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Ironman New Zealand 2024 (March 2nd) – Seedings

IMNZ 2024Previous Winners

Year Male Winner Time Female Winner Time
1999 Timothy DeBoom (USA) 08:32:41 Melissa Spooner (CAN) 09:20:14
2000 Thomas Hellriegel (GER) 08:22:46 Lisa Bentley (CAN) 09:28:14
2001 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:24:28 Lisa Bentley (CAN) 09:36:17
2002 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:32:54 Karyn Ballance (NZL) 09:27:33
2003 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:22:05 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:17:56
2004 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:30:30 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:22:24
2005 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:20:15 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:30:14
2006 Ain-Alar Juhanson (EST) 03:31:05 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 04:10:32
2007 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:26:33 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:20:02
2008 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:24:49 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:16:00
2009 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:18:05 Gina Crawford (NZL) 09:18:26
2010 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:21:52 Joanna Lawn (NZL) 09:14:35
2011 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:31:07 Samantha Warriner (NZL) 09:28:24
2012 Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 03:55:03 Meredith Kessler (USA) 04:22:46
2013 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 08:15:35 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:17:10
2014 Marko Albert (EST) 08:17:33 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:08:46
2015 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:22:13 Meredith Kessler (USA) 09:05:45
2016 Cameron Brown (NZL) 08:07:58 Meredith Kessler (USA) 08:56:08
2017 Braden Currie (NZL) 08:20:58 Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 09:09:47
2018 Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 07:59:56 Laura Siddall (GBR) 09:00:44
2019 Mike Phillips (NZL) 08:05:08 Jocelyn McCauley (USA) 08:53:10
2020 Joe Skipper (GBR) 07:54:17 Teresa Adam (NZL) 08:40:29
2021 Braden Currie (NZL) 07:57:12 Hannah Berry (NZL) 09:01:49
2023 Mike Phillips (NZL) 07:56:04 Els Visser (NED) 09:05:43

Last Race’s TOP 3

Male Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Mike Phillips NZL 00:48:07 04:15:41 02:47:34 07:56:04
2 Braden Currie NZL 00:48:01 04:18:30 02:47:48 07:59:16
3 Jan van Berkel SUI 00:50:29 04:32:54 02:41:59 08:10:21

Female Race Results

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time
1 Els Visser NED 00:57:01 04:50:20 03:13:20 09:05:43
2 Hannah Berry NZL 00:51:45 04:56:23 03:15:13 09:08:32
3 Rebecca Clarke NZL 00:50:34 04:57:33 03:16:37 09:10:10

Course Records

Leg Gender Record Athlete Date
Total overall 07:54:17 Joe Skipper 2020-03-07
Swim overall 00:44:26 Dylan McNeice 2015-03-07
Bike overall 04:12:07 Andrew Starykowicz 2019-03-02
Run overall 02:40:04 Mike Phillips 2019-03-02
Total female 08:40:29 Teresa Adam 2020-03-07
Swim female 00:46:30 Monica Byrn 2005-05-03
Bike female 04:36:11 Teresa Adam 2020-03-07
Run female 02:55:34 Kristin Liepold 2019-03-02

Course Rating

The Course Rating for IM New Zealand is 06:19.

Race Adjustments for IM New Zealand

Year Adjustment Swim Adj. Bike Adj. Run Adj. # of Finishers Rating Swim Rating Bike Rating Run Rating
2007 13:54 01:31 05:44 05:53 24 13:54 02:18 05:44 05:53
2008 11:35 02:08 05:10 04:09 36 12:45 02:17 05:27 05:01
2009 10:19 00:33 06:19 03:15 38 11:56 01:47 05:44 04:26
2010 09:23 01:37 03:24 04:18 22 11:18 01:45 05:09 04:24
2011 -04:07 00:50 -01:15 -03:11 24 08:13 01:28 03:52 02:53
2013 00:00 01:14 01:05 -01:50 24 06:51 01:21 03:24 02:06
2014 05:40 01:27 01:16 02:55 31 of 41 06:41 01:22 03:06 02:13
2015 05:53 01:32 01:24 03:24 22 of 27 06:35 01:20 02:53 02:22
2016 06:05 02:21 04:25 00:15 37 of 49 06:31 01:21 03:03 02:08
2017 -04:07 -02:45 -01:21 00:13 27 of 40 05:27 00:55 02:37 01:56
2018 09:43 01:15 06:59 02:12 28 of 34 05:51 00:53 03:00 01:58
2019 04:16 00:33 00:12 04:12 25 of 28 05:43 00:48 02:46 02:09
2020 08:51 00:24 08:11 00:53 27 of 30 05:57 00:43 03:11 02:03
2021 11:05 01:10 08:31 01:53 11 06:19 00:43 03:34 02:02
2023 06:16 00:02 05:47 00:55 20 of 21 06:19 00:38 03:43 01:58

