s enough to see an hours difference when comparing the median times. That’s quite a significant shift in times and suggest course and conditions were more manageable than in some of the previous years. There is a clear separation in bike performances visible as two peaks in this year’s bike splits – a tight group of front-of-pack riders and then the majority of the field. The run appears to be where the major difference at this year’s race with much faster times.
DNF rates were typical for this race. Anything in the region of 10-15% overall DNF should be considered on the high side for an Ironman, but we don’t see the exceptional levels of the 2017 event.
Medians tend to follow the trends set in the distribution, especially when the shift was so significant. However the small field size introduces more variance so not every age group displays faster medians.
The majority of athletes are from Taiwan or Japan, and the slots mostly remain with those two nationalities.
The huge amount of variation in times for specific age group positions is self-evident in the charts above. There’s been a large amount of fluctuation, in particular around the shortened 2018 course. This year’s race is obviously slower than 2018, but not consistently slower than earlier editions of the race. 2017 was the slowest year with a high level of DNF to accompany that. Other years are a little more comparable with this.
Based on the start list I’ve calculated the slot allocation for this race and the automatic Kona qualifying times for those slots. Two age groups saw no finishers and so their slots will roll down, but that’s not factored into this analysis. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
The top twenty in each age group places this year at, or slightly ahead of the averages for most divisions. That average has been slightly boosted by the inclusion fo the fast 2018 times, but they are balanced by the slower 2017 times too. In that respect, while 2019 appears faster much of that may be the result of a particularly slow previous year.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Taiwan 2019 on my Google Drive.