Archive | IM Hawaii

Ironman Hamburg 2021 (Aug 29th) – Seedings

IMHHLogoUpdates:

  • August 20th: Some more withdrawals crossed out in the table below.
  • August 18th: The latest start list shows some withdrawals, I have crossed them out in the table below.

Previous Winners

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
2017 James Cunnama (ZAF) 08:00:36 Daniela Bleymehl (GER) 09:07:49
2018 Bart Aernouts (BEL) 07:05:26 Sarah Crowley (AUS) 08:08:21
2019 Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) 08:11:26 Susie Cheetham (GBR) 08:58:02

Last Race’s TOP 3

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Kristian Hogenhaug DEN 00:52:03 04:17:29 02:54:03 08:11:26
2 Ruedi Wild SUI 00:50:13 04:24:16 02:55:37 08:16:34
3 Paul Schuster GER 00:50:05 04:25:32 03:02:37 08:24:25

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Susie Cheetham GBR 01:00:58 04:46:57 03:03:56 08:58:02
2 Sarah Piampiano USA 01:06:27 04:50:54 02:56:21 09:00:42
3 Julia Gajer GER 00:56:57 04:53:30 03:12:31 09:09:39

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 08:00:36 James Cunnama 2017-08-13
Swim overall 00:47:38 Carlos Lopez Diaz 2017-08-13
Bike overall 04:17:29 Kristian Hogenhaug 2019-07-28
Run overall 02:40:58 James Cunnama 2017-08-13
Total female 08:58:02 Susie Cheetham 2019-07-28
Swim female 00:55:53 Daniela Bleymehl 2017-08-13
Bike female 04:46:57 Susie Cheetham 2019-07-28
Run female 02:56:21 Sarah Piampiano 2019-07-28

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM Hamburg is 06:33.

Race Adjustments for IM Hamburg

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Finishers Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2017 05:17 00:18 00:45 04:54 18 of 20 05:17 -00:21 00:45 04:54
2019 07:49 -02:09 09:50 00:31 21 of 35 06:33 -01:27 05:18 02:42

Kona slots and Prize Money

IM Hamburg has 2 Pro Kona slot(s). It has a total prize purse of 50.000 US$, paying 10 deep.

Female Race Participants

The strength of the field is 30% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency
1 5 Laura Philipp * GER 08:49:10 08:58:12 00:58:17 04:49:16 05:52:33 02:56:37 100% +0% -0% (2)
2 21 Imogen Simmonds * SUI 09:09:10 09:18:46 00:53:09 04:56:32 05:54:41 03:14:29 100% +0% -0% (2)
3 2 Carolin Lehrieder (KQ) GER 09:11:13 09:33:02 00:56:00 04:54:03 05:55:03 03:16:10 23% +21% -56% (18)
4 24 Laura Zimmermann GER 09:13:11 09:34:05 01:05:16 04:54:27 06:04:43 03:08:28 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
5 8 Svenja Thoes * GER 09:16:37 09:34:31 00:58:39 05:01:59 06:05:38 03:10:59 17% +0% -83% (4)
6 6 Alexandra Tondeur BEL 09:18:27 09:32:06 01:02:16 05:05:37 06:12:53 03:05:34 34% +11% -56% (9)
7 4 Kristin Liepold GER 09:19:19 09:29:46 01:07:30 05:10:42 06:23:12 02:56:07 77% +15% -8% (29)
8 7 Manon Genet * FRA 09:23:59 09:40:18 00:58:30 05:01:50 06:05:21 03:18:38 21% +23% -56% (8)
9 18 Annah Watkinson ZAF 09:25:15 09:31:49 00:59:46 05:09:28 06:14:13 03:11:02 75% +0% -25% (10)
10 1 Lauren Brandon USA 09:29:33 09:44:39 00:49:24 05:02:26 05:56:50 03:32:43 30% +5% -65% (13)
11 25 Renee Kiley AUS 09:30:25 09:44:52 00:57:59 05:02:00 06:05:00 03:25:25 59% +18% -23% (10)
12 3 Melanie McQuaid CAN 09:31:29 09:55:19 00:59:13 05:07:04 06:11:18 03:20:11 26% +45% -29% (8)
13 19 Katharina Grohmann GER 09:41:08 09:47:20 01:11:46 05:07:22 06:24:08 03:17:00 68% +32% -0% (20)
14 15 Jenny Nae SWE 09:55:20 10:06:25 01:07:49 05:20:52 06:33:42 03:21:38 100% +0% -0% (4)
15 20 Ashley Paulson USA 09:55:49 10:11:33 01:13:34 05:30:07 06:48:41 03:07:08 78% +5% -16% (12)
16 10 Palmira Alvarez MEX 09:56:04 10:13:07 01:08:49 05:17:27 06:31:17 03:24:47 66% +18% -16% (14)
17 17 Leanne Fanoy NED 09:56:33 10:19:05 01:05:23 05:29:03 06:39:26 03:17:07 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
18 23 Annika Timm GER 10:10:11 10:33:14 01:12:48 05:07:03 06:24:50 03:45:21 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
19 11 Helena Herrero Gomez ESP 10:13:45 10:39:45 01:02:44 05:43:40 06:51:24 03:22:21 42% +0% -58% (10)
9 Anna-Lena Best Pohl GER n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)
12 Mirella Karlsson SWE n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)
14 Cathrine Sand DEN n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)
16 Leonie Konczalla GER n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)
26 Kayla Kobelin USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated 0% +0% -100% (3)