Kona slots and Prize Money

IM New Zealand has 3m+3f Pro Kona slot(s). It has a total prize purse of 100.000 US$, paying 10 deep.

Male Race Participants

The strength of the field is 5% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency
1 17 Niek Heldoorn NED 07:58:07 08:11:12 00:46:53 04:20:24 05:12:17 02:45:50 48% +52% -0% (4)
2 2 Braden Currie NZL 07:58:59 08:04:46 00:46:37 04:23:05 05:14:43 02:44:16 83% +2% -15% (19)
3 1 Mike Phillips NZL 08:01:58 08:20:48 00:47:18 04:21:14 05:13:32 02:48:26 44% +24% -32% (15)
4 3 Steven McKenna AUS 08:08:17 08:18:23 00:46:45 04:28:26 05:20:10 02:48:07 79% +16% -5% (7)
5 4 Justin Metzler USA 08:25:09 08:33:55 00:48:30 04:34:06 05:27:36 02:57:33 31% +36% -33% (9)
6 6 Matt Kerr NZL 08:30:57 08:49:50 00:49:31 04:38:35 05:33:06 02:57:51 100% +0% -0% (2)
7 10 Simon Cochrane NZL 08:31:47 08:41:48 00:49:06 04:41:31 05:35:36 02:56:11 91% +5% -4% (29)
8 12 Ben Hamilton NZL 08:42:02 09:01:31 00:54:52 04:44:02 05:43:54 02:58:08 n/a (no IM Pro race)
9 19 Domenico Passuello ITA 08:43:33 09:06:19 00:55:45 04:37:15 05:38:00 03:05:33 24% +2% -74% (14)
10 20 Mark Radziejewski AUS 08:44:25 09:03:59 00:55:30 04:46:02 05:46:32 02:57:53 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
11 18 Jesper Nybo Riis DEN 08:44:53 09:01:06 00:59:14 04:42:57 05:47:11 02:57:42 69% +0% -31% (11)
12 7 Matt Lewis AUS 08:45:50 09:00:01 00:52:22 04:45:46 05:43:09 03:02:41 100% +0% -0% (2)
13 15 Levi Hauwert AUS 09:00:07 09:18:08 00:53:49 04:52:21 05:51:10 03:08:57 51% +16% -33% (6)
14 11 Guy Crawford NZL 09:03:52 09:23:15 00:48:26 04:39:37 05:33:02 03:30:50 60% +18% -22% (17)
15 8 Albert Askengren SWE 09:04:44 09:25:04 00:54:42 04:55:25 05:55:07 03:09:37 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
16 16 James Hayes USA 09:14:02 09:39:57 00:51:19 04:47:37 05:43:56 03:30:06 14% +26% -59% (5)
17 21 Mike Tong NZL 09:15:08 09:29:24 00:54:56 04:58:29 05:58:25 03:16:43 46% +54% -0% (2)
18 22 Eneko Elosegui ESP 09:15:15 09:31:37 01:01:44 04:52:53 05:59:37 03:15:38 28% +12% -59% (31)
19 14 Scott Harpham NZL 09:25:23 09:46:29 00:58:15 04:43:37 05:46:52 03:38:31 52% +0% -48% (2)
  5 Colin Szuch USA n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (1 IM Pro race)
  9 Michael Boult AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)

Female Race Participants

The strength of the field is 24% of a typical Kona field.

