Race Posts

Australia May 07Results
LanzaroteMay 20Results
Brasil May 27Seedings
Cairns June 11Entry List
Boulder June 11Seedings
Austria Jul 2Entry List

Click on the race name to get to the post with the latest details about the race. Read more about the types of posts and the data in them here.

Last changes:

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TriTrivia for IM Brasil

Here are a few “fun questions” about the top female and male contenders for IM Brasil. Can you guess which athletes I’m referring to? (If you need some help, the full Pro startlist can be found here.)

  1. He/she finished second at IM South Africa with a wire in the arm as a pin for a broken elbow.
  2. He/she dropped the Kona GPS tracker in a porta-loo.
  3. He/she strained a muscle on the bike portion of IM Austria, but still ran a marathon PR.
  4. He/she had a Kona meltdown of PNF proportions .. running in 8th place at 37k, eventually finishing 21st.
  5. He/she started Kona with what turned out to be a broken fibula – a DNF probably prevented more severe damage.
  6. He/she tore a ligament in the hand, requiring a three week break from swimming and missing some early 2017 races.
  7. After Kona last year, he/she added a new member to the family .. a cute puppy.

If you need some hints, check out my previews for the male and female races – the athletes with the pictures are the ones that I’m looking for. You can post your answers in the comments!

I will post the “solutions” in time before the race.

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Ironman Austria 2017 (July 2nd) – Entry List

Update May 26th: Based on the updated start list I have added Corinne Abraham, Kelly Fillnow, Camilla Lindholm, Kamila Polak on the female side and Tim Brydenbach, Nicholas Chase, Gergely Nagy, David Plese, Mike Schifferle and Cyril Viennot on the male side.

Male Race Participants

Jan Frodeno has also been announced as one of the athletes racing in Klagenfurt, however he is currently missing from the entry list.

Name Nation KPR points KPR races
Ivan Rana ESP 3710 1+2 (3445/45)
David Plese SLO 3695 3+1 (880/785)
Ruedi Wild SUI 3310 1+2 (340/540)
Cyril Viennot FRA 2420 2+1
Tim Brydenbach BEL 1770 2+0
Antony Costes FRA 1170 2+2 (20/500)
Trevor Delsaut FRA 1161 2+2 (170/1)
Daniel Niederreiter AUT 960 1+0
Matt Burton AUS 640 0+2 (0/240)
Stefan Schmid GER 580 1+1
Mike Schifferle SUI 545 3+0 (20/0)
Christian Birngruber AUT 220 0+1
Markus Liebelt GER 195 0+2 (0/15)
Freddy Lampret ZAF 65 1+2 (25/5)
Lluis Vila aguilar ESP 65 0+1
Valentin Zasypkin RUS 45 1+1
Vinicius Canhedo BRA 35 0+1
Robin Schneider GER 30 0+1
Josef Svoboda CZE 15 1+0
Ivan Jezko SVK 12 1+1
Nicholas Chase USA 11 0+2 (0/1)
Sebastian Pedraza ITA 7 1+1
Lukas Polan CZE 6 0+2 (0/1)
Simon Brierley SEY 5 0+1
Michal Bucek SVK 5 0+1
Thomas Meusburger AUT 5 0+1
Gergely Nagy HUN 1 1+0
Michael Van Cleven BEL 0 0+0
Rob Bobbaers BEL
Paul Reitmayr AUT

Female Race Participants

Name Nation KPR points KPR races
Michelle Vesterby DEN 6725 2+0
Corinne Abraham GBR 2675 2+1
Kelly Fillnow USA 2170 3+1 (305/180)
Alexandra Tondeur BEL 2140 2+1
Bianca Steurer AUT 685 1+1
Kamila Polak AUT 320 0+2 (0/140)
Eva Wutti AUT 220 0+1
Rahel Bellinga NED 125 1+1
Annabel Diawuoh GER 120 1+0
Olga Kowalska POL 115 0+1
Franziska Bossow GER
Camilla Lindholm SWE
Julia Montgomery SWE
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Ironman Boulder 2017 (June 11th) – Seedings

IMBoulder

Previous Winners

After the initial race of 2014, IM Boulder was no longer a Pro race. The race continued as an agegroup-only race in 2015 and 2016. This year a Pro division is added back again.

