Ironman South Africa 2015 (March 29th) – Preliminary Startlist

February 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: PreRace 

This will be the first year that South Africa will be a Regional Championship. The automatic Kona slot for the winners, the large number of KPR points (it a P-4000 race now) and the increased prize purse of $150.000 has managed to attract a string field. Race registration is closed by now and while there may be a few withdrawals, we can get a good indication of the participants. I will post my regular longer predictions closer to the race.

Male Race Participants

Bib Name Nation
1 Cyril Viennot FRA
2 Frederik Van Lierde BEL
3 Bart Aernouts BEL
4 Michael Weiss AUT
5 Kyle Buckingham ZAF
6 Bas Diederen NED
7 Matt Trautman ZAF
8 Johann Ackermann GER
9 Mike Aigroz SUI
10 Konstantin Bachor GER
11 Bertrand Billard FRA
12 Gerhard De Bruin ZAF
13 Fraser Cartmell GBR
14 Alberto Casadei ITA
15 Emanuele Ciotti ITA
16 Will Clarke GBR
17 Greg Close USA
18 James Cunnama ZAF
19 Karl-Johan Danielsson SWE
20 Michael Davidson ZAF
21 Victor Del Corral ESP
22 Trevor Delsaut FRA
23 Marc Duelsen GER
24 Karol Dzalaj SVK
25 Herve Faure FRA
26 Frederik Flagstad GRL
27 Hannes Cool BEL
28 Kent Horner ZAF
29 Allan Hovda NOR
30 Martin Jensen DEN
31 Kirill Kotshegarov EST
32 Roman Krutina CZE
33 Eneko Llanos ESP
34 Carlos Lopez Diaz ESP
35 Jim Lubinski USA
36 David Mcnamee GBR
37 Johannes Moldan GER
39 David Plese SLO
40 Ivan Rana ESP
41 Michael Ruenz GER
42 Till Schramm GER
43 Boris Stein GER
44 Swen Sundberg GER
45 Sylvain Sudrie FRA
46 TJ Tollakson USA
47 Craig Twigg GBR
48 Urs Mueller SWI
49 Hendrik-Jan Verhaegen BEL
50 Andrej Vistica CRO

Female Race Participants

Bib Name Nation
38 Camilla Pedersen DEN
51 Jodie Swallow GBR
52 Linsey Corbin USA
53 Beth Shutt USA
54 Lucy Gossage GBR
55 Stefanie Adam BEL
56 Anne Basso FRA
57 Anja Beranek GER
58 Svetlana Blazevic SRB
59 Susie Cheetham GBR
60 Tine Deckers BEL
61 Amber Ferreira USA
62 Amy Forshaw GBR
63 Astrid Ganzow GER
64 Alyssa Godesky USA
65 Eleanor Haresign GBR
66 Corina Hengartner SWI
67 Jessica Meyers USA
68 Caroline Koll ZAF
69 Heather Leiggi USA
70 Maria Lemeseva RUS
71 Caroline Livesey GBR
72 Britta Martin NZL
73 Nina Pekerman ISR
74 Lucie Reed CZE
75 Diana Riesler GER
76 Riana Robertson ZAF
77 Linda Scattolin ITA
78 Caitlin Snow USA
79 Sonja Tajsich GER
80 Kathrin Walther GER
81 Eva Wutti AUT

Ironman New Zealand 2015 (March 7th) – Predictions

February 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: PreRace 

IMNZPrevious Winners

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
2005 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:20:15 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:30:14
2007 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:26:33 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:20:02
2008 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:24:49 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:16:00
2009 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:18:05 Gina Crawford (NZL) 09:18:26
2010 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:21:52 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:14:35
2011 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:31:07 Samantha Warriner (NZL) 09:28:24
2013 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 08:15:35 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:17:10
2014 Marko Albert (EST) 08:17:33 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:08:46

Last Year’s TOP 3

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Marko Albert EST 00:46:10 04:36:42 02:50:05 08:17:33
2 Cameron Brown NZL 00:48:25 04:40:39 02:47:45 08:21:55
3 Terenzo Bozzone NZL 00:46:16 04:43:12 02:54:55 08:28:56

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Meredith Kessler USA 00:46:47 05:08:30 03:08:06 09:08:46
2 Gina Crawford NZL 00:51:20 05:10:05 03:08:06 09:15:53
3 Candice Hammond NZL 00:59:25 05:15:01 03:10:44 09:30:04

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 08:15:35 Bevan Docherty 2013-03-02
Swim overall 00:45:02 Kieran Doe 2008-03-01
Bike overall 04:35:06 Bevan Docherty 2013-03-02
Run overall 02:43:10 Cameron Brown 2009-03-07
Total female 09:08:46 Meredith Kessler 2014-03-01
Swim female 00:46:30 Monica Byrn 2005-05-03
Bike female 05:01:17 Emi Shiono 2008-03-01
Run female 03:01:06 Mirinda Carfrae 2011-03-05

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM New Zealand is 04:06.

