Archive | IM Texas

Ironman Texas 2019 – Analyzing Results

Race ConditionsIMTexasLogo

After last year’s crazy fast times (for whatever reasons), this year was a relatively slow year for Texas – an adjustment of 12:30 compared to the new course rating of 15:08. While the swim and run where quite typical, the bike was pretty slow, compared to last year it was nearly 17 minutes slower. 

If we don’t accept the times from last year for course records, then both winners posted new course records. In addition, Kim Morrison’s bike time was a new bike course record.

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Patrik Nilsson SWE 00:49:18 04:13:14 02:42:20 07:50:55 -08:23 US$ 30,000
2 David Plese SLO 00:52:08 04:17:41 02:46:22 08:01:50 -13:56 US$ 15,000
3 Andrew Starykowicz USA 00:50:39 04:02:56 03:04:38 08:03:53 -15:02 US$ 8,000
4 Joe Skipper GBR 00:53:33 04:21:19 02:44:38 08:05:03 -04:28 US$ 6,500
5 Matt Hanson USA 00:53:39 04:20:43 02:50:08 08:09:28 -07:24 US$ 5,000
6 Kyle Buckingham ZAF 00:53:30 04:20:53 02:51:53 08:11:21 -04:49 US$ 3,500
7 Michael Weiss AUT 00:56:15 04:15:54 02:55:17 08:13:05 06:21 US$ 2,500
8 Sam Proctor GBR 00:52:12 04:26:40 02:50:18 08:14:17 n/a US$ 2,000
9 Mauricio Mendez Cruz MEX 00:50:41 04:30:27 02:49:01 08:15:44 n/a US$ 1,500
10 Pedro Gomes POR 00:53:30 04:27:10 02:52:02 08:18:18 -20:41 US$ 1,000
11 Allan Hovda NOR 00:59:43 04:20:56 02:54:38 08:20:46 -34:05  
12 Matthew Russell USA 00:59:17 04:22:35 02:58:05 08:25:28 12:42  
13 Sebastian Najmowicz POL 00:50:43 04:30:56 02:59:01 08:26:43 -08:43  
14 Clay Emge USA 00:53:44 04:35:56 02:58:27 08:34:37 -14:05  
15 Raul Tejada GTM 00:56:12 04:35:35 02:57:32 08:35:04 00:50  
16 Martin Fredriksson SWE 00:56:17 04:24:31 03:09:05 08:36:41 n/a  
17 Pete Dyson GBR 00:59:19 04:29:23 03:09:30 08:44:29 n/a  
18 Colin Laughery USA 00:59:17 04:41:07 03:09:30 08:56:22 -01:55  
19 Balazs Csoke HUN 00:49:14 04:47:19 03:15:41 08:58:37 -00:14  
20 Nicholas Granet FRA 00:52:10 04:40:46 03:27:38 09:07:17 31:36  
21 David Hanko HUN 00:50:46 04:23:35 03:48:23 09:08:14 29:17  
22 Ohad Sinai ISR 01:05:37 04:59:50 03:40:43 09:55:06 14:30  
23 Alexander Berggren SWE 00:49:03 05:04:35 04:06:26 10:06:04 n/a  
24 Alexander Schilling GER 00:52:05 04:22:06 05:46:19 11:06:34 2:39:28  
25 Blake Becker USA 00:59:25 04:39:15 05:43:31 11:29:11 2:33:10  
  Will Clarke GBR 00:50:49 04:21:44   DNF    
  Pablo Gomez COL 00:59:09 05:01:58   DNF    
  Trevor Delsaut FRA 00:53:35 05:14:34   DNF    
  Gergo Badar HUN 00:53:41 05:18:42   DNF    
  Yorlliry Moreno VEN 00:53:38     DNF    

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Daniela Ryf SUI 00:54:03 04:40:36 02:57:23 08:37:48 04:59 US$ 30,000
2 Jocelyn McCauley USA 00:54:09 04:40:17 02:59:32 08:39:41 -30:04 US$ 15,000
3 Jeanni Seymour ZAF 00:54:10 04:57:44 03:00:48 08:58:03 n/a US$ 8,000
4 Lesley Smith USA 00:56:41 05:00:03 03:00:04 09:03:17 -06:36 US$ 6,500
5 Kimberley Morrison GBR 00:58:20 04:36:39 03:23:38 09:03:45 -09:27 US$ 5,000
6 Dimity-Lee Duke AUS 01:01:47 04:53:54 03:21:01 09:22:56 -00:30 US$ 3,500
7 Jennie Hansen USA 01:09:28 04:57:45 03:22:13 09:37:25 04:32 US$ 2,500
8 Natasha Van der Merwe USA 01:05:31 04:57:52 03:28:25 09:38:19 -08:04 US$ 2,000
9 Hilary Fenton USA 01:03:41 05:05:25 03:32:40 09:48:00 n/a US$ 1,500
10 Palmira Alvarez MEX 01:09:30 04:58:06 03:40:04 09:54:00 -10:19 US$ 1,000
11 Sarah Karpinski USA 01:16:20 05:21:26 03:24:01 10:08:03 n/a  
  Jessica Jones USA 01:01:42 05:12:47   DNF    
  Caroline St-Pierre CAN 01:01:48 05:24:54   DNF    
  Anne Basso FRA 01:01:40 05:28:50   DNF    

Kona Qualifying

Texas had a total of six Kona Pro slots, with 14 female and 30 male starters the unassigned slots went to the men, resulting in four male slots and two female slots.