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
2014 Justin Daerr (USA) 08:20:26 Danielle Mack (USA) 09:19:54

TOP 3 from Last Race

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Justin Daerr USA 00:53:21 04:24:54 02:56:41 08:20:26
2 Richie Cunningham AUS 00:50:28 04:24:47 03:09:56 08:30:38
3 Scott Defilippis USA 00:57:27 04:47:48 03:02:48 08:54:19

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Danielle Mack USA 01:03:53 04:52:56 03:16:42 09:19:54
2 Laura Bennett USA 00:54:02 04:59:29 03:44:31 09:43:59
3 Christine Hammond USA 00:55:38 05:09:33 03:41:44 09:53:04

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 08:20:26 Justin Daerr 2014-08-03
Swim overall 00:50:28 Richie Cunningham 2014-08-03
Bike overall 04:24:47 Richie Cunningham 2014-08-03
Run overall 02:56:41 Justin Daerr 2014-08-03
Total female 09:19:54 Danielle Mack 2014-08-03
Swim female 00:54:02 Laura Bennett 2014-08-03
Bike female 04:52:56 Danielle Mack 2014-08-03
Run female 03:16:42 Danielle Mack 2014-08-03

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM Boulder is – 01:54.

Race Adjustments for IM Boulder

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Finishers Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2014 -01:54 -00:35 17:17 -08:46 13 of 16 -01:54 -00:35 17:17 -08:46

KPR points and Prize Money

IM Boulder is a P-2000 race. It has a total prize purse of 80.000 US$.

Male Race Participants

The strength of the field is 10% of a typical Kona field.

Rank Bib Name Nation Expected Time Rating Exp. Swim Exp. Bike Exp. T2 Exp. Run Consistency Overall
1 2 Timothy O’Donnell USA 08:20:30 08:23:27 00:48:51 04:21:40 05:15:31 03:04:59 15% +52% -34% (14) 13
2 4 Tyler Butterfield BMU 08:27:04 08:31:23 00:50:06 04:23:05 05:18:11 03:08:53 37% +32% -30% (14) 35
3 7 Leon Griffin AUS 08:27:10 08:41:14 00:49:55 04:26:22 05:21:17 03:05:53 5% +56% -39% (8) 75
4 3 Tim Don GBR 08:29:17 08:32:43 00:49:11 04:29:22 05:23:34 03:05:43 64% +0% -36% (4) (41)
5 6 Matt Chrabot USA 08:31:54 08:44:38 00:49:48 04:28:37 05:23:25 03:08:29 8% +34% -58% (5) (84)
6 1 Justin Daerr USA 08:36:37 08:42:47 00:53:53 04:31:59 05:30:52 03:05:45 71% +7% -22% (30) 78
7 8 Jozsef Major HUN 08:48:50 08:53:16 01:01:01 04:34:09 05:40:10 03:08:40 61% +24% -16% (32) 109
8 17 Tripp Hipple USA 08:53:52 09:05:23 00:55:25 04:35:20 05:35:45 03:18:07 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (158)
9 19 Sam Long USA 08:55:18 09:06:51 00:57:05 04:30:05 05:32:11 03:23:07 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (161)
10 5 Patrick Evoe USA 08:58:49 09:00:50 00:57:20 04:34:14 05:36:34 03:22:15 77% +4% -20% (25) 143
11 14 Christopher Bagg USA 09:02:59 09:28:59 00:55:33 04:39:56 05:40:29 03:22:30 5% +21% -74% (14) (226)
12 10 Mike Schifferle SUI 09:05:39 09:04:05 01:02:14 04:39:33 05:46:47 03:18:52 86% +12% -2% (62) 154
13 12 Steven Zawaski USA 09:05:49 09:42:34 00:59:02 04:44:38 05:48:40 03:17:09 46% +0% -54% (2) (250)
14 13 Jarrod Shoemaker USA 09:09:10 09:19:27 00:49:02 04:57:02 05:51:04 03:18:06 45% +55% -0% (2) (197)
15 18 Colin Laughery USA 09:13:26 09:18:33 00:58:27 04:43:19 05:46:46 03:26:40 76% +24% -0% (6) 194
16 9 Bryan Rhodes NZL 09:20:09 09:23:44 00:49:02 04:47:54 05:41:56 03:38:13 12% +3% -85% (29) 203
17 16 Ivan Dominguez USA 10:15:34 10:28:51 00:56:39 05:00:26 06:02:05 04:13:29 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (293)
18 15 Max Biessmann USA 10:16:34 10:29:52 00:53:51 04:48:33 05:47:24 04:29:10 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (294)
11 Robert Wade IRL n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (1 IM Pro race) (n/a)
20 Patrick Mckeon USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
21 Kennett Peterson USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Female Race Participants