# Bib Name Nat Expected Rating ESwim EBike ET2 ERun Consistency
1 32 Chelsea Sodaro (AQ) USA 08:40:04 08:47:31 00:52:37 04:51:10 05:48:47 02:51:17 51% +20% -29% (4)
2 34 Jocelyn McCauley USA 08:53:39 09:05:03 00:52:29 04:46:52 05:44:22 03:09:17 51% +17% -32% (25)
3 38 Barbara Riveros CHI 08:58:48 09:17:24 00:52:48 04:55:57 05:53:45 03:05:03 12% +88% -0% (2)
4 36 Laura Siddall GBR 09:04:49 09:12:41 00:57:28 04:53:16 05:55:44 03:09:05 78% +2% -20% (28)
5 31 Els Visser NED 09:06:20 09:13:18 00:56:49 04:53:14 05:55:03 03:11:17 90% +10% -0% (14)
6 33 Rebecca Clarke NZL 09:11:39 09:20:39 00:49:22 05:00:45 05:55:07 03:16:32 82% +15% -3% (10)
7 35 Amelia Watkinson NZL 09:16:56 09:28:13 00:53:48 05:01:36 06:00:24 03:16:32 100% +0% -0% (3)
8 37 Meredith Kessler USA 09:17:37 09:29:08 00:52:16 05:05:35 06:02:52 03:14:45 74% +5% -21% (39)
9 40 Ai Ueda JPN 09:36:05 09:48:30 00:55:55 05:28:51 06:29:46 03:06:19 79% +21% -0% (6)
10 43 Kate Gillespie-Jones AUS 09:38:33 09:50:38 01:02:01 05:04:17 06:11:17 03:27:16 100% +0% -0% (2)
11 45 Emily Donker AUS 09:41:30 10:18:24 00:57:06 05:20:35 06:22:41 03:18:49 37% +63% -0% (2)
12 41 Kate Bevilaqua AUS 10:03:42 10:15:00 00:57:42 05:23:39 06:26:21 03:37:21 25% +27% -48% (35)
13 39 Sarah Thomas AUS 10:07:20 10:12:50 01:05:31 05:33:35 06:44:06 03:23:14 89% +0% -11% (8)
14 47 Laura Wood NZL 10:23:54 10:48:48 00:53:49 05:30:51 06:29:40 03:54:14 n/a (1 IM Pro race)
  42 Fiona Gallagher NZL n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)
  44 Laura Dennis AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated 0% +0% -100% (3)
  46 Regan Hollioake AUS n/a unrated unrated unrated unrated unrated n/a (no IM Pro race)

Winning Odds

Male Race Participants

  • Braden Currie: 39% (2-1)
  • Mike Phillips: 30% (2-1)
  • Niek Heldoorn: 23% (3-1)
  • Steven McKenna: 8% (12-1)

Female Race Participants

  • Jocelyn McCauley: 39% (2-1)
  • Chelsea Sodaro: 35% (2-1)
  • Els Visser: 15% (6-1)
  • Barbara Riveros: 5% (18-1)
  • Laura Siddall: 4% (24-1)

An Early Short List of 2024 Ironman World Championships Favorites

Even though the 2024 Ironman World Championships in Nice and Kona are still months away and we have a full season of racing in front of us, maybe now is a good time to start discussing the “statistical favorites” for the races. After all, the “short list” is typically built from previous winners and last year’s podium – this is what the first section on “Past Winners” looks at. Then we apply this historical data on the September and October races to see who should be in the mix – and who may be overlooked by this simple way of building a short list.

Of course we still have a lot of racing left before Kona 2024, but I’m still giving “baseline odds” based on 2023 racing and the historical data. Of course, these odds are likely to change before the fall Championships.