Winning Odds

Female Race Participants

  • Laura Philipp: 59% (1-1)
  • Imogen Simmonds: 10% (9-1)
  • Carolin Lehrieder: 9% (10-1)
  • Kristin Liepold: 9% (10-1)
  • Alexandra Tondeur: 3% (31-1)
  • Svenja Thoes: 3% (34-1)
  • Laura Zimmermann: 3% (37-1)

Olympics & Kona

This post has a look at athletes who have raced at the Olympics and also in the Kona Pro field.

(Note: Some of my data for the earlier Kona Pro races might be incomplete, please let me know if I missed any athletes or additional Kona races for the athletes listed.)

Trivia

Here are a few highlights of the detailed data from the tables below:

  • Jan Frodeno is the only athlete who was able to win the Olympics (Beijing 2008) and Kona (2015, 2016 & 2019). The most successful Olympics&Kona athlete on the women’s side is Michellie Jones (Silver Medal in Sydney 2000 and Kona winner 2006). Michellie and Jan are also the only athletes to podium in both events.
  • Usually, athletes race Kona after the end of their Olympic-distance career – especially in recent years when success at either distance requires focussing on that distance. The biggest exception to this rule is Rob Barel from the Netherlands: He finished fourth in Kona 1984, a full 16 years before racing in Sydney 2000 as a 42-year-old. 
  • So far, only Joanna Zeiger has raced the Olympics and Kona in the same year. Joanna was fourth in August at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, then went on to finish fifth in October in Kona.
  • Joanna Zeiger, Sarah True and Andy Potts are the only US athletes who have raced the Olympics and the Kona Pro race. (You could add Greg Bennett to the list, he was racing for Australia in the Olympics 2004 and for the US in Kona 2012.) Sarah (fourth place in London 2012 and fourth in Kona 2018) slightly edges out Joanna to claim the best combined record among the US athletes.

Tokyo & Kona 2021

I have posted the startlists for the Olympic races (men July 26th, women July 27th) here. (In addition there is the Mixed Relay on July 31st.) Among the 112 athletes on the male and female lists, only Javier Gomez has raced in Kona before. He and Gustav Iden are qualified for Kona 2021, they could race the Olympics and Kona in the same year. Some others might try to qualify after the Olympics, there have been rumors of more Norwegians trying to make it to Kona this year.

Women

Athlete 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 Kona Best
Kate Allen (AUT)   1 14     1 start (2002) 7
Jodie Cunnama (GBR)   34       4 starts (2013-2016) 4
Ewa Dederko (POL)     30     1 start (2005) DNF
Julie Dibens (GBR)   30       2 starts (2010-2011) 3
Eva Dollinger (AUT)   28 DNF     1 start (2010) 21
Helle Frederiksen (DEN)       27   1 start (2018) 16
Anne Haug (GER)       11 36 2 starts (2018-2019) 1
Michellie Jones (AUS) 2         4 starts (2005-2009) 1
Sibylle Matter (SUI) 36         3 starts (2002-2008) 9
Samantha McGlone (CAN)   27       3 starts (2007-2010) 2
Beatrice Mouthon (FRA) 35         1 start (1995) 8
Isabelle Mouthon (FRA) 7         1 start (1995) 2
Daniela Ryf (SUI)     7 40   6 starts (2014-2019) 1
Jill Savege (CAN)   39       1 start (2001) 10
Kathleen Smet (BEL) 16 4       1 start (2005) 14
Sarah True (USA)       4 DNF 2 starts (2018-2019) 4
Samantha Warriner (NZL)   18 16     1 start (2011) 17
Joanna Zeiger (USA) 4         7 starts (1997-2007) 5
Lucie Zelenkova (CZE)   DNF       2 starts (2009-2011) 22