The strength of the field is 9% of a typical Kona field.

Rank Bib Name Nation Expected Time Rating Exp. Swim Exp. Bike Exp. T2 Exp. Run Consistency Overall
1 28 Rachel Joyce GBR 09:05:36 09:03:58 00:53:30 04:50:15 05:48:45 03:16:51 68% +32% -0% (17) (3)
2 27 Heather Jackson USA 09:12:57 09:12:39 01:00:17 04:49:44 05:55:01 03:17:56 59% +29% -13% (6) 4
3 26 Danielle Mack USA 09:33:01 09:50:28 01:03:57 05:03:56 06:12:52 03:20:09 40% +15% -45% (9) 61
4 29 Kelly Williamson USA 09:34:49 09:33:55 00:55:40 05:19:54 06:20:34 03:14:15 87% +7% -6% (14) 34
5 36 Darbi Roberts USA 09:47:59 09:54:59 00:55:42 05:10:15 06:10:57 03:37:02 50% +0% -50% (8) 68
6 30 Uli Bromme USA 09:50:42 09:48:11 01:04:55 05:00:46 06:10:41 03:40:01 35% +38% -27% (14) (55)
7 34 Mackenzie Madison USA 09:53:59 10:03:03 01:01:38 05:06:53 06:13:30 03:40:29 35% +7% -58% (13) 78
8 37 Maggie Rusch USA 10:10:24 10:30:30 01:03:15 05:14:26 06:22:41 03:47:43 31% +20% -49% (5) (132)
9 35 Ashley Paulson USA 10:12:14 10:20:16 01:14:59 05:23:18 06:43:17 03:28:57 69% +0% -31% (4) 112
10 32 Kate Bruck USA 10:25:37 10:33:25 01:05:21 05:30:06 06:40:27 03:45:10 60% +0% -40% (4) 138
11 31 Sarah Bay USA 10:32:41 10:46:21 01:10:07 05:23:11 06:38:18 03:54:23 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (146)
12 39 Amy Vantassel USA 10:52:58 11:13:43 01:12:39 05:43:45 07:01:24 03:51:34 47% +0% -53% (2) (151)
33 Kimberly Goodell USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
38 Carla Schubiger SUI n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Winning Odds

Male Race Participants

  • Timothy O’Donnell: 37% (2-1)
  • Tyler Butterfield: 21% (4-1)
  • Tim Don: 12% (7-1)
  • Leon Griffin: 11% (8-1)
  • Justin Daerr: 11% (8-1)
  • Matt Chrabot: 6% (16-1)

Female Race Participants

Statistically, Rachel Joyce may be the clear favorite, but this does not take into account that IM Boulder will be her first IM after having baby Archie. (Her last IM before was her second place finish at IM Hawaii 2015.) Even with Rachel’s results in her prep 70.3s, Heather Jackson must be considered the “real” favorite for this race.