Daniela validated her AQ Kona slot, in addition the already qualified athletes Jocelyn McCauley, Andrew Starykowicz and Matt Hanson didn’t “count” for the slots.

Therefore the slots went to Jeanni Seymour and Lesley Smith on the female side, and Patrik Nilsson, David Plese, Joe Skipper and Kyle Buckingham for the men.

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Ironman Texas 2019 (April 27th) – Seedings

IMTexasLogoUpdates:

  • April 26th: There were a few athletes missing at the Pro Meeting. Some have confirmed previous withdrawals (these athletes are crossed out), some might still check in later (these have a question mark next to their names).
    If all of the athletes that signed in are going to start the race (and only those), it would mean that there are 26 male and 14 female Pros. This would result in 4 male and 2 female Kona slots. (For the slot assignment to change, at least six male Pros would have to not start – quite unlikely.)
  • April 22th: A few more withdrawals on the latest start list (Clemente Alonso and Reece Barclay).
  • April 13th: Both Jan van Berkel (focuses on IM Switzerland in July) and Kristy Jahn (currently focused on running) won’t be racing in Texas.

Previous Winners

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
2011 Eneko Llanos (ESP) 08:08:20 Catriona Morrison (GBR) 08:57:51
2012 Jordan Rapp (USA) 08:10:44 Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 08:54:58
2013 Paul Amey (GBR) 08:25:06 Rachel Joyce (GBR) 08:49:14
2014 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 08:09:37 Kelly Williamson (USA) 08:54:42
2015 Matt Hanson (USA) 08:07:03 Angela Naeth (CAN) 08:55:19
2016 Patrick Lange (GER) 07:13:13 Julia Gajer (GER) 08:11:01
2017 Matt Hanson (USA) 07:52:44 Jodie Robertson (USA) 08:56:32
2018 Matt Hanson (USA) 07:39:25 Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 08:31:05

Last Race Results

You can find the full results from last year’s race here and a longer discussion of the validity of the performances here.

Male Top 3

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Matt Hanson USA 00:52:31 04:07:27 02:34:39 07:39:25
2 Ivan Tutukin RUS 00:49:30 04:10:21 02:35:19 07:39:57
3 Will Clarke GBR 00:49:49 04:09:58 02:40:43 07:45:22

Female Top 3

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Melissa Hauschildt AUS 00:59:07 04:29:55 02:57:07 08:31:05
2 Jodie Robertson USA 01:00:42 04:27:30 03:08:52 08:43:16
3 Lesley Smith USA 00:57:50 04:39:56 02:58:47 08:43:51

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 07:52:44 Matt Hanson 2017-04-22
Swim overall 00:46:20 John Flanagan 2011-05-21
Bike overall 04:01:14 Andrew Starykowicz 2017-04-22
Run overall 02:41:38 Matt Hanson 2014-05-17
Total female 08:49:14 Rachel Joyce 2013-05-18
Swim female 00:48:52 Lauren Brandon 2017-04-22
Bike female 04:40:39 Corinne Abraham 2015-05-16
Run female 02:51:46 Caitlin Snow 2012-05-19

As noted above, I don’t consider last year’s results eligible for course records. Otherwise Matt Hanson would “improve” on his overall and run records (to 7:39:25 and 2:34:39) and Andrew Starykowicz on his bike record (to 3:54:59). We’d also have new course records on the female side: Lauren Brandon would still have the swim record (but with a 48:19), the bike record would go to Jen Annett (4:25:10) and the overall course record would be by Mel Hauschildt (8:31:05).

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM Texas is 15:30.

Race Adjustments for IM Texas

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Finishers Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2011 11:41 -02:25 17:43 -03:37 41 11:41 -02:25 17:43 -03:37
2012 14:01 -01:15 13:04 02:13 27 12:51 -01:50 15:24 -00:42
2013 07:02 -02:12 11:26 -02:12 30 of 46 10:55 -01:58 14:05 -01:12
2014 17:00 00:27 14:38 01:55 44 of 55 12:26 -01:21 14:13 -00:25
2015 09:29 -01:44 17:12 -05:58 33 of 52 11:50 -01:26 14:49 -01:32
2017 18:46 -01:34 17:56 02:25 42 of 56 13:00 -01:27 15:20 -00:53
(2018) 30:35 -01:51 31:35 00:51 54 of 62 15:30 -01:31 17:39 -00:38

Estimated Time Plan

The following table shows the time plan for the race start and the estimated times for the first athlete in the transition zones or across the finish line. The estimates are based on the start time and my time estimates, these times can change based on how fast or slow the race ends up:

What Est. Racetime Est. Local Time
Male Pro Start 06:25
Female Pro Start
(tentative)
06:30
Age Group Start 06:40
First Male in T1 00:48:56 07:13
First Female in T1 00:54:43 07:24
First Male in T2 04:57:43 11:22
First Female in T2 05:29:34 11:59
Male Winner 07:57:30 2:22pm
Female Winner 08:28:42 2:58pm

The Woodlands is on Central Daylight Time, 5 hours ahead of UTC. Here are the conversions to a few other time zones:

  • + 15 hours: Melbourne (AEST), race starts 9:25pm
  • +6 hours: United Kingdom (BST), race starts at 12:25pm
  • +7 hours: Central Europe (CEST), race starts at 1:25pm
  • +1 hour: US East Coast (EDT), race starts at 7:25am
  • -2 hours: US West Coast (PDT), race starts at 4:25am

The race will be available on Ironman NOW through Facebook Watch.