Race Adjustments for IM New Zealand

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Athletes Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2005 n/a n/a n/a n/a 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a
2007 04:39 00:53 00:10 04:50 17 04:39 00:53 00:10 04:50
2008 09:12 01:34 02:55 04:19 31 06:55 01:13 01:32 04:35
2009 07:35 00:00 03:43 03:02 27 07:09 00:49 02:16 04:04
2010 05:55 01:02 04:26 03:32 17 06:50 00:52 02:48 03:56
2011 -02:42 00:28 00:36 -01:05 20 04:56 00:47 02:22 02:56
2013 00:32 00:41 03:55 01:27 17 04:12 00:46 02:37 02:41
2014 03:31 01:02 -00:15 03:35 28 04:06 00:49 02:13 02:49

KPR points and Prize Money

IM New Zealand has 2000 KPR points for the winner. It has a total prize purse of 75 k$.

Male Race Participants

Rank Bib Name Nation Expected Time Rating Exp. Swim Exp. Bike Exp. Run Overall
1 1 Cameron Brown NZL 08:22:29 08:27:05 00:49:34 04:38:56 02:48:59 19
2 2 Terenzo Bozzone NZL 08:29:10 08:34:04 00:46:34 04:42:03 02:55:33 (35)
3 6 Dylan McNeice NZL 08:46:40 08:46:46 00:44:46 04:50:25 03:06:30 89
4 3 Joel Jameson GBR 08:49:18 08:52:22 00:56:33 04:51:21 02:56:24 121
5 4 Nick Baldwin SEY 08:50:54 08:50:22 00:53:14 04:47:19 03:05:20 107
6 30 Alex Reithmeier AUS 08:51:16 08:50:02 00:47:48 04:49:10 03:09:19 (105)
7 24 Luke Martin AUS 08:54:20 08:53:13 00:52:06 04:54:56 03:02:17 (124)
8 29 Carl Read NZL 08:55:09 08:54:59 00:52:31 04:57:58 02:59:40 128
9 10 Todd Skipworth AUS 08:56:12 08:54:57 00:45:46 04:41:22 03:24:04 (128)
10 9 Simon Cochrane NZL 08:59:14 09:04:51 00:51:33 04:58:03 03:04:38 184
11 5 Mike Schifferle SUI 09:02:19 09:04:24 01:00:25 04:51:22 03:05:32 179
12 21 Johan Borg AUS 09:09:14 09:19:30 00:54:53 04:57:41 03:11:40 (233)
13 7 Jose Jeuland FRA 09:09:42 09:14:53 00:52:45 05:04:43 03:07:14 211
14 32 Shanon Stallard NZL 09:13:29 09:20:56 00:55:08 05:04:47 03:08:34 240
15 31 Chris Sanson NZL 09:16:33 09:12:11 00:54:18 05:05:47 03:11:28 201
16 25 Daiki Masuda JPN 09:16:52 09:48:07 00:54:52 05:01:49 03:15:12 349
17 22 James Bowstead NZL 09:18:11 09:34:19 00:52:48 04:47:40 03:32:43 (293)
18 34 Marcus Hultgren SWE 09:48:51 09:31:24 00:58:29 05:03:07 03:42:15 (287)
19 23 James Cotter USA 10:05:14 10:06:50 00:47:52 05:05:03 04:07:19 (410)
20 26 Graham O’Grady NZL 13:30:02 13:28:09 00:44:44 04:40:44 07:59:35 (482)
8 Andrew Yoder USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated (n/a)
27 Young Hwan Oh KOR n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated (n/a)
33 Ricky Swindale AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated (n/a)

Female Race Participants

Rank Bib Name Nation Expected Time Rating Exp. Swim Exp. Bike Exp. Run Overall
1 11 Meredith Kessler USA 09:08:31 09:21:17 00:48:15 05:03:02 03:12:14 15
2 12 Gina Crawford NZL 09:14:52 09:22:45 00:51:05 05:10:29 03:08:18 16
3 14 Mareen Hufe GER 09:31:41 09:36:43 00:59:15 05:05:11 03:22:15 42
4 15 Stephanie Jones USA 09:41:29 09:51:03 01:04:53 05:16:16 03:15:20 (82)
5 13 Melanie Burke NZL 09:42:08 09:49:20 01:05:36 05:14:23 03:17:08 77
6 17 Erin Furness NZL 10:05:40 10:11:50 01:00:44 05:31:59 03:27:57 130
7 16 Conny Dauben GER 10:52:52 10:57:22 01:07:18 05:40:58 03:59:36 172
18 Jocelyn Mccauley USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated (n/a)