  • Rachel Joyce: 71% (1-1)
  • Heather Jackson: 23% (3-1)
  • Danielle Mack: 3% (35-1)
  • Kelly Williamson: 2% (44-1)
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Ironman Lanzarote 2017 – Analyzing Results

Update May 21: Added a few DNFs after updated data was available in the Athlete Tracker.

Race Conditions

The conditions for this year’s race were typical for IM Lanzarote: Nothing special for the swim and run (almost no adjustments) but a very slow bike (adjustment of -19:11) and a slow race overall (adjustment of -23:51), even for the “slow standard” of Lanzarote.

Still, there were two new course records: Lucy Charles posted new swim and bike course records. She improved her own swim course record from last year by five seconds, and also Tara Norton’s bike course record (5:26:23 from 2010) to 5:23:29.

Male Race Results

Romain Guillaume quickly took the lead after the swim, after 90k he was joined by his BMC Etixx teammate Bart Aernouts. Bart stepped up his bike performance and posted the best split. When his teammate struggled on the run, he took control of the race and won by nine minutes. BartRun

Photo: A focused Bart at the start of the run. (Credit: Ingo Kutsche, used with permission)

Second place went to Alessandro Degasperi who lost some time on the bike but then posted the fastest run split. Defending champion Jesse Thomas couldn’t make up any time to the leader on the run, but a solid overall race saw him finish in third.  Fourth place went to the relatively unknown Peru Alfaro who had taken a two and a half year break from Ironman racing, Romain Guillaume struggled on the run but held on to fifth place.

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money KPR Points
1 Bart Aernouts BEL 00:50:34 04:48:23 02:48:28 08:34:13 -12:03 US$ 5,000 2000
2 Alessandro Degasperi ITA 00:50:33 04:59:18 02:47:39 08:43:22 -09:53 US$ 2,750 1600
3 Jesse Thomas USA 00:50:34 04:55:54 02:55:25 08:49:02 03:01 US$ 1,750 1280
4 Peru Alfaro ESP 00:47:03 05:02:28 02:55:29 08:52:31 -04:10 US$ 1,250 960
5 Romain Guillaume FRA 00:48:29 04:50:54 03:11:16 08:57:01 -06:21 US$ 1,000 720
6 Samuel Huerzeler SUI 00:52:08 05:05:06 02:53:53 08:59:07 -25:35 US$ 750 540
7 Timothy Van Houtem BEL 00:57:11 04:59:53 02:55:58 09:01:13 n/a 405
8 Cedric Lassonde FRA 00:53:29 05:08:09 03:05:18 09:14:49 -12:12 305
9 Guillaume Lecallier FRA 00:55:38 05:07:06 03:06:06 09:15:45 n/a 230
10 Trevor Delsaut FRA 00:50:32 05:09:17 03:11:52 09:19:16 11:01 170
11 Nicholas Ward Munoz GBR 00:53:32 05:21:48 03:00:34 09:23:44 05:52 120
12 Andrey Lyatskiy RUS 00:52:14 05:24:33 03:00:05 09:24:17 -00:29 85
13 Karl-Johan Danielsson SWE 00:50:29 05:19:35 03:12:56 09:29:50 11:30 60
14 Philipp Mock GER 00:57:02 05:01:56 03:23:38 09:32:13 n/a 40
15 Xavier Torrades ESP 00:50:31 05:27:44 03:10:20 09:35:10 04:56 30
16 Mike Schifferle SUI 00:59:28 05:18:17 03:14:09 09:43:24 14:44 20
17 Georgy Kaurov RUS 00:46:58 05:30:14 03:35:38 09:59:07 09:06 15
18 Marcus Hultgren SWE 00:55:50 05:22:56 03:45:42 10:13:20 25:26 10
19 Mads Bang Jensen DEN 00:55:31 05:32:38 03:47:50 10:23:56 n/a 8
20 Dominique Wymmersch Gallego ESP 00:58:11 05:33:54 03:51:45 10:35:19 n/a 5
21 Youri Severin NED 00:49:03 05:27:58 04:17:04 10:42:00 1:06:09 3
22 Ivan Tejero Vazquez ESP 00:50:34 05:33:05 04:18:00 10:50:07 26:37 3
23 Stephen Bayliss GBR 00:47:04 05:14:17 04:44:39 10:52:57 1:20:48 3
Konstantin Bachor GER 00:50:28 05:11:19 DNF
Frederic Schaffner FRA 00:55:36 05:48:57 DNF
Carlos Lopez Diaz ESP 00:46:58 DNF
Malte Bruns GER 00:52:09 DNF
Cyril Viennot FRA 00:52:16 DNF
Daniel Herlbauer AUT 00:53:31 DNF
Gergely Nagy HUN 00:53:42 DNF
Erik Holmberg SWE 00:53:45 DNF
Victor Del Corral ESP 00:55:37 DNF
Victor Rodriguez ESP 00:55:41 DNF
Stephen Donnelly IRL 00:55:42 DNF
Josep Vinolas ESP 00:55:43 DNF
Alain Djouad-Guibert MOR 01:04:49 DNF

