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Number of IMs before Kona

In my post on Why I am #50WomenToKona I mentioned that Kona WPROs raced more often than their male counterparts:

For Kona 2014, the average number of IMs of the male Pros is 2.8, while the female Pros had raced 3.4 IMs.

Some of the feedback I have received indicate that this not widely known, so this post adds some more detail.

First of all, a clear definition of what I mean by “number of IMs before Kona 2014”. Here are the conditions I have used for the averages used in my post:

  • races on or after August 31st 2013 (the date of IM Japan, the start of Kona 2014 qualifying)
  • races before October 11th 2014 (the date of the Kona race)
  • Ironman-distance races (regardless of wether they are “official” Ironman races or races run by other organizations such as Challenge)
  • races that an athlete started (so including finishes as well as DNFs – both are counting towards the “fatigue” an athlete has to deal with before Kona)

Some of these conditions can be fiddled with, but the overall result is still the same – WPRO have raced around 0.5 more IMs than their male counterparts. Here’s a quick comparison of different conditions:

Male Average Female average
IM-distance starts 2.87 3.44
Ironman starts 2.75 3.25
Ironman finishes 2.40 2.94
Ironman finishes up to August 2.40 2.92
Ironman results counting in KPR 2.28 2.79

Staying with my original definition of “IM-distance starts”, here is a look at the distribution of athletes for the number of races before Kona:


You can clearly see that the main cluster of male athletes has done two or three IMs, while most of the women have done three or four races.

Here is a detailed look at the athletes in each of the groups:

No of Races Male Female
1 Terenzo Bozzone
Richie Cunningham
Jan Frodeno
Paul Matthews
Andy Potts
Timothy Reed
Catriona Morrison
2 Bart Aernouts
Craig Alexander
Igor Amorelli
Kyle Buckingham
Daniel Fontana
Joe Gambles
Ben Hoffman
Jeremy Jurkiewicz
Sebastian Kienle
Timothy O’Donnell
Filip Ospaly
Ivan Rana
Andrew Starykowicz
Boris Stein
Tim Van Berkel
Frederik Van Lierde
Cyril Viennot
Corinne Abraham
Liz Blatchford
Leanda Cave
Daniela Ryf
Caitlin Snow
Kelly Williamson
Heather Wurtele
3 Faris Al-Sultan
Marko Albert
Tyler Butterfield
James Cunnama
Victor Del Corral
Bevan Docherty
Nils Frommhold
Elliot Holtham
Pete Jacobs
Christian Kramer
Eneko Llanos
Chris McDonald
Luke McKenzie
TJ Tollakson
Maik Twelsiek
Marino Vanhoenacker
Michael Weiss
Simone Braendli
Mirinda Carfrae
Linsey Corbin
Mary Beth Ellis
Lucy Gossage
Rachel Joyce
Meredith Kessler
Caroline Steffen
Amanda Stevens
Jodie Swallow
Yvonne Van Vlerken
4 Paul Ambrose
Romain Guillaume
Marek Jaskolka
David Plese
Andreas Raelert
Ronnie Schildknecht
Axel Zeebroek
Natascha Badmann
Gina Crawford
Amber Ferreira
Julia Gajer
Sofie Goos
Asa Lundstroem
Elizabeth Lyles
Kristin Moeller
Kim Schwabenbauer
Beth Shutt
Michelle Vesterby
Bree Wee
5 Christian Brader
Justin Daerr
Daniel Halksworth
Melanie Burke
Katja Konschak
Lisa Roberts
6 Sara Gross
7 Harry Wiltshire Jackie Hering
8 Matthew Russell

Not all of this racing has been motivated by a desire to qualify for Kona – of course there are other reasons for racing such as trying to win an Ironman or to earn some prize money. Looking at those athletes with five or more races, I think that they were motivated more by trying to qualify than by making money: Only Sara Gross has made more than 20,000$ – she made 40,000$ by winning IM Brasil and IM Mt. Tremblant – but she to race Mt. Tremblant in order to qualify.

In summary, the data shows that women Pros raced more often than their male counterparts. The data also indicates that this is a result of the lower number of Kona slots for women and the resulting higher number of points needed to qualify.

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