Men

Athlete 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 Kona Best
Marko Albert (EST)   21 41     6 starts (2011-2017) 13
Rob Barel (NED) 43         3 starts (1984-1995) 4
Greg Bennett (AUS)   4       1 start (2012) 33
Dirk Bockel (LUX)     25     5 starts (2009-2013) 4
Alistair Brownlee (GBR)     12 1 1 1 start (2019) 21
Tyler Butterfield (BMU)   35   34   7 starts (2010-2018) 5
Will Clarke (GBR)     14     3 starts (2016-2019) 25
Reinaldo Colucci (BRA)     37 36   2 starts (2009-2017) 21
Bevan Docherty (NZL)   2 3 12   2 starts (2013-2014) DNF
Norbert Domnik (AUT)   37       2 starts (2007-2008) 51
Tim Don (GBR) 10 18       3 starts (2015-2018) 15
Daniel Fontana (ITA)   28 33     6 starts (2010-2019) 12
Jan Frodeno (GER)     1 6   5 starts (2014-2019) 1
Oscar Galindez (ARG) 28         2 starts (2005-2006) 11
Javier Gomez (ESP)     4 2   1 start (2018) 11
Rasmus Henning (DEN)   7 8     4 starts (2009-2012) 5
Marek Jaskolka (POL)       47   1 start (2014) 22
Andrew Johns (GBR) DNF 16       1 start (2006) 27
Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)     16 31   1 start (2015) DNF
Simon Lessing (GBR) 9         1 start (2005) DNF
Eneko Llanos (ESP) 23 20       13 starts (2006-2019) 2
Brent McMahon (CAN)   39   27   4 starts (2015-2018) 9
Hiroyuki Nishiuchi (JPN) 46 32       5 starts (2005-2011) 34
Takumi Obara (JPN) 21         1 start (2006) 49
Filip Ospaly (CZE) DNF 29 20     1 start (2014) 31
Andy Potts (USA)   22       11 starts (2008-2019) 4
Andreas Raelert (GER) 12 6       8 starts (2009-2016) 2
Ivan Rana (ESP) 5 23 5     6 starts (2013-2018) 6
Daniil Sapunov (UKR)   17 21 42   1 start (2019) 24
Hirokatsu Tayama (JPN)   13 48 20 DNF 1 start (2005) 29
Stephan Vuckovic (GER) 2         6 starts (2005-2010) 10
Ruedi Wild (SUI)       39   3 starts (2016-2018) 14
Axel Zeebroek (BEL)     13     4 starts (2011-2014) 15

Analyzing Kona Finishing Times Through the Years

This post looks at the times and splits at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, highlights some of the exceptional results and tries to spot some long-term trends.

The graphs were developed for Ironman as part of their coverage during what would have been race week. Greg Welch and I had a chat about it that was shown as part of their “Kona Celebration Week Daily Show 6 – E Ola Mau” (starting about 1:07 into the show) which you can still watch on the Ironman Now Facebook page. Many thanks to Greg and Julia for joining me on this awesome journey through Ironman history!

IronmanKonaCoverage

Overall Times

The first graph looks at the overall finishing times of the Top 10 in Kona, both for the men (blue) and women (green) from 1986 up to 2019:


(For a hi-res version of this and all other graphs, just click on them.)

A few key points:

  • There are a lot of “ups and downs” in the times – a sign of how variable the conditions in Kona are. It’s never a good idea to race Kona with a specific time goal in mind.
  • 2004 has been a particularly slow year with a lot of wind on the bike. Normann Stadler rode by far the fastest bike split with a 4:37 – only two years later he rode a 4:18, setting a new bike course record. Both years he was winning the race!
  • A recent example of a fast year is 2018 when bike and overall course records were set – conditions on the bike course were very fast with reportedly hardly any wind.
  • The closest the women have come to the male finishers is still 1988 when Paula Newby-Fraser finished 11th overall.