Female Race Results

The female race was dominated by super swimmer Lucy Charles. It wasn’t a surprise she was leading after the swim (posting a new swim course record), but then she continued to extend her lead on the bike – also posting a new bike course record. Her lead in T2 was close to 20 minutes, leaving just a little bit of hope for the chasers. However, she was able to have a solid run as well and won the race with a comfortable margin of nine minutes.

LucyCharlesBike

Photo: Lucy on one of the picturesque spots of the Lanzarote bike course. (Credit: Ingo Kutsche, used with permission)

The only athlete able to take a serious chunk out of Lucy’s lead was Corinne Abraham who posted the fastest marathon to finish second. In T2 Lucy Gossage seemed to be in the best position to challenge Lucy for the win, but she had indicated before the race she hadn’t done her usual training and it showed a bit with a 3:13 run, she was still able to finish third – giving Great Britain a podium sweep. Solid bike rides allowed Jeanne Collonge to finish in fourth place and Saleta Castro in fifth.

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money KPR Points
1 Lucy Charles GBR 00:47:06 05:23:29 03:18:34 09:35:39 -34:58 US$ 5,000 2000
2 Corinne Abraham GBR 00:57:13 05:37:17 03:03:53 09:44:29 -04:41 US$ 2,750 1600
3 Lucy Gossage GBR 01:00:40 05:29:44 03:13:05 09:50:22 08:23 US$ 1,750 1280
4 Jeanne Collonge FRA 00:58:12 05:31:42 03:26:31 10:04:46 -05:57 US$ 1,250 960
5 Saleta Castro Nogueira ESP 00:55:40 05:47:28 03:21:01 10:11:45 -09:45 US$ 1,000 720
6 Kate Comber GBR 00:52:25 05:52:13 03:29:23 10:22:34 -00:24 US$ 750 540
7 Pia Englyst DEN 01:05:07 06:11:04 03:26:46 10:52:15 n/a 405
8 Kelly Fillnow USA 01:06:28 06:11:41 03:28:43 10:56:27 36:25 305
9 Lina-Kristin Schink GER 01:10:25 06:19:00 03:28:52 11:07:33 28:53 230
10 Patricia Bueno Perez ESP 01:00:58 06:37:27 03:48:59 11:38:08 n/a 170
11 Annabel Diawuoh GER 01:24:41 06:46:18 04:06:23 12:24:59 n/a 120
Tine Holst DEN 01:03:05 05:37:25 DNF
Alexandra Tondeur BEL 00:57:55 DNF
Camille Deligny FRA 01:00:12 DNF

Kona Qualifying Implications

Here’s the notable changes in Kona Qualifying on the male side (projected July cutoff 3.500 points):

  • Safe for a July slot: Bart Aernouts (5.825)
  • On the Bubble (might be enough, but maybe not): Jesse Thomas (3.420)
  • Close (but more points needed): Romain Guillaume (2.390), Alessandro Degasperi (2.050)

On the female side (projected cutoff 4.300 points):

  • Safe for a July slot: Lucy Gossage (4.725, but she indicated she’s not interested in racing Kona this year)
  • Close (but more points needed): Jeanne Collonge (3.910)

Lucy Charles (2.115) and Corinne Abraham (2.675) haven’t scored many points before, they still need a lot of points to be able to qualify.