Winning Odds

Male Race Participants

Cam Brown is the clear favorite for another New Zealand title. Terns Bozzone has been working on his IM skills for a while but hasn’t had a break-through race just yet. Maybe this is the year he can finally nail an Ironman race? Dylan McNeice will probably not be on top of his game after winning IM Wanaka just two weeks before but you never know how these doubles turn out:

  • Cameron Brown: 64% (1-1)
  • Terenzo Bozzone: 26% (3-1)
  • Dylan McNeice: 4% (23-1)

Female Race Participants

Meredith Kessler is the clear female favorite. If nothing goes wrong for „MBK“, she should win her fourth New Zealand title in a row. Her main contender, Gina Crawford, is also just coming off another IM-distance race – winning Challenge Wanaka. Maybe Mareen Hufe can deliver another great performance on the „fifth continent“ after her great second place at Ironman Western Australia in early December.

  • Meredith Kessler: 59% (1-1)
  • Gina Crawford: 29% (2-1)
  • Mareen Hufe: 9% (10-1)
  • Stephanie Jones: 2% (51-1)

Challenge Wanaka 2015 – Analyzing Results

February 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: RaceResults 

Wanaka

Course Rating

Dougal Bike

Compared to the regular conditions in Wanaka, the swim and the bike ride were pretty quick and resulted in two new course records: 45:33 by Dylan for the swim and 4:30:51 by Dougal Allen (pictured on the right) for the bike. Maybe the athletes paid for it on the run which was pretty slow. Overall Wanaka continues to be one of the slowest courses on the Pro circuit with a new course rating of -5:30.

Male Race Results

After his  trademark fast swim (even though it was a new course record, it was actually slower than expected!), Dylan McNeice continued to be in the lead for the rest of the race. While he quickly distanced the good swimmers, Dougal Allen made up most of his more than 17 minutes deficit after the swim, and they were within a few seconds of each other after T2. Dylan (pictured on the bottom) then needed a race-best 3-hours-flat marathon to win by less than three minutes over Dougal. Courtney Ogden took the last spot on the podium.

Dylan Run

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to expected
1 Dylan McNeice NZL 00:45:33 04:47:13 03:00:29 08:37:14 -25:45
2 Dougal Allan NZL 01:02:41 04:30:51 03:03:08 08:40:06 -22:17
3 Courtney Ogden AUS 00:50:56 04:50:51 03:02:59 08:49:46 -03:03
4 Carl Read NZL 00:50:32 04:55:21 03:00:59 08:50:47 -20:21
5 Braden Currie NZL 00:50:01 04:57:12 03:05:09 08:56:11 n/a
6 Michael Fox AUS 00:48:18 04:58:47 03:11:38 09:02:58 n/a
7 Chris Sanson NZL 00:56:47 04:53:35 03:08:54 09:03:18 -37:22
8 Luke Martin AUS 00:50:40 04:58:13 03:11:40 09:05:47 00:15
9 Joel Jameson GBR 01:01:38 04:54:32 03:06:58 09:07:14 02:56
10 Petr Vabrousek CZE 00:56:46 05:05:18 03:20:40 09:29:19 17:31
11 Marcus Hultgren SWE 00:56:40 05:12:46 03:17:53 09:31:32 -28:59
12 Matt Burton AUS 00:53:02 04:50:32 03:58:54 09:47:23 55:07
13 Benjamin Williams USA 00:53:08 05:23:34 03:33:30 09:55:12 43:09
14 Thijs Hubber NZL 00:50:48 05:36:58 03:52:14 10:25:28 n/a
Matt Randall NZL 00:58:54 04:56:01 DNF
Keegan Williams NZL 00:50:45 DNF

Womens Podium

Female Race Results

Gina Crawford put on a dominating performance, putting up the race-best times in all three legs, reclaiming the title she lost to Candice Hammond last year and winning Challenge Wanaka for the sixth time. Her PurplePatch training colleague Laura Siddall finished second in her second IM-distance race, with Michelle Bremer taking the third spot. (The photo on the right shows Michelle, Gina and Laura from left to right.)

Simone Maier finished in fourth place just one week after finishing New Zealand’s „Coast to Coast“ race in second place – a performance as remarkable as Braden Currie finishing fifth on the men’s side after winning Coast to Coast the week before.