Details for the Men’s Times

The next chart look at the men’s Top 10 and a couple of the course records:

2 MenTop10

You can distinguish between a few phases:

  • Dave Scott brought down the course records in the first half of the 1980s down to sub-8:30.
  • Then he and Mark Allen had their epic battle in 1989 (with a new course record of 8:09).
  • Mark continued to race at that level, setting his last course record in 1993 and winning his sixth title in 1995. Luc Van Lierde set another CR in 1996.
  • After that there was a period of “slower years” with winning times just under 8:30 for quite some time.
  • Between 2005 and 2015 the winning times hovered around 8:15, with the notable exception of Craig Alexander’s course record in 2011.
  • Since 2016 the winning times have come down, with two new course records in 2018 (Patrick Lange for the first time under 8 hours in Kona) and 2019.
  • Jan Frodeno’s course record in 2019 is especially notable as a wider Top 10 indicates that the conditions were not that quick.

The swim plays an important tactical role but can be neglected for the overall finishing times. Let’s have a look at the bike and run splits to see where these faster times come from. First, the bike:

3 MenBike

As before, the chart shows the bike times for the Top 10 men, with the winner’s bike time indicated by the darker blue line. Again, most of the course records are indicated.

  • It’s clear that the winner almost always had the fastest bike leg or is at least quite close to the fastest split. There are very few exceptions such as 2007 or 2017 when the race was won by strong runners (Chris McCormack and Patrick Lange).
  • The bike times have been getting faster in “steps”: In the 1990s (just under 4:30) and mid-2000s (just under 4:20) by German “Uber Bikers” (Jürgen Zack, Thomas Hellriegel, Normann Stadler) and then again after 2016 with Cam Wurf setting two new bike course records in 2017 and 2018 (now just under 4:10).
  • Similarly, the bike times within the Top 10 have come down – sub-4:30 is roughly what is needed these days.

The next graph has a closer look at the Men’s Run Splits:

4 MenRun

  • Maybe even more than for the bike leg, the winners are very close to the fastest run time among the Top 10. There are only a few exceptions, for example Normann Stadler in 2004 and 2006 or Sebastian Kienle in 2014.
  • Overall, the run times have not come down since Mark Allen’s 1989 course record. Even if Patrick Lange has set a new course record in 2016, he and Dave Scott are still the second and third fastest runners in Kona history!
  • The same applies for the rest of the front finishers, you can still finish in the Top 10 with a 3-hour marathon.

Details for the Women’s Times

Of course the look at the women’s finishing times is also interesting:

5 WomenTop10

There are some interesting data points:

  • Paula Newby Fraser has been the athlete bringing finishing times by quite a lot: Her first course record was a 9:49 in 1986 – she brought that down to just over 9 hours in 1989.
  • Erin Baker was able to break Paula’s record in 1987, but Paula took it back just one year later.
  • Paula’s fastest time in Kona was 8:55 in 1992.
  • After that, times were a bit slower until Chrissie Wellington took the course record with an 8:54 in 2009, followed by Mirinda Carfrae with an 8:52 in 2013.
  • Daniela Ryf set two new course records in 2016 and 2018, bringing the current record down to sub 8:30!
  • Chrissie, Rinny and Daniela have also increased the pressure on the rest of the women, resulting in the Top10 times coming down from about 9:45 in the early 2000s to under 9:15 in recent years.

Here’s a look at the women’s bike splits:

6 WomenBike

  • As for the men, the winner consistently posts one of the fastest bike splits
  • It’s again Paula Newby-Fraser who brought the bike records down from 5:22 in 1987 to 4:48 in 1993.
  • It took Karin Thuerig, a world-class athlete even among the time trial specialists, to set new course records in 2010 and 2011.
  • That time wasn’t broken before 2018, when Daniela Ryf leveraged the perfect conditions to lower the record to 4:26.
  • As for the overall times and the men’s bike times, the female bike times for the Top 10 have come down since about 2012.

