The final weekend of racing of the 2019 Ironman season started with Ironman Western Australia. This mid-sized race came with 65 age group Kona slots for the 2020 Ironman World Championship season. That lifts qualification prospects for a number of big age groups. The Busselton course is flat and generally quite fast.
The 2017 results have been excluded from this analysis due to cancellation of the swim.
Comparing the split distributions of this year’s race with the amalgamated results of the previous decade shows a race that was slower at its median. At every stage the 2019 event was slower at the mid-point and the overall result is a more than 30 minutes slower distribution. While this shift happened at the middle-of-the-pack, at the front times were consistent for the course. We’re seeing a broadening of the distribution rather than an overall reduction in performance.
DNF levels at this year’s race are on the high side for an event that typically has low levels. They are by no means exceptional – average by broader Ironman standards – but for Western Australia they are 3-4% higher than usual. This appears to be spread quite consistently over both bike and run.
Age group medians tend to follow the patterns set in the distributions. Here we see most age groups showing slower median split times. This isn’t necessarily reflective of performance at the front-of-pack for larger age groups though and as noted the signs there are of consistent times with the past.
A broad range of nationalities race Ironman Western Australia, but a high proportion of slots remain in the country.
Comparing the times for specific age group places over the last 10 years shows a reasonable amount of consistency in results towards the front. As we look at placings further back in the field (100th) we do seem a drop in times over the last couple of years.
Based on the start list I’ve calculated the slot allocation at Western Australias and from that the automatic qualification times for the race. These don’t factor roll down and with one age group having no finishers there will have been some. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
For the most part this was an average qualification year at the front-of-pack. Times in the top twenty of each age group don’t deviate to far from the average with one or two exceptions. In the women’s field the very front is close to average, but times tend to fall off 5-10 place back and some in slower. Male age groups are a little more consistent here, perhaps reflecting the larger number of competitors involved.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman Western Australia 2019 on my Google Drive.