Ironman Malaysia took place on Saturday and as ever it looks to have been a tough race. It’s a relatively small event with under 1,200 athletes, but it comes with 50 Kona slots for the 2020 Ironman World championship. Race conditions are challenging though with heat and humidity to contend with so times are always slower in Malaysia. This year looks to have been a typical year for the course.
We can see that the split distributions for this year’s race are similar to those from the previous five years of racing in Malaysia. The broad pattern is the same, although both bike and run have a slightly slower peak that pulls back their medians a little. This means the overall distribution for 2019 is slightly slower at its median, but only by 5-10 minutes.
While the distributions don’t deviate that much in time, the DNF rates were definitely elevated this year. Overall DNF is over 18% comfortably pushing this race into the twenty highest DNF rates at Ironman. These DNFs are very evenly spread over both bike and run.
As the differences between distributions are relatively small it’s also hard to discern any patterns when we compare individual age group median splits. Generally times are similar. In the smaller age groups we see a lot more variance as here competitor performance can vary widely and average shift significantly.
Malaysia draws in athletes from a wide range of nationalities, with the majority in the Asia-Pacific region. Qualifying slots appear to have been spread far more widely though. Conditions in Malaysia can be challenging for those from other climates, but if you can deal with them it could be a good choice for a qualifier.
Generally specific age group times for this year’s race fall inline with the past few years. However we see the impact of small age group numbers as high variance in those smaller age groups. Here we may not have as deep a field and performances can shift more significantly from year-to-year depending on who races.
Based on the start numbers I’ve calculated the slot allocation for this year’s race and from that the automatic qualifying times. This doesn’t account for any roll down that takes place during the awards ceremony. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
While median times at this year’s race appear a little slower the top twenty age group times are average or in some instances a little better. The front of the race doesn’t appear to have lost any of it’s speed on this course.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Malaysia 2019 on my Google Drive.