IM Cairns 2017 – Analyzing Results

Race Conditions

Conditions in Cairns were very good this year: An adjustment of 12:14 is significantly faster than the course rating of 5:10 and the fastest ever on this course. Not surprisingly both the male and female course records were broken: Josh Amberger’s 8:02 was a 13-minute improvement on the old record by Tim Berkel, and Sarah Crowley’s 8:58 improved on a 9:06 by Jodie Swallow.

The main difference to previous years was on the bike, consequently there were also two new bike records: Cameron Wurf posted a 4:15 (bettering Luke McKenzie’s 2013 time by 6 minutes) and Sarah Crowley rode 4:50:00 (just a 40 second improvement on the 2015 ride by Jodie). Both second place finishers missed the run course records by only a few seconds – the records by Tim Berkel and Linsey Corbin still stand.

Male Race Results

Josh Amberger was leading the race from start to finish. He posted the fastest swim time (closely followed by Clayton Fettell – pretty much as expected), had the second fastest bike ride and then also posted a solid 2:53 marathon to win with a time just over 8 hours – improving his Ironman PR by more than 40 minutes and much quicker than expected by his single IM finish in South Africa!

My expectation before the race was that the race would come down to who would have the best run of the solid bike riders. This was pretty much what happened – with the exception of Josh who all day long was in front of the field. In second to fourth place are the athletes with the best, second best and fourth best marathon times: Joe Gambles was finally able to show his potential on the IM distance and added the fastest marathon to a solid bike ride, almost running down Josh. Third place went to IM New Zealand winner Braden Currie. Last year’s Cairns winner Tim Berkel was in a solid position for most of the race, but he had one bad patch on the run and eventually had to settle for fourth place. David Dellow was probably still a bit tired after his win at IM Australia just five weeks ago, still finishing fifth to secure his Kona slot. 

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money KPR Points
1 Josh Amberger AUS 00:47:15 04:17:29 02:53:26 08:02:17 -39:36 US$ 30,000 4000
2 Joe Gambles AUS 00:50:02 04:25:19 02:44:30 08:04:03 -19:57 US$ 15,000 3400
3 Braden Currie NZL 00:49:46 04:26:12 02:47:56 08:07:46 -08:40 US$ 8,000 2890
4 Tim Van Berkel AUS 00:49:50 04:25:46 02:49:54 08:09:22 -03:42 US$ 6,500 2455
5 David Dellow AUS 00:49:49 04:25:51 02:51:32 08:11:33 -01:51 US$ 5,000 2090
6 Michael Fox AUS 00:49:45 04:25:56 02:51:53 08:11:42 -14:10 US$ 3,500 1670
7 Cameron Wurf AUS 00:49:49 04:15:13 03:02:35 08:11:55 -29:05 US$ 2,500 1335
8 Mark Bowstead NZL 00:49:48 04:25:44 02:56:42 08:16:37 -02:47 US$ 2,000 1070
9 Cameron Brown NZL 00:50:13 04:35:17 02:49:15 08:19:08 03:14 US$ 1,500 855
10 Daniil Sapunov UKR 00:49:57 04:35:14 02:51:27 08:21:14 -14:34 US$ 1,000 685
11 Callum Millward NZL 00:50:08 04:35:09 02:54:53 08:24:26 03:53   515
12 Clayton Fettell AUS 00:47:16 04:28:43 03:13:46 08:33:45 03:55   385
13 Michael Ruenz GER 00:57:54 04:34:22 02:58:49 08:35:44 01:27   290
14 Nathan Shearer AUS 00:58:14 04:33:48 03:08:44 08:45:15 -38:17   215
15 Jens Petersen-Bach DEN 00:49:57 04:55:13 03:00:52 08:50:32 28:12   160
16 Paul Speed AUS 00:57:06 04:47:50 03:09:13 08:58:28 n/a   120
17 Leigh Stabryla AUS 00:50:09 05:06:29 02:59:47 09:01:03 -02:02   90
18 Samuel Murphy AUS 00:57:16 05:05:13 03:07:58 09:14:20 -12:28   70
  Casey Munro AUS 00:49:48 04:26:09   DNF      
  Jeff Symonds CAN 00:49:56 04:35:14   DNF      
  Simon Cochrane NZL 00:50:06 04:42:43   DNF      
  Jonathan Shearon USA 00:57:11 04:42:02   DNF      
  Kaito Tohara JPN 00:54:26 04:45:25   DNF      
  Ryan Palazzi AUS 00:52:00 05:03:47   DNF      
  Pedro Gomes POR 00:49:52 05:07:32   DNF      
  Courtney Ogden AUS 00:49:54     DNF      
  Carl Read NZL 00:57:23     DNF      