Kona slots and Prize Money

IM Texas has 2m+2f +2u Pro Kona slot(s). It has a total prize purse of 150.000 US$, paying 10 deep. With the current number of Pros (37 males and 17 females), it’s most likely that both “floating slots” will get assigned to the male Pros, but that will be decided based on the number of Pros starting the race.

Male Race Participants

The strength of the field is 56% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency Overall
1 10 Patrik Nilsson SWE 07:57:30 08:20:04 00:48:56 04:16:10 05:10:06 02:47:24 36% +15% -49% (12) 17
2 1 Matt Hanson (KQ) USA 07:58:11 08:28:12 00:52:41 04:18:17 05:15:58 02:42:13 19% +25% -56% (14) 40
3 3 Will Clarke GBR 08:02:20 08:32:21 00:49:43 04:21:35 05:16:18 02:46:02 20% +32% -48% (8) 59
4 8 Joe Skipper GBR 08:03:11 08:25:45 00:53:17 04:14:50 05:13:07 02:50:04 63% +8% -29% (23) 32
5 7 Michael Weiss (KQ) AUT 08:04:39 08:23:08 00:55:43 04:09:46 05:10:29 02:54:10 91% +2% -7% (25) 25
6 9 Jan van Berkel SUI 08:07:01 08:25:40 00:49:53 04:21:36 05:16:30 02:50:31 78% +10% -12% (19) 31
7 40 Andrew Starykowicz (KQ) USA 08:07:36 08:30:08 00:49:54 04:02:50 04:57:43 03:09:53 10% +51% -38% (12) 50
8 12 Clemente Alonso
McKernan (KQ)
ESP 08:09:16 08:22:18 00:49:52 04:21:52 05:16:43 02:52:33 56% +3% -41% (18) 23
9 4 Matthew Russell USA 08:10:10 08:29:32 00:55:22 04:15:43 05:16:06 02:54:04 43% +29% -28% (48) 48
10 11 David Plese SLO 08:11:58 08:26:56 00:54:10 04:18:13 05:17:23 02:54:35 88% +4% -8% (28) 34
11 6 Kyle Buckingham ZAF 08:14:16 08:27:33 00:50:49 04:20:46 05:16:36 02:57:40 66% +6% -28% (18) 38
12 31 Philipp Koutny ? SUI 08:17:22 08:35:30 00:51:44 04:21:41 05:18:24 02:58:58 41% +25% -34% (12) 65
13 19 Gergo Badar HUN 08:18:37 08:46:18 00:53:42 04:31:42 05:30:24 02:48:13 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (102)
14 28 Nicholas Granet FRA 08:19:27 08:58:59 00:49:57 04:26:47 05:21:45 02:57:42 24% +76% -0% (2) (148)
15 17 Jonathan Shearon ? USA 08:24:09 08:45:57 00:55:43 04:22:04 05:22:46 03:01:23 68% +14% -19% (23) 101
16 18 Trevor Delsaut FRA 08:26:30 08:54:13 00:53:45 04:30:16 05:29:01 02:57:29 24% +13% -63% (30) 134
17 16 Pedro Gomes ? POR 08:28:51 08:55:50 00:53:37 04:32:31 05:31:08 02:57:43 45% +0% -55% (34) 140
18 38 Alexander Schilling GER 08:29:08 08:47:47 00:49:38 04:29:17 05:23:55 03:05:13 100% +0% -0% (3) (108)
19 39 Raul Tejada GTM 08:32:06 08:56:45 00:54:18 04:33:38 05:32:57 02:59:09 100% +0% -0% (2) (143)
20 20 Reece Barclay GBR 08:32:48 08:56:08 00:49:30 04:35:22 05:29:51 03:02:57 74% +0% -26% (3) (143)
21 29 David Hanko HUN 08:33:21 09:02:21 00:50:19 04:34:40 05:29:59 03:03:22 47% +53% -0% (2) (160)
22 25 Clay Emge USA 08:33:50 09:17:00 00:56:08 04:35:41 05:36:49 02:57:01 31% +0% -69% (3) (203)
23 23 Gregory Close ? USA 08:34:01 09:13:31 00:58:52 04:28:04 05:31:55 03:02:06 12% +22% -66% (13) (192)
24 35 Sebastian Najmowicz POL 08:34:44 08:57:46 00:50:19 04:32:09 05:27:28 03:07:16 n/a (1 IM Pro race) (146)
25 30 Allan Hovda NOR 08:44:14 09:11:55 00:59:39 04:32:38 05:37:17 03:06:57 69% +31% -0% (7) 185
26 21 Blake Becker USA 08:45:13 09:11:59 00:58:46 04:34:19 05:38:05 03:07:08 1% +61% -38% (23) 187
27 32 Colin Laughery USA 08:47:47 09:21:47 00:56:39 04:34:14 05:35:53 03:11:54 59% +22% -19% (10) (216)
28 34 Urs Mueller SUI 08:49:13 09:10:52 00:54:13 04:34:24 05:33:36 03:15:37 66% +9% -25% (11) 183
29 15 Balazs Csoke HUN 08:49:44 09:11:20 00:49:30 04:42:49 05:37:19 03:12:25 56% +5% -39% (32) 184
30 36 Ohad Sinai ISR 09:32:01 10:00:19 01:03:02 04:50:37 05:58:39 03:33:22 49% +51% -0% (3) 258
14 Mauricio Mendez Cruz MEX n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (1 IM Pro race) (n/a)
22 Alexander Berggren ? SWE n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
24 Pete Dyson ? GBR n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (1 IM Pro race) (n/a)
26 Martin Fredriksson ? SWE n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
27 Pablo Gomez COL n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
33 Yorlliry Moreno VEN n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
37 Sam Proctor GBR n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Female Race Participants