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On the Relative Importance of Legs in Long Distance Triathlon

Triathlon’s combination of three different sports creates dynamic races. Comparing to single sport endurance events such as marathon running, you have to account for the strengths and weaknesses in each of the legs. While you can be pretty sure that the winner of a marathon will be close to the front after 30k, things are more complicated for a triathlon. The T2 leader is in a great position to win the race, but stronger runners keep the race interesting for much longer, and often big events are decided very close to the finish line – just think back to Kona 2014 when Mirinda Carfrae was able to win the race even after being more than 15 minutes behind in T2.

There has been a lot of discussion about the “most important” leg in a triathlon. In addition to getting the balance right, it’s still interesting to ask if long-distance triathlon favors the stronger bike riders (that will still need to have a decent run) or if everything is decided on the run and the strong runners just have to make sure to not fall too far behind on run.

This post discusses this issue from a statistical view point. I have analyzed Pro race results from 2005 to 2016, looking at more than 500 male and female races with a decent number of results from almost 300 Ironman and Challenge events over the IM-distance. For each of these I have calculated the “relative importance” of each of the legs with a statistics package. The concept of relative importance describes where the race is decided – not necessarily where the most time is spent or where the largest differences occur, but which leg matters most for the final outcome.

Examples and Averages

Here are a few examples where one of the legs had a very large influence on the race results:

  • 2015 Female Race at IM Cairns (Swim Importance: 40%)
    This race was basically decided after the swim. Liz Blatchford built a gap of more three and a half minutes to her competitors. She went on to post the best run and bike times as well, but the gaps were smaller than on the swim. Similarly, the order of athletes behind her didn’t change much after the swim, for example Gina Crawford was second in T1 and had the second best bike and run.
    It’s quite rare for the swim to be the deciding leg, there were only five races (out of more than 500 or less than 1%) where the swim was the most important leg.
  • 2014 Male Race at IM Hawaii (Bike Importance: 55%)
    In 2014 the men’s Kona winner was Sebastian Kienle – he built a dominating lead on the bike that he was able to hold on to during the run. Behind him there were a few shuffles on the run, but other than a few athletes “exploding” on the run the time differences were quite small.
  • 2016 Male Race at IM Hawaii (Run Importance: 69%)
    Last year’s male Kona race was wide open until the run: A group of seven athletes were leading into T2 less than a minute apart. Six of these finished in the Top 7 in the end, with the time differences on the run pretty much determining the order athletes finished. Only Patrick Lange managed to climb into the Top 7 – on the back of a new Kona run course record.

Another typical scenario is that there isn’t a dominating leg but that the bike and run have almost the same importance. Here’s an example from Kona:

  • 2013  Female Race at IM Hawaii (Bike Importance 43%, Run Importance 42%)
    The Top 5 women had almost the same bike splits: Yvonne Van Vlerken was the fastest with a 4:54, slowest among the Top 5 was Mirinda Carfrae with a 4:58 which was still the seventh fastest bike time – the fast bike times allowed them to separate from the rest of the field or make up lost ground after a slower swim. The top finishers also had pretty similar run times just above three hours with four of the five fastest runs among them, solidifying their positions at the front – exceptions were the winner Mirinda Carfrae with a 2:50 and fifth place Caroline Steffen with a 3:11.
The overall average numbers for the importance of each of the legs are:
  • 16% for the Swim
  • 39% for the Bike
  • 45% for the Run

Changes over the Years

While the leg contribution in a single race is often shaped by the participants, race tactics and dynamics, the average data by years shows a long term trend:

LegContributionYears

The graph above shows that the relative importance of the swim has increased in previous years but is still at under 20%. Similarly, the importance of the bike has been increasing, it is approaching the importance of the run. The run is still still the most important leg but with a smaller margin now than ten years ago. In fact 2015 has been the first year where I observed the bike on average being more important than the leg.