Here’s the last graph – a look at the female run times:

7 WomenRun

  • This graph shows the same message as before: The winner is almost always within a minute of the fastest split. This is true even for Daniela who isn’t really known as a speedy runner!
  • There’s been some improvement in the run times in the years of Paula, Erin, and Heather Fuhr (all of them about 3:04), then a bigger step down to Lori Bowden’s first sub-3 marathon in Kona in 1999.
  • Chrissie and Rinny brought these times down to just over 2:50.
  • Until Anne Haug in 2019, the run times have been a bit slower than that.
  • The Top10 run times haven’t changed much in the 2000s, it’s still possible to finish in the Top10 with a run split over 3:15.

Expectations for the Future

Are there any trends we can look for in the next few years? Here are a few speculations:

  • We’ve seen a lot of improvement on the bike, but maybe there’s still some potential left for the top women.
  • On the marathon, I think that there will be some faster times needed for a Top 10 finish, potentially aided by more even bike rides, better nutrition or heat adaption and maybe new, faster shoes.
  • For a Top 10 finish, I expect the men will need a run under 2:50 and for the women under 3:10.
  • Any overall improvements will likely come from a close race where two or more athletes are battling for the win. On the men’s side, it might be a front bike group that forces Frodo to bike and run hard, and on the female side I don’t think that we’ve seen Daniela running to her full potential quite yet.

Where do you think we will see improvements in the next years?

Ironman Hawaii 2020 – Seedings

Today, October 10th would have been race day for the 2020 IronmanWorld Championships in Kona. The whole 2020 racing season has been disrupted, including the Kona race which has first been postponed to February 2021 and then completely canceled.

This post has a look at what my seedings could have looked like – obviously even more caveats apply than for my normal seedings. For example, almost none of the athletes mentioned have raced since Kona, even fewer on the full distance. The result is that the 2020 seedings mainly ending up as a mixture of the 2019 seedings plus the results of Kona 2019. Therefore, take these more as a discussion starter than some definitive endpoint – after all results are always determined on the racecourse!

I can’t wait to see a return to racing and hopefully a more normal 2021 season, including new results by the main contenders – leading to even more interesting speculations for the next Kona race on October 9th, 2021.

Last Race’s TOP 3

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Jan Frodeno GER 00:47:31 04:16:02 02:42:43 07:51:13
2 Timothy O’Donnell USA 00:47:38 04:18:11 02:49:45 07:59:41
3 Sebastian Kienle GER 00:52:17 04:15:04 02:49:56 08:02:04

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Anne Haug GER 00:54:09 04:50:17 02:51:07 08:40:10
2 Lucy Charles-Barclay GBR 00:49:02 04:47:20 03:05:59 08:46:44
3 Sarah Crowley AUS 00:54:05 04:50:13 02:59:20 08:48:13

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 07:51:13 Jan Frodeno 2019-10-12
Swim overall 00:46:29 Jan Sibbersen 2018-10-13
Bike overall 04:09:06 Cameron Wurf 2018-10-13
Run overall 02:39:45 Patrick Lange 2016-10-08
Total female 08:26:18 Daniela Ryf 2018-10-13
Swim female 00:48:14 Lucy Charles-Barclay 2018-10-13
Bike female 04:26:07 Daniela Ryf 2018-10-13
Run female 02:50:26 Mirinda Carfrae 2014-10-11

Seedings for Male Race

# Name Nat Expected ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Kona Consistency
1 Jan Frodeno GER 07:59:02 00:48:48 04:20:18 05:14:06 02:44:56 80% +0% -20% (5)
2 Patrick Lange GER 08:02:15 00:50:59 04:26:09 05:22:09 02:40:06 54% +0% -46% (4)
3 Sebastian Kienle GER 08:05:51 00:53:17 04:16:51 05:15:07 02:50:44 76% +0% -24% (8)
4 Ben Hoffman USA 08:09:17 00:51:17 04:25:54 05:22:11 02:47:06 76% +16% -8% (9)
5 Timothy O’Donnell USA 08:10:27 00:49:17 04:23:41 05:17:58 02:52:29 82% +14% -4% (9)
6 Joe Skipper GBR 08:12:48 00:54:12 04:22:35 05:21:47 02:51:01 89% +0% -11% (4)
7 Braden Currie NZL 08:13:36 00:49:42 04:30:15 05:24:57 02:48:39 82% +0% -18% (3)
8 Bart Aernouts BEL 08:13:40 00:56:14 04:26:05 05:27:19 02:46:21 70% +24% -5% (8)
9 Florian Angert GER 08:14:04 00:49:44 04:23:16 05:18:00 02:56:04 n/a (no Kona Pro race)
10 Cameron Wurf AUS 08:15:38 00:53:25 04:17:21 05:15:46 02:59:52 100% +0% -0% (3)
13 Javier Gomez ESP 08:17:58 00:49:44 04:30:05 05:24:48 02:53:10 100% +0% -0% (1)
17 Alistair Brownlee GBR 08:19:26 00:49:00 04:22:43 05:16:43 03:02:43 100% +0% -0% (1)
19 Lionel Sanders CAN 08:19:33 00:55:03 04:18:11 05:18:13 03:01:20 58% +16% -26% (5)
27 Josh Amberger AUS 08:30:40 00:48:34 04:28:58 05:22:31 03:08:09 18% +0% -82% (3)