The strength of the field is 19% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency Overall
1 45 Daniela Ryf (AQ) SUI 08:28:42 08:35:25 00:54:43 04:29:51 05:29:34 02:59:08 76% +18% -6% (14) 1
2 46 Jocelyn McCauley (KQ) USA 08:58:45 09:21:47 00:55:16 04:47:38 05:47:53 03:10:52 23% +39% -38% (12) 21
3 49 Lesley Smith USA 09:01:40 09:22:28 00:57:54 04:55:37 05:58:31 03:03:09 62% +0% -38% (3) 23
4 51 Kirsty Jahn CAN 09:03:50 09:32:19 00:59:10 04:50:49 05:54:59 03:08:51 43% +21% -37% (6) 44
5 48 Kimberley Morrison GBR 09:07:49 09:31:28 00:56:04 04:39:39 05:40:43 03:27:06 100% +0% -0% (2) 43
6 54 Dimity-Lee Duke AUS 09:20:30 09:36:29 01:01:22 04:54:40 06:01:02 03:19:28 74% +6% -20% (17) 47
7 47 Jennie Hansen USA 09:25:17 09:46:16 01:05:28 04:59:59 06:10:27 03:14:50 77% +0% -23% (14) 60
8 53 Natasha Van der Merwe USA 09:35:16 10:05:47 01:04:59 04:59:49 06:09:49 03:25:27 38% +49% -13% (13) 91
9 58 Jessica Jones USA 09:39:11 10:04:36 00:58:22 05:06:12 06:09:34 03:29:37 100% +0% -0% (2) (89)
10 60 Ashley Paulson ? USA 09:43:37 10:08:31 01:14:54 05:12:04 06:31:58 03:11:39 82% +11% -8% (10) 94
11 61 Caroline St-Pierre CAN 09:49:43 10:10:21 00:59:12 05:20:07 06:24:19 03:25:24 88% +0% -12% (6) 98
12 56 Anne Basso FRA 09:52:25 10:21:04 00:59:12 05:11:53 06:16:05 03:36:20 36% +3% -61% (21) 114
13 55 Palmira Alvarez MEX 09:59:37 10:24:16 01:10:40 05:07:12 06:22:52 03:36:45 89% +11% -0% (7) 117
50 Jeanni Seymour ZAF n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
52 Sarah Lewis GBR n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
57 Hilary Fenton USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)
59 Sarah Karpinski USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race) (n/a)

Winning Odds

Male Race Participants

  • Matt Hanson: 40% (1-1)
  • Patrik Nilsson: 11% (8-1)
  • Joe Skipper: 11% (8-1)
  • Michael Weiss: 8% (11-1)
  • Jan van Berkel: 8% (11-1)
  • Andrew Starykowicz: 7% (13-1)
  • Will Clarke: 7% (14-1)
  • Matthew Russell: 6% (15-1)

Female Race Participants

  • Daniela Ryf: 81% (1-1)
  • Jocelyn McCauley: 8% (12-1)
  • Lesley Smith: 5% (20-1)
  • Kirsty Jahn: 4% (26-1)
  • Kimberley Morrison: 2% (39-1)

Ironman Texas 2019 (April 27th) – Entry List

Updates:

  • March 25th: Added Lucy Charles-Barclay, Jennie HansenSarah LewisJocelyn McCauleyAshley Paulson (WPRO) and Clemente Alonso McKernanReece BarclayWill ClarkeGregory CloseNils FrommholdNicholas GranetYorlliry MorenoSebastian NajmowiczDavid PleseMatthew RussellOhad SinaiJoe SkipperAndrew Starykowicz, and Michael Weiss (MPRO). Some of these are probably only on the list as a back up for IM South Africa.
  • March 6th: Added Palmira Alvarez, Daniela Ryf, Jeanni Seymour, Lesley Smith, Natasha Van der Merwe (WPRO) and Balazs Csoke, Clay Emge, Pedro Gomes, Alexander Schilling, Jonathan Shearon (MPRO)
  • Linsey Corbin has indicated that she won’t be racing Texas, also Kirsty Jahn announced a move to running. Both are probably not racing and I have crossed them out in the list.

Kona Slots and Prize Money

IM Texas has 2m+2f +2u Pro Kona slots. It has a total prize purse of 150.000 US$, paying 10 deep.

Male Race Participants

Name Nation
Clemente Alonso McKernan (KQ) ESP
Reece Barclay GBR
Blake Becker USA
Alexander Berggren SWE
Will Clarke GBR
Gregory Close USA
Balazs Csoke HUN
Trevor Delsaut FRA
Pete Dyson GBR
Clay Emge USA
Martin Fredriksson SWE
Nils Frommhold GER
Pedro Gomes POR
Pablo Gomez COL
Nicholas Granet FRA
Matt Hanson (KQ) USA
Allan Hovda NOR
Colin Laughery USA
Yorlliry Moreno VEN
Urs Mueller SUI
Sebastian Najmowicz POL
David Plese SLO
Sam Proctor GBR
Matthew Russell USA
Alexander Schilling GER
Jonathan Shearon USA
Ohad Sinai ISR
Joe Skipper GBR
Andrew Starykowicz (KQ) USA
Michael Weiss (KQ) AUT