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to expected
1 Gina Crawford NZL 00:50:55 05:12:39 03:22:25 09:31:51 -04:17
2 Laura Siddall GBR 00:57:13 05:12:44 03:28:43 09:43:46 -11:46
3 Michelle Bremer NZL 00:56:49 05:16:44 03:34:28 09:52:16 -05:52
4 Simone Maier GER 01:05:12 05:26:32 03:29:02 10:05:58 00:10
5 Charisa Wernick USA 00:59:24 05:45:24 03:28:37 10:18:54 08:27
6 Tracy Douglas AUS 01:05:13 05:31:31 03:39:23 10:21:20 04:14
7 Larisa Marsh NZL 00:58:46 05:32:28 04:01:43 10:38:31 23:13
8 Katya Meyers USA 01:06:17 05:31:15 04:14:49 10:56:54 20:14
9 Kristin Lemos USA 00:59:42 06:07:15 03:57:39 11:11:44 1:10:57
Jessica Fleming AUS 00:58:42 05:19:19 DNF
Christie Sym AUS 00:56:31 05:26:51 DNF

Photo Credits: Getty Images, 2015 (through Challenge Wanaka)

Depth in Women’s Field – Changes over the Years

February 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Analysis 

Late last year, I’ve looked at data concerning the depth of the women’s field and comparing that to the depth of the men’s field. (If you haven’t read it yet, please check out my post “Women’s Field as Deep as Men’s?“.) I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that I wasn’t finding any noticeable difference in recent year’s. My first interest into triathlon was in the late 80’s when Paula Newby-Fraser was such a dominating force in the sport that she seemed to win almost at will and if there was only an Erin Baker on a good day who was able to challenge her.

This led me to have a look at some older data – maybe the depth of the women’s field has improved over time? I wasn’t able to produce the same type of graphs that I used in my previous post as I just don’t have the data. However, I was able to find a list of the top 10 finishers on Slowtwitch (Top Ironman Hawaii Finishers Archive) that I used as my basis for a similar analysis. As a measure for the depth of the field I am using the Top 10 degradation, defined as the cumulative time the Top 10 finishers were behind the winner in each year (for example, in 2014 the Top10 men were 1h24min behind the winner, while the women were 2h01min behind). In order to reflect the different winning times for men and women, I’m calculating the percentage of this sum of the winner’s time (still using 2014 data, 17% for the men, 22.4% for the women). Please note that this measure doesn’t reflect the different field sizes (that lead to increased time differences) – meaning that a similar depth of field would have a larger Top 10 degradation for the women.

Here’s the graph showing the development of the Top10 degradation in Kona over the years for the men (blue line) and women (red line):

Top10Analysis

In order to give context to the time periods, I’ve added some of the biggest Kona winners. Here’s my interpretation of this data:

  • Dave Scott was dominating Kona early on, his six wins were between 1980 and 1988. He was head and shoulders above most of the other Kona athletes and the degradation is at the highest level we have for the men.
    At this time, the degradation for the women is actually lower than for the men – but this is probably more a sign that even the women’s  top racers were still finding their way in this new sport.
  • This changes with the start of winning streak by Paula Newby-Fraser (her first Kona win was in 1986, her eighth and last was in 1996), she was dominating at similar levels to Dave Scott.
  • After Dave and Paula, Mark Allen and Natascha Badmann both won six Kona crowns, but they didn’t dominate the fields as much. (This probably makes their winning streaks even more impressive as they managed to win a lot of close races.)
    In the early 2000s, the Top10 degradation numbers were pretty much the same between the men and women.
  • This changed for a while when Chrissie Wellington won her four Kona titles. In 2009 her third win displayed a domination over the rest of the field comparable to what Paula showed.
  • In the last few years, the Top 10 degradation between men and women is back at very similar numbers.

My conclusion of this data: In the early years of our sport, it took some time to develop a decent depth of the field. The men’s field improved first (until the late 80s – at the end of the Dave Scott era), and the women’s field took about ten years longer (until the late 90s – the Natascha Badmann era). Certainly, things have changed a lot since the days of Paula Newby-Fraser – it now takes an absolutely dominating figure such as Chrissie Wellington to „disrupt“ the numbers. Chrissie pushed the women’s field another big step forward, and these days the Top10 degradation indicates no different depth between the men’s and women’s field.

Women For Tri – An Encouraging Start

February 8, 2015 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Opinion 

Ironman and LifeTime Fitness have started the „Women For Tri“ initiative, which was established to grow female participation in triathlon. They have announced an advisory board which met for the first time at the Ironman headquarter in Florida on Wednesday, February 4th.