Seedings for Female Race

# Name Nat Expected ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Kona Consistency
1 Anne Haug GER 08:47:11 00:55:30 04:54:20 05:54:51 02:52:20 62% +38% -0% (2)
2 Daniela Ryf SUI 08:47:21 00:56:34 04:44:22 05:45:57 03:01:24 33% +25% -42% (6)
3 Lucy Charles-Barclay GBR 08:50:30 00:49:56 04:50:09 05:45:05 03:05:25 51% +49% -0% (3)
4 Laura Philipp GER 08:57:01 01:00:20 04:49:34 05:54:55 03:02:06 100% +0% -0% (1)
5 Sarah Crowley AUS 08:59:03 00:55:39 04:53:29 05:54:08 03:04:55 56% +44% -0% (4)
6 Teresa Adam NZL 09:02:47 00:53:29 04:52:04 05:50:33 03:12:14 100% +0% -0% (1)
7 Heather Jackson USA 09:04:02 09:06:07 04:51:51 05:57:20 03:06:42 94% +6% -0% (5)
8 Carrie Lester AUS 09:05:32 09:05:30 04:54:17 05:55:41 03:09:51 73% +0% -27% (5)
9 Corinne Abraham GBR 09:07:18 01:03:00 04:53:18 06:01:19 03:05:59 100% +0% -0% (4)
10 Daniela Bleymehl GER 09:11:05 00:59:48 04:48:27 05:53:15 03:17:50 82% +0% -18% (2)

Qualifying for the February 2021 Kona race as a Professional

Note: Ironman has been forced to cancel the February 2021 race. 

With all the canceled and rescheduled races that would have carried Kona slots, the Pro qualifying system also needs to adjust – otherwise the fields would be very small and a lot of deserving athletes wouldn’t have a chance to qualify. Andrew Messick, the CEO of Ironman, has sent a Message to Pro athletes on June 30th that outlines the elements of how Pro qualifying for the February race is likely to work. He himself admits that “we have very little insight into what is going to happen in the next few weeks and months”, but outlines the framework for Pro qualifying going forward as “the best we can do at this point”. This post has a closer look at what the implications of Andrew’s outline of what can be expected.

No Validation Required for Automatic Qualifiers

With the formal suspension of Pro qualifying rules for the current qualifying year, Ironman has also waived the requirement of slot validation for Automatic Qualifiers (former Kona winners, the most recent podium, and likely also the 70.3 Champion).

This means that Daniela Ryf, Anne Haug, Lucy Charles and Sarah Crowley can plan for February without needing a previous Ironman finish, as can Patrick Lange, Jan Frodeno and Sebastian Kienle on the men’s side. (Tim O’Donnell is also an AQ, but he had already validated at IM Cozumel.)

It’s not totally clear if that also applies to the 70.3 Champion, but it’s unlikely that Gustav Iden will be interested in preparing to race Kona in February when he has his eyes set on the Olympic Games later in the season.

Slot Allocations to reflect where Pro athletes are

As there are expected to be significant travel restrictions, slots shall be offered where athletes are.

Let’s have a look at where Professional Ironman athletes came from in 2019 and what share of the prize money they have made:

Continent Pros Prize Money
Europe 276 (58,7 %) 1.394.250 $ (56,5 %)
North America 110 (23,4 %) 595.500 $ (24,1 %)
Oceania 45 (9,6 %) 403.250 $ (16,3 %)
South America 24 (5,1 %) 28.750 $ (1,2 %)
Africa 10 (2,1 %) 39.250 $ (1,6 %)
Asia/Pacific 5 (1,1 %) 6.000 $ (0,2 %)

The majority of Pros comes from Europe (about 57%), with North America following in second place. Next is Oceania (mainly Australia and New Zealand), they have made a bigger share of prize money than their share of Pro athletes indicates, for South America it’s just the other way around. Africa and Asia/Pacific are very small compared to the big continents.