Female Race Results

As expected Karen Thibodeau was leading the race after the swim, but Sarah Crowley was just a few seconds behind and quickly went to the front after the start of the bike. She quickly started to pull away from the rest of the field, and even the strong biker Sarah Piampiano – as is typical for her a few minutes behind after the swim, but also loosing some time with zipper issues in T1 – wasn’t able to make up any ground. By T2 the lead was around 14 minutes. Sarah P went on to have the best run of the day with a 3:02 marathon to finish second, but Sarah C ran a solid 3:06 marathon to claim the win with a sub-9 course record time.

Third place went to Kristin Moeller backing up just two weeks after IM Brasil – a 3:03 marathon was “slow” for her but still good enough to run through the rest of the field. Dimity-Lee Duke had a good race to finish fourth, almost getting caught by another German, Katharina Grohmann who finished fifth. 

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money KPR Points
1 Sarah Crowley AUS 00:57:06 04:50:00 03:06:01 08:58:14 -22:43 US$ 30,000 4000
2 Sarah Piampiano USA 01:05:38 04:52:58 03:02:49 09:08:20 -02:49 US$ 15,000 3400
3 Kristin Moeller GER 01:05:22 05:00:50 03:03:29 09:14:08 -15:02 US$ 8,000 2890
4 Dimity-Lee Duke AUS 01:01:27 04:58:47 03:14:32 09:20:04 -09:39 US$ 6,500 2455
5 Katharina Grohmann GER 01:13:02 04:57:19 03:06:36 09:21:16 -20:47 US$ 5,000 2090
6 Jessica Mitchell AUS 01:05:17 04:59:42 03:18:29 09:29:50 -34:45 US$ 3,500 1670
7 Tine Holst DEN 01:06:50 04:59:12 03:20:15 09:31:00 -05:25 US$ 2,500 1335
8 Diane Luethi SUI 01:01:23 05:01:02 03:29:11 09:37:28 -07:53 US$ 2,000 1070
9 Karen Thibodeau CAN 00:57:01 05:11:54 03:40:25 09:54:38 10:47 US$ 1,500 855
10 Sarah Graves USA 01:15:24 05:17:16 03:19:01 09:58:01 02:21 US$ 1,000 685
11 Jenny Fletcher CAN 01:01:21 05:12:53 03:49:00 10:10:05 20:35   515
  Marina Jurjevic AUS 01:06:02 04:58:52   DNF      
  Tamsyn Hayes NZL 01:05:23 04:59:56   DNF      

Kona Qualifying Implications

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

  • Automatic Qualifier: Josh Amberger
  • Safe for a July slot: Braden Currie (5.640), Joe Gambles (4.960), David Dellow (4.610), Tim Berkel (3.955)
  • On the Bubble (might be enough, but maybe not): Michael Fox (3.355)
  • Close (but more points needed): Cam Brown (2.770), Daniil Sapunov (2.710), Mark Bowstead (2.640)

On the female side (projected cutoff 4.300 points):

  • Automatic Qualifier: Sara Crowley
  • Safe for a July slot: Sarah Piampiano (9.570, was already safe before)
  • On the Bubble (might be enough, but maybe not): Katharina Grohmann (4.470), Kristin Moeller (4.180), Dimity-Lee Duke (4.135)
  • Close (but more points needed): Jessica Mitchell (3.525), Tine Holst (3.035)
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