Female Race Participants

Name Nation
Palmira Alvarez MEX
Anne Basso FRA
Lucy Charles-Barclay (AQ) GBR
Linsey Corbin (KQ) USA
Dimity-Lee Duke AUS
Hilary Fenton USA
Jennie Hansen USA
Kirsty Jahn CAN
Jessica Jones USA
Sarah Karpinski USA
Sarah Lewis GBR
Nicole Luse USA
Jocelyn McCauley (KQ) USA
Kimberley Morrison GBR
Angela Naeth CAN
Ashley Paulson USA
Daniela Ryf (AQ) SUI
Jeanni Seymour ZAF
Lesley Smith USA
Caroline St-Pierre CAN
Natasha Van der Merwe USA
Annah Watkinson ZAF

Texas Performances

When discussing the performances from Ironman Texas, most of the discussion is focused on two extremes: On one side, the position by Ironman seems to be “most everything went right, so the results are legit”. On the other hand, a lot of people argue that the results are invalid, creating an empty feeling by the athletes who did well in Texas.

I want to argue for a middle position – to me, the results shouldn’t be accepted as valid records while at the same time I want to point out some of the amazing performances we have seen in Texas.

No Records in Texas

There were a lot of issues with the Texas race this year, among them:

  • The bike courses short (by Ironman’s own admission), although there is some discussion as to the extent. The general consensus seems to be that the course was close to 110 miles (one example is the GPS data in the Slowtwitch post on Texas). This puts it short of the 112 miles of an Ironman-distance bike leg, but is well within the length of some other courses.
  • There were a lot of reports of blatant drafting, both in the Pro fields and among agegroupers.
  • All non-competitors (including the draft marshals) were pulled from the bike course for “safety reasons”.

By analyzing the results and comparing the Texas times to other performances, there are a number of observations that show how unusually quick the Texas times have been:

  • On average, the Pro athletes in Texas posted bike times that are about 12.2% quicker (or more than 30 minutes for a 4:30 bike ride) compared to their times on an average course, the largest number I have observed in analyzing Ironman-distance races since 2005. The closest bike adjustments are just over 9% (Barcelona 2015, Florida 2013). Just for comparison, the largest adjustment for Challenge Roth (often the “poster child” for a short course) is 5.9% (2009 and 2011).
  • If we accept the bike times, this would mean that 9 of the 10 fastest female bike times were set in the 2018 Texas race. The only non-Texas time would be Daniela Ryf’s 4:31 from Roth 2016.
  • If we accept the overall times, this would mean that there were 9 national records set in Texas this year. Last year’s race was already quick but only created to four new records.

To me, all this is a clear indication that the data from IM Texas 2018 is far outside of the normal parameters. As a consequence, I will not use them to rate the athletes that raced in Texas and will also not use them for future predictions.

Of course, the data cannot show the reason why the results are off. One can only speculate – were there favorable weather conditions (apparently yes, but  it’s hard to imagine improving times by more than a few minutes), was the course short (apparently not by much, at least not shorter than other races that did not produce abnormal data), was there drafting (apparently yes, but of course not uniformly – at least we can be sure that Starky didn’t draft any competitor when he rode his 3:55 bike split), was there a draft by camera motor cycle (unlikely as there wasn’t much coverage of the race and all motos were pulled from the course), etc. Even athletes riding legally will still get a good benefit when they are 12 meters behind a large drafting peloton. Speculating about what has caused a fast time is exactly what I don’t want to do. It’s also impossible to decide on an athlete-by-athlete basis to accept or not accept a performance without a lot more data then what is made available. Of course, this also means that the performance of some athletes get rejected even if they were not impacted by the factors above (or not quite as much) .. and of course I also understand the athlete’s frustration about this.

Still, the Texas times should not be accepted as records. To me, records are like a rubber band – you can stretch it a bit, but when you put too much weight on it, it will break. Following the fastest times across different races and courses was always fun, even if any list of “fastest times” immediately created a lot of “yeah, buts …”. We are now in a place where “raw records” don’t really make much sense.

For a list of fastest times to start making sense again, a few things have to happen:

  • Certify course lengths.
    This would be an excellent project for the ITU and Ironman to tackle. Define a protocol for how to properly measure (incl. what is called “short course prevention” for road race measurements), set up an organization for measuring courses, pre-measure courses and release these measurements before a race. Then define acceptable parameters for “a full Ironman-distance race”, such as will short courses be accepted and some triathlon-specific issues such as currents in the swim.
  • Define minimum officiating standards.
    A lot of the standards are already in place, but often not fully enforced. I can’t see how you can have a record when there are no draft marshals.
  • Give the women a better chance not to be impacted by the agegroup race.
    A ten-minute gap between the Pro women and the fast agegroupers is not sufficient, especially if the Pro swim is without a wetsuit and the agegroup race is wetsuit-legal. Mel Hauschildt wrote on her blog: When the AG men overtake the Pro women, “the women’s race gets put on hold, the safety car comes out and brings the field back together until they’re free to race again a couple hours later.”

Defining the rules on when a race circumstances are acceptable as a record would be a great sign of a further maturing sport. In the absence of these rules, any comparisons between different courses purely on finish time is pretty meaningless and I’m struggling with whether it makes sense to put together any record-lists for now.

Great Performances in Texas

Even if I have argued above that the Texas times are not acceptable as records, there were still a number of great performances in that race. Based on my analysis of race data I have also built an adjustment model that compares results from different courses or races on the same course but different years. These adjustments (creating a course-independent “normalized time”) is not transparent enough to be used as a basis for a “world records list”, but even if the Texas data is likely outside the limits of the model, it still gives a reasonable indication of how the Texas performances compare to performances on other courses.

