Ironman New Zealand opened the 2020 Ironman season over the weekend. New Zealand is a medium sized race with a long history in Ironman. It offers the standard 40 age group Kona slots for the 2020 Ironman World Championship. there were some alterations to the course for this year’s race, but they don’t appear to have had any significant impact on the results.
Note that I’ve excluded the 2012 race from this analysis as it was shortened due to race day conditions.
Comparing this year’s results distribution with previous years shows a race that doesn’t vary too much from the averages. The swim is the stage with the most obvious differences – here the race trended slower than course averages. Bike and run distributions do trend slower at the middle-of-the-pack, but front-of-pack times are inline with course averages. The top 5% of age groupers appear to have performed inline with course expectations, but further back things slowed and the distribution broadened.
The DNF rates from this years race are also inline with previous years and if anything lean towards the low end of DNF rates at this race. So conditions appear to have been fine for racing, with no significant impact on finishing rates.
At the median age group splits are slower. As we’ve seen in the distributions it’s at the front of the age group race where times matched the previous course results. Pro splits were better than course average this year.
Ironman New Zealand draws quite a broad field with about half the athletes coming from New Zealand itself. Slots mostly stayed in New Zealand, although proportions aren’t too far off athlete numbers.
There’s been a lot of variability in age group results at Ironman New Zealand over the years. The 2020 times across positions vary a lot, some are faster than the previous year, some slower. Many of the first place times do push towards the faster end fo results though. 2017 stands out as the slowest year for the course.
Based on athlete start numbers I’ve calculated the Kona slot allocation according to the current Ironman method. From this I’ve identified the automatic qualifying time for each age group – this would be the time of the final athlete who is eligible for a Kona slot without roll down. Exact numbers may vary a little and roll down is not accounted for. You can compare this with other races on my Kona qualification page.
Tracking the times for the top twenty in each age group, this year’s race varies around the course average. Some age groups are faster, but some are slower. Generally when we look to the top ten the times are course average or better. IT was clearly a fast year for those chasing Kona qualification slots, but these times fall back as we move further back in the age groups.
You can access a spreadsheet of the full results from Ironman New Zealand 2020 on my Google Drive.