What’s the relevance of this data? Here’s my interpretation of it:

  • The increased importance of the swim shows that at the top level of our sport you have to be a good swimmer as well. This confirms the points that Tim Floyd and I made in our post “The Cost of the Kona Swim” for LavaMagazine.
  • It gets more and more important to be able to follow a fast bike with a fast run. In the past, the faster bike riders have always struggled a bit on the run, in order for them to be successful they can no longer afford to lose too much time on the run.
  • For the faster runners it’s the other way around: For them to be successful they can’t be too far behind in T2 – which means that they have to ride more aggressively, even if this ends up hurting their run times a bit.

I think this interpretation is supported by the development of race times we’ve seen in the last few years: For a while male athletes struggled to balance the bike and run. In 2013 we’ve seen a number of 2:40 runs: Bart Aernouts (at IM France) and Victor Del Corral (at IM Florida) ran 2:37 marathons.In 2015 there were some crazy fast bike times, for example IM Texas saw two great bike splits with a 4:10 by Joe Skipper and a 4:11 by Lionel Sanders, but they only ran 3:04 and 3:11 and the race was won by Matt Hanson with a 2:45 run. In 2016 athletes were much better at getting the balance right: A world record by Jan Frodeno (7:35 at Roth with a 4:08 bike and 2:39 run) and the fastest time in an Ironman-branded race by Lionel Sanders (7:44 at Arizona with a 4:04 and 2:42).

Differences between Courses

Another question that is often asked is which courses favor certain types of athletes.

As noted above, the swim has a relatively small contribution to the overall result, but there are still some noticeable differences between different courses:

SwimContribution

Kona is actually the course with the lowest average swim contribution. I think this is mainly caused by a relatively evenly matched field, and everyone tries to stay with the front group as long as possible, usually resulting in relatively large front groups coming out with very small differences. Compare that to IM Germany, IM Western Australia or IM Copenhagen, where often the swim leader manages to create a gap and then goes on to win the race. Think of Jan Frodeno in Germany 2015, Luke McKenzie at Western Australia 2015 or Camilla Pedersen at IM Copenhagen 2012.

Another question that is asked is which courses are good for the strong bike riders and which favor the faster runners. The following graph shows the average difference between the bike and run contribution for the courses with a decent amount of data:

BikeVsRun

If the bar goes to the left and into the red, the bike leg has a higher contribution, if it goes to the right and into the green, then the run is more important. Also, the longer the bar the larger the difference is. IM Wales is the best course for the strong bike riders (with the bike leg contributing 20% more to the final result than the run), while Western Australia clearly favors the runners (run contribution 19% larger than the bike).

Summary

Analyzing the importance of the swim, bike and run in long distance Pro races shows a couple of interesting points:

  • Each race has different participants creating different race dynamics, influencing where important things happen in the race, averages help to identify differences between courses.
  • While the swim and bike are getting more and more important, the leg with the largest contribution to the final result is still the run.
  • For most courses the contribution is between 13 and 18%, only very few have a swim importance slightly above 20%.
  • With Ironman Wales and Challenge Wanka there are only two courses that clearly favor the bike leg (bike contribution more than 5% higher than the run contribution).
  • Conversely, there are 12 courses favoring the run, the run legs at IM Wisconsin and IM Western Australia showing the largest difference.

While the analysis presented in this post is based on Pro data, the conclusions about the courses seem to be properties of the courses rather than the fields racing the course. Therefore, they should apply to agegroupers as well and can be used as a general guideline to decide which course might favor the strengths of a particular athlete.

But even with the differences between courses affecting the importance of the legs, triathlon is truly a sport of its own: You can only do well if you are great in each of the three legs. The interaction between the disciplines makes triathlon such an interesting sport to follow and to participate in.

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