Here are a few great performances that should get more attention.

Matt Hanson Runs a 2:34 Marathon

When Matt crossed the finish line in first place with a 2:34:39 marathon, I found it hard to believe that the course was accurate – it was almost eight minutes quicker than last year’s winning marathon and seven minutes quicker than his own course record. In addition, by all accounts Matt was working hard on the bike, first being forced to close a gap of three minutes after the swim until the first turnaround and then pushing the pace in the chase group. With the data from the other competitors and GPS data, it seems clear that the course was the same as in previous years and relatively accurate. In my race database (going back to 2005) I could only find 11 sub-2:40 marathons, with the fastest being a 2:37 by Bart Aernouts from IM France 2013 on a course that was likely to be a bit short. (There is also Peter Reid’s 2:35:21 run split at IM Austria 1999, which was short by at least 1.5k.) When looking at the normalized time of Matt’s run, my analysis lists only two better run performances: Patrick Lange’s Kona runs from 2016 and 2017 that were faster by 38 and 44 seconds. I can’t wait to see what happens in Kona when Matt figures out how to run well in Kona!

Mel Hauschildt Wins Her Third Regional Championship on Different Courses

When Mel is healthy and able to train consistently, she is almost impossible to beat. Since stepping up to Ironman racing in 2014, she has won six Ironman races and is unbeaten in any Ironman she raced outside of Kona (DNF in 2016 and a 14th in 2017 when she didn’t have much time to prepare after two surgeries). As is typical for her, Mel lost some time in the Texas swim, she had to make up three minutes to most of her competitors. It took her about 90k to close that gap and usually she’s riding even better in the second half of the bike. In her blog Mel describes how frustrating it was to her to work hard only to be overtaken by agegroup men being able to slingshot behind her and forcing her to sit up to move to a legal distance .. only to have the process repeated again and again. But then Mel was able to show her strong run, took the lead after the first of three run loops and won with a gap of more than 12 minutes. Texas was the third Regional Championship she raced in, and it was also the third she was able to win. Matt Hanson also has three Regional Championship wins as well, but while Matt’s were all in Texas, Mel’s wins were on three different courses: Melbourne 2015, Frankfurt 2016 and now Texas 2018. This shows that Mel can race well on almost any course. If her prep for Kona goes well, we’ll see her mix up the field in Kona – to me she’s a strong podium contender.

Andy Starykowicz Posts a 3:55 Bike Split

The “headline performance” in Texas that caught the most attention was Andy Starykowicz’s blazing fast 3:54:59 bike split – the first sub-4 bike ride in any Ironman race. He was probably the athlete that had the least benefit from the issues discussed in the section above, after all there is no draft at the front of the race. Andy exited the swim with the front group and quickly rode away from the rest of the field. In T2 he had a lead of more than 14 minutes to the chase group. His bike time was more than eight minutes quicker than Johannes Ackerman’s (who tried to go with him but had to let go after the half-way mark) and more than eleven minutes quicker than anyone else in the field. He was clearly riding a step above everyone else in the field. Regardless of whether you accept his bike split as a world record or not, sponsors should be happy to pay out the bonuses to Andy – it’s not his fault that the race had a few issues, and he delivered what he set out to do. After his amazing bike split, Andy also posted one of his best run splits – he ran a 3:00:57 (his best run split is a 2:58 from Florida 2013) and finished in eighth place, securing his Kona slot. He’ll be one more strong bike rider in the Kona field – and I’m sure that he’ll join forces with Cam Wurf to lower the 2018 Kona race even further than what we’ve seen last October. With their bike strength and the progress on the run both Andy and Cam are working for, they will be making Kona even more exciting.

Lauren Brandon Has the Fastest Swim Overall

In all the coverage of the Texas race, the female swim was only a side note. But Lauren Brandon managed something that is rarely seen: Her 48:19 was the fastest swim split overall! (The fastest male was Sean Donnelly with a 49:06, he DNF’d.) She also put more than five minutes into Meredith Kessler and eight minutes into the rest of the female field. With her swim she set a new course record (improving on her own time from last year) and also swam faster than she and Lucy Charles did in Hawaii last October (also a non-wetsuit swim). Comparing swim times across races is tricky because the conditions can vary quite a lot, but Lauren’s swim is one of the best swim performances we have ever seen by a female Pro. If the conditions are right, I’m sure she and Lucy Charles will attack the swim course record in Kona.

Great Returns From Injury by Will Clarke and Matt Russell

Some of the most satisfying results came from athletes that raced Texas after being seriously injured. Will Clarke was qualified for Kona but had to decline his slot after he crashed on the bike and hurt his shoulder. It has taken him some time to regain decent mobility in the shoulder again and his prep races at 70.3 Dubai and Challenge Roma did not quite go according to plan. But he was in great shape for Texas and a third-best run split allowed him to claim the final step on the podium. He’s now in a good position to qualify for Kona 2018.

Another athlete I was very happy to see race in Texas was Matt Russell. Matt was hit by a car during the race in Kona and almost got killed when he lost a lot of blood. After a few days in the hospital he needed some time to recover but by now he seems to have made a full recovery. He posted the third-best bike split making up the time he lost in the swim to the front group, but he wasn’t yet able to deliver his typical 2:50-ish run split in Texas. A 3:02 run saw him fall back to 14th place. It’ll be tough for him to qualify for Kona, but typically he’s been doing five to seven IMs per year – hopefully he’ll be able to continue to race often and well!