WomenForTri
(Photo from a Tweet by Christopher Stadler)

There have been quite a few reports of the meeting (for example an article by board member Julia Polloreno on the triathlete website), and a lot of my initial reservations about the initiative have been alleviated:

  1. While the meetings are of course not open to the public, a lot of information about the meeting has been reported. I find it very encouraging that the board seems to be interested in an open discussion of the issues at hand, and isn’t dealing behind closed doors.
  2. While the main mission of the board is to “identify the actual barriers to entry for women in the sport“, they have also discussed the related issue of equal qualifying spots for professional men and women in Kona.

There was a lot of pressure on social media encouraging the board to take up issue #2, and I’m glad that they are engaging in the discussion. I also think that granting equal slots will have a positive effect on improving female participation in general.

In the spirit of public discussion, I’d like to have a closer look at the arguments presented for continuing with the disparate slot count. In her post Julia reports on statements by Ironman CEO Andrew Messick:

His position has been that there are 50 pro men who are competitive enough to factor into the Kona race dynamic and have a legitimate shot at a top finish at the world championship. As an example, he cited pro Ronnie Schildknecht, who was at the bottom of the KPR standings heading into Kona last year but still finished 12th.

While I was happy to see Ronnie qualify and race well in Kona, he is not representative of the male athletes that qualified at the bottom of the KPR: The last 11 qualifiers were Dan Halksworth (DNF), Chris McDonald (DNF), Elliot Holtham (35th), TJ Tollakson (DNF), Harry Wiltshire (29th), Richie Cunningham (DNF), Chris Brader (28th), Justin Daerr (26th), Ronnie Schildknecht (12th), Andreas Raelert (36th and last finisher), and Paul Ambrose (30th). Of course there are some examples of people qualifying at the bottom of the KPR that are still doing well in Kona – the most notable this year was Ben Hoffmann who qualified as 29th male in July (so he wouldn’t have qualified in the women’s field) who finished 2nd in Kona.

The unspoken implication of this argument is that the additional women that would have qualified if there were more slots wouldn’t have played a role in Kona. I don’t agree with that sentiment – so let’s look at some of the women who probably would have qualified with extra slots. The inclusion of Angela Naeth, Amy Marsh, Sophie Goos, Rebekah Keat, Eimear Mullan, or Laura Bennett would clearly have had an impact on the Top 10 finishers this year! A similar example to Ben Hoffman in this year’s men’s field is Rachel Joyce in 2013 when she barely qualified as #34 in the KPR but continued to finish 2nd in Kona.

He says that the pro women’s field isn’t yet deep enough to justify 50 slots.

I have addressed this perception in my recent post „Women’s Field as Deep as Men’s?“. I was able to demonstrate that there is not perceptible difference between the depth of men and women – at least up to #35 where men and women are on a level playing field. ( An analysis up to #50 would require 50 women in Kona.) Repeating that women lack the depth doesn’t make the statement any more convincing.

[G]iven the rigidly static number of available Kona qualifying slots, adding 15 to the pro women’s field would require taking those slots away from other people, potentially the pro men.

This is another argument that is frequently cited: „Kona is full“ (I always hear an undertone of „so there is nothing we can do for the Pro women”). I find that hard to believe:

  • For Kona 2015 qualifying Ironman has added ten more slots by giving the winners of the five Regional Championships a direct Kona slot.
  • Whenever there are new Ironman races, they always come with a sizable number of Kona slots. Most recent examples are IM Muskoka (50 slots), IM Netherlands (50 slots) and IM Vichy (50 slots).
  • Andrew Messick himself has said that it’s not space on the pier that limits the field size in Kona:
    “The big challenge that we have in Kona is not in fact the size of the pier, which is what most people think, but rather the extreme concentration of gifted athletes in that particular race. It creates problems unique to Kona. Last year we had 1,100 athletes get out of the water in a 15-minute period, between 55 minutes and 1:10. That concentration of really strong swimmers, all of whom can ride a bike, is our operational limiter.”
    Adding 15 Pro women won’t have any impact on the congestion in the men’s age group race.
  • Even if the number of slots has reached it’s maximum, Ironman isn’t helpless: It is simply their choice whether to assign 15 slots to the a new race, an existing race or the Pro women. I don’t believe that the only thing on their mind is the less than $10.000 they make from age grouper slots.

Overall, I am encouraged by the first meeting of the „Women for Tri“ board, their discussion and the information that is being shared about it. I hope that the open dialog continues and that there will be changes that help increase participation of women in triathlon while removing unequal treatment of women in our sport.

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