What will this mean for Kona Pro slots? In 2019, there were 57 men and 44 women who qualified for Kona. (There are fewer women as some slots are assigned based on the ratio of Pro men and women in a race.) Up to IM New Zealand in March (the last qualifying race before races were canceled because of Covid), 19 women and 20 men had already qualified which would leave between 25 and 37 slots still open. (Have a look at my Kona 2020 page for details.) Let’s apply this number of open slots to the percentages above and see which potential races there are for these slots.

Europe

With 56% of the Pros, this would mean that between 14 and 21 slots would be assigned to the European races.

Currently, the following European Ironman races are planned:

  • September 6th: IM Hamburg
  • September 19th: IM Italy
  • September 20th: IM Austria
  • October 4th: IM Barcelona
  • October 11th: IM France
  • October 11th: IM Vitoria
  • November 7th: IM Portugal

With the exception of Barcelona, all of these are rescheduled races, so it’s six or seven potential races with slots for February 2021. This would mean between two and four slots for each gender would be available in each of these races.

North America

North America has a smaller share of the Pros, roughly 24%. That would still result in about 6 to 9 slots for the North American races.

Currently, the following North American Ironman races are scheduled:

  • September 19th: IM St. George
  • October 17: IM Texas

With St. George as the designated Regional Championships (usually resulting in additional slots), it seems possible that all North American slots are awarded at these two races.

There are additional races that have been planned as qualifiers for the October 2021 race:

  • September 27th: IM Chattanooga
  • November 7th: IM Florida
  • November 22nd: IM Cozumel
  • November 22nd: IM Arizona

Oceania

As noted above, Pros from Oceania have been more successful than their number would indicate, let’s work with a number of 13%. This would result in 3 to 5 slots per gender.

Currently, the following Australian Ironman races are scheduled:

  •  September 13th: IM Australia (canceled after writing the post)
  • September 27th: IM St. Cairns

Assigning the Oceania slots in these races shouldn’t be a problem. It seems that in order to “make space” on the Pro calendar for these races, 70.3 Sunshine Coast and 70.3 Western Sydney are no longer Pro races.

In addition, there is a 2021 qualifier:

  • December 6th: IM Western Australia

South America

Regardless of which South American quota you want to use, they should receive about one slot.

However, there are currently no Pro races scheduled for South America, IM Brasil has been rescheduled but not as a Pro race. It’s unclear where South American athletes will be able to qualify, especially with all the Corona problems they are currently suffering from, travel restrictions are likely to take some time before being lifted.

In fact, South American Pros have very little earning opportunity after the cancellation of IM Mar del Plata there is no longer a South American Regional Championship, IM Brasil isn’t a Pro race on it’s rescheduled date, and all Professional 70.3s have been canceled as well.

Africa

There aren’t very many African athletes (their quota corresponds to less than one slot), but there is a Pro race scheduled:

  • November 15th: IM South Africa

In the past, this has been a Regional Championship and a popular early season race for a lot of Europeans (unlikely to want to travel to South Africa late in the year), but at least one slot each still seems very likely.

Asia/Pacific

The Asia/Pacific region has had a very low number of Pro IMs for some time, and there haven’t been many Professional athletes. Depending on where athletes are located, they will have to look to European or Australian races if they want to qualify for Kona.

In addition, Ironman has been removing all Pro 70.3s from the calendar – probably a mixture of the difficulty of organizing Pro races with a sizable purse in these times and because they have to focus on putting on Pro races in other regions.

Flexible Prize Money and Slot Allocation to payment to field sizes

With all the uncertainties, the prize money and the slots available at a race will be determined relatively close to race date based on the number of Pros who start  race. Andrew says that “we will not know the total prize purse until the race weekend” and that they want to pay deeper into the field to give more Pros a chance to earn some money. A similar approach will be used for the number of Pro slots: According to Andrew a “minimum allocation of slots will apply, with additional slots .. for every X number of athletes”.

While I agree that there needs to be a lot of flexibility, I hope that Ironman is going to “fix” the prize money and the number of slots before race start so that Pros have a better understanding of what they need to be shooting for.

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