Ironman Texas 2018 – Analyzing Results

Course Conditions

As you can see from a quick glimpse at the results, this year’s IM Texas was super-fast. This first impression is also supported by my analysis of athlete’s performances, cross-referencing their times from other courses to IM Texas. Compared to previous editions, the results of Pro athletes this year have been about 12 minutes faster on average than last year. The swim and bike have been pretty normal for IM Texas. Even with Matt Hanson’s winning marathon time of 2:34:39, the run course was on the same course as in previous years, the times may even have been slightly slower.

The discussion on various social media is focused on the bike times. (The bike leg is where the times were much faster than in previous years.) Part of it was from a shortened course, as acknowledged by Ironman Texas on their Facebook page:

NewImage

I’m not sure if this FB post is telling the whole story of the bike course length: By a number of accounts the course was short last year, and the course maps showed that it was shortened even more for this year. However, it is nice that Ironman acknowledges the course was short and not eligible for any records. I will also consider the IM Texas results “invalid” and will not use them for fastest times or performances. (The comparisons between expected and actual times in the tables below are my best effort of analyzing the race.)

But even the shortened bike course is not telling the real story of the fast bike times at IM Texas. By almost all accounts from the race, there was rampant drafting going on during the bike leg, both in the Pro and agegroup ranks. Here are just a few observations from social media about the race:

  • In the briefing, the Pros were told that there likely wouldn’t be any draft marshaling in the second loop of the bike (Tweet by Ray Botelho).
  • Because of the crowding on the bike course, marshalls were pulled off the course during the race (Tweet by Tim Vibrock).
  • The main part of the bike course is an out-and-back on the three-lane Hardy Road. One lane is supposed to be for the out-leg, one for the back-leg and the third lane (the shoulder lane) for marshalls. Apparently this breaks down as soon as the bulk of AGs enters the road, and it’s no longer safe for officials to use the third lane (series of tweets by Kirk Noyes).
  • At least one Pro, Dimity-Lee Duke, abandoned the race when she didn’t want to join in the drafting going on (see her Instagram post).

While there were some crazy fast times on the bike (such as Andy Starykowicz’s 3:55, more than 8 minutes faster than anyone else in the field, or Jen Annett’s 4:25 followed by 4:27s and a 4:29) and also on the run (not only Matt Hanson’s 2:34:39, two sub-3 runs in the female field by Mel Hauschildt and Lesley Smith and also a number of what would have been PRs), the shortened bike course and the drafting make any “what would have been” a pure guessing game.

All in all, it was disappointing to see a Regional Championship provide such a frustrating race for most everyone involved. Of course there is a personal responsibility not to draft, but when there is no effort in enforcing the drafting rules and packs are forming, no one is held to a standard that is expected of Pro athletes (and age groupers as well).

The race organizers worked hard to come up with a course that’s acceptable to all communities involved. But Ironman could always be trusted to provide a good, reliable racing experience, and this year’s IM Texas fell short of that standard. I hope that the organizers will address the issues for future races in Texas.

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time (Diff to exp.) Prize Money KPR Points
1 Matt Hanson USA 00:52:31 04:07:27 02:34:39 07:39:25 -26:33 US$ 30,000 4000
2 Ivan Tutukin RUS 00:49:30 04:10:21 02:35:19 07:39:57 -19:10 US$ 15,000 3400
3 Will Clarke GBR 00:49:49 04:09:58 02:40:43 07:45:22 -18:43 US$ 8,000 2890
4 Tim Van Berkel AUS 07:47:43 -08:17 US$ 6,500 2455
5 Jan van Berkel SUI 00:49:28 04:10:14 02:44:17 07:48:40 -16:21 US$ 5,000 2090
6 Brent McMahon CAN 00:49:26 04:10:26 02:44:52 07:49:49 02:26 US$ 3,500 1670
7 Ruedi Wild SUI 00:49:22 04:10:22 02:45:00 07:50:19 -08:32 US$ 2,500 1335
8 Andrew Starykowicz USA 00:49:27 03:54:59 03:00:57 07:50:56 -15:27 US$ 2,000 1070
9 Frederik Van Lierde BEL 00:49:25 04:10:29 02:48:32 07:53:43 -01:29 US$ 1,500 855
10 Johann Ackermann GER 00:49:15 04:03:19 02:59:38 07:57:02 -14:07 US$ 1,000 685
11 Jeremy Jurkiewicz FRA 02:55:00 07:58:45 -11:23 515
12 David Plese SLO 00:54:09 04:13:36 02:47:07 08:00:33 -06:03 385
13 Paul Matthews AUS 00:49:23 04:10:48 03:01:35 08:06:14 03:57 290
14 Matthew Russell USA 00:54:07 04:05:56 03:02:38 08:07:42 03:55 215
15 Matic Modic SLO 00:56:44 04:14:15 02:53:05 08:09:39 -09:08 160
16 Samuel Huerzeler SUI 00:54:47 04:11:48 02:58:13 08:10:43 -06:22 120
17 Kristian Hoegenhaug DEN 00:54:55 04:11:31 02:59:33 08:11:49 16:25 90
18 Daniil Sapunov UKR 00:49:31 04:15:36 03:01:58 08:12:48 -02:55 70
19 Justin Daerr USA 00:52:21 04:19:46 03:01:43 08:19:07 06:50 50
20 Jesse Vondracek USA 00:52:41 04:17:55 03:04:10 08:20:21 -15:42 40
21 Sebastian Najmowicz POL 00:49:33 04:20:47 03:05:55 08:21:51 n/a 25
22 Alexander Chikin RUS 00:56:16 04:19:42 03:03:07 08:25:22 -12:53 25
23 Blake Becker USA 00:58:52 04:21:52 03:02:17 08:28:17 -21:44 25
24 Seppe Odeyn BEL 01:09:15 04:21:15 02:53:41 08:30:07 -07:46 25
25 James Capparell USA 00:49:32 04:21:43 03:15:45 08:32:24 -00:54 25
26 Jozsef Major HUN 00:59:12 04:27:30 03:02:51 08:37:28 20:47 25
27 Raymond Botelho USA 00:58:57 04:20:20 03:17:31 08:43:03 -07:33 25
28 Jordan Monnink CAN 00:56:53 04:33:08 03:06:53 08:43:40 06:41 25
29 James Lubinski USA 01:07:13 04:24:34 03:09:21 08:47:01 03:34 25
30 Mike Schifferle SUI 01:03:43 04:26:35 03:18:31 08:58:03 17:22 25
31 Peter Kotland CZE 00:59:00 04:34:34 03:24:48 09:05:49 -09:12 20
32 Per Bittner GER 00:54:47 04:33:03 03:41:52 09:15:13 1:08:13 20
33 Tripp Hipple USA 00:53:42 04:18:37 03:56:42 09:15:16 58:44 20
34 Max Biessmann USA 00:52:25 04:25:18 03:53:10 09:16:20 -23:30 20
35 Ohad Sinai ISR 01:05:52 04:28:26 03:46:25 09:27:14 -04:17 20
36 Christopher Stock USA 01:09:25 04:31:12 03:59:04 09:50:11 n/a 20
37 Ignacio Rubio Gomez ESP 00:59:20 04:42:53 05:15:08 11:06:53 25:48 20
Michael Fox AUS 00:49:08 04:10:54 DNF
Sean Donnelly GER 00:49:06 04:15:29 DNF
Mikolaj Luft POL 00:53:52 04:16:51 DNF
Trevor Delsaut FRA 00:54:52 04:48:43 DNF