Data on Past Winners

When looking at the past winners of the Ironman World Championships, most of them have placed well in the previous year. To put it another way: The best indication for winning Kona is previous success in Kona. Here is the distribution of how the Kona winners after 1990 did before their wins:

Some more details on the categories:

  • Winner: In the 66 races since 1990 (33 men and 33 women), the winner has also won the year before (8 men, 12 women). Interestingly, the last title defenses were already five years ago in 2018 when Patrick Lange and Daniela Ryf retained their 2017 titles.
  • Second & Third: The other athletes on the previous year’s podium have won 24% (second place the year before) and 14% (third place). Both 2023 winners, Sam Laidlow and Lucy Charles-Barclay were second in October 2022.
  • Another common scenario is a previous champion (who maybe had to a bad race the year before or sometimes haven’t been racing at all), this has happened about 16% of the time. Recent examples are Jan Frodeno (who won 2019 after not racing in 2018 with an injury) and Daniela Ryf (who won May 2022 after finishing 13th in the previous race which was in 1999).
  • Winning on Debut is quite rare: It has happened about 8% since 1990 which corresponds to 5 instances: For the men, it was Luc Van Lierde (1996), Kristian Blummenfelt (May 2022) and Gustav Iden (October 2022), for the women we have Chrissie Wellington (2007) and Chelsea Sodaro (October 2022).
  • This leaves only a few “Other” occurrences, all of which have been quite a while ago: Greg Welch (won 1994 but didn’t race in 1993), Peter Reid (won 1998 and was fourth in 1997), Normann Stadler (won 2004 and was fourth in 2003), Heather Fuhr (won 1997 but was seventh the year before) and Natascha Badmann (won 1998 but DNF’d the year before).

A final note about the cutoff date: Going all the way back through Ironman history mainly increases the “Debut” category – not a big surprise since all but one of the first nine champions won on debut! (The exception is John Howard who won 1981 after finishing third the year before.) Before 1990, there have only been another four “Other” winners: Scott Molina (won 1988 after not racing in 1987), Mark Allen (won 1989 after fifth the year before), Joanne Ernst (winning 1985 after fourth the year before) and Erin Baker (winning 1987 after a DNF in 1986).


Nice 2024 – Women

The following graph shows “baseline odds” for the women’s racing in Nice on September 22nd:

2024 will be the first time that the women’s World Championships will be held on the tough bike course in Nice. As we’ve seen in the men’s 2023 race, this may put an extra emphasis on a strong bike leg.

Lucy Charles-Barclay – DNS

As the defending Champion, Lucy would likely be the pre-race favorite. However, she has announced that she will not be racing Nice this year, instead focusing on the T100 Tour. Unless that changes, I have to take her out of the Nice odds.

Anne Haug – 25%

Anne has always raced well in big races – she won the Ironman Championship title in 2019 and was on the podium in all her starts. Her run strength forces the other athletes to take some extra risks on the bike, hoping to create a gap that’s too big even for Anne to run down. This has worked in the three most recent Championship races when others were able to have a career day. But Anne only needs a slightly better day herself .. and maybe a small improvement on the bike. Will racing the T100 Series help her reach T2 after the tough bike course in Nice with a smaller gap to the leader, and will she still be able to then run through the field?

Laura Philipp – 15%

With her third place in Kona 2023, Laura has been able to join the statistical “short list” – in previous years she was almost there after two fourth places in 2019 and 2022. Can she be in the mix in the final hour of Nice 2024? She will likely need a better swim so she doesn’t have to play catch up in the first part of the bike as in Kona 2023. Racing the T100 Tour might help her build resilience in deep swim fields, and then the tough bike course in Nice should suit her strengths and give her a lot of tactical options. As she is also one of the strongest runners on the full distance, she might be the next German World Champion winning after placing third the year before. Can she join the group of Faris Al-Sultan, Sebastian Kienle, Jan Frodeno, Patrick Lange and Anne Haug?

Daniela Ryf – 20%

Daniela will be the athlete with the most World Championships on the Nice startline, and she’s also the athlete who won the race the last time it was held outside of Kona: She won St. George after putting seven minutes into Kat Matthews and twelve minutes and more into the rest of the field on the bike. Can she deliver a similarly dominating bike performance in Nice and then also run well? Sam has shown in the men’s 2023 race that a lead of six minutes will be hard to overcome. Can Daniela win her final Ironