Ironman Taiwan 2019: Age Group Results and Kona Qualification

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.

Distribution of Finisher Splits at Ironman Taiwan 2019 Compared with 2015-2018

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 at Ironman Taiwan
Year
Starters
Finishers
Swim DNF
Bike DNF
Run DNF
Overall DNF
DQs
2015
931
815
4.9%
2.4%
5.7%
12.5%
42
2016
916
802
6.4%
6.4%
12.4%
2017
632
504
0.8%
8.8%
11.9%
20.3%
2018
793
685
1%
6.5%
6.7%
13.6%
4
2019
468
412
0.2%
4.3%
7.8%
12%

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.

Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Taiwan 2019
Median Splits by Age Group at Ironman Taiwan 2015-2018

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.

Top 10 Nationalities at Ironman Taiwan
Country
Count
Percentage
Taiwan
205
43.8
Japan
151
32.3
China
20
4.3
Hong Kong
12
2.6
United States
11
2.4
Thailand
11
2.4
Philippines
9
1.9
Australia
6
1.3
Netherlands
5
1.1
Germany
5
1.1
Ironman Taiwan 2019 Predicted Kona Qualifiers by Country
Country
Percentage of Slots
Percentage of Field
Japan
48.6
32.3
Taiwan
22.9
43.8
Australia
2.9
1.3
China
2.9
4.3
Israel
2.9
0.2
Czech Republic
2.9
0.2
United Kingdom
2.9
0.4
Hong Kong
2.9
2.6
Netherlands
2.9
1.1
Austria
2.9
0.2

The majority of athletes are from Taiwan or Japan, and the slots mostly remain with those two nationalities.

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

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.

Ironman Taiwan 2019 Predicted Kona Qualification Times
Age Group
Slots
Winner
Final Qualifier
10th Place
M18-24
1
09:54:05
09:54:05
 
M25-29
2
09:54:58
10:25:59
12:53:04
M30-34
3
09:27:10
09:38:02
11:06:18
M35-39
3
09:40:08
09:49:38
10:26:49
M40-44
4
09:50:50
10:04:11
10:35:06
M45-49
4
09:54:05
10:10:30
10:49:51
M50-54
3
09:51:14
10:25:19
11:35:48
M55-59
2
10:19:43
11:19:32
12:54:11
M60-64
1
11:07:10
11:07:10
14:33:07
M65-69
1
12:50:37
12:50:37
 
M70-74
1
15:11:48
15:11:48
 
F18-24
1
11:46:58
11:46:58
 
F25-29
1
11:08:31
11:08:31
 
F30-34
1
12:03:10
12:03:10
 
F35-39
1
12:08:20
12:08:20
 
F40-44
1
11:34:34
11:34:34
16:10:28
F45-49
1
12:06:56
12:06:56
 
F50-54
1
11:37:15
11:37:15
 
F55-59
1
12:14:09
12:14:09
 
F60-64
1
No Finishers
 
 
F65-69
1
No Finishers
 
 

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.

Top Twenty Male Performances and 70.3 Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Taiwan 2019
Top Twenty Female Performances and 70.3 Qualification by Age Group at Ironman Taiwan 2019

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.

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