Tim Berkel lost hos timing chip in the swim and his maraton time in the results (2:51) does not correspond to how the race developed. By his own data he swam in the 49-minute group, rode a 4:10 (coming off the bike in 4th place) and then ran a 2:43. Jeremy Jurkiewicz probably also had issues with his chip, I’m not sure how accurate his marathon time is.

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time (Diff to exp.) Prize Money KPR Points
1 Melissa Hauschildt AUS 00:59:07 04:29:55 02:57:07 08:31:05 -17:16 US$ 30,000 4000
2 Jodie Robertson USA 01:00:42 04:27:30 03:08:52 08:43:16 -14:10 US$ 15,000 3400
3 Lesley Smith USA 00:57:50 04:39:56 02:58:47 08:43:51 -23:04 US$ 8,000 2890
4 Michelle Vesterby DEN 00:56:05 04:33:11 03:11:20 08:45:47 -04:10 US$ 6,500 2455
5 Sara Svensk SWE 00:59:33 04:32:33 03:09:53 08:46:49 -19:54 US$ 5,000 2090
6 Meredith Kessler USA 00:53:47 04:34:32 03:13:27 08:47:44 03:37 US$ 3,500 1670
7 Jen Annett CAN 01:02:23 04:25:10 03:16:52 08:49:27 -12:11 US$ 2,500 1335
8 Kimberley Morrison GBR 00:56:23 04:27:45 03:21:54 08:50:59 -13:47 US$ 2,000 1070
9 Tine Deckers BEL 00:59:29 04:35:01 03:17:18 08:57:34 02:50 US$ 1,500 855
10 Darbi Roberts USA 00:56:19 04:41:32 03:15:27 08:59:03 -19:31 US$ 1,000 685
11 Caroline Gregory USA 00:59:31 04:43:00 03:17:18 09:05:06 -1:00:29 515
12 Helena Kotopulu CZE 01:12:20 04:45:39 03:09:55 09:15:02 -08:51 385
13 Lauren Brandon USA 00:48:19 04:38:15 03:48:20 09:20:16 19:18 290
14 Kelly Fillnow USA 01:07:56 04:46:43 03:20:33 09:21:26 -04:56 215
15 Robyn Hardage CAN 01:03:18 04:50:34 03:22:02 09:22:13 -14:54 160
16 Amanda Wendorff USA 01:02:26 04:34:46 03:56:19 09:39:51 09:49 120
17 Kimberly Goodell USA 01:03:46 04:52:41 03:40:03 09:43:13 07:45 90
Jocelyn McCauley USA 00:56:51 04:32:12 DNF
Dimity-Lee Duke AUS 00:59:39 DNF
Helena Herrero Gomez ESP 01:03:45 DNF
Ashley Paulson USA 01:19:00 DNF

Kona Qualifying Implications

Here are the top men and their Kona qualifying chances:

  • Automatic Qualifier: Matt Hanson, Frederik Van Lierde (validated his AQ as former Kona champion)
  • Safe: Tim Van Berkel, Ivan Tutukin and Andy Starykowicz
  • On the Bubble: Brent McMahon, Jan Van Berkel
  • Close (but more points needed): Ruedi Wild, Will Clarke, Jeremy Jurkiewicz

And a look at the females and their race to Kona:

  • Automatic Qualifier: Mel Hauschildt
  • Safe: Lesley Smith
  • On the Bubble: Tine Deckers
  • Close (but more points needed): Jodie Robertson, Michelle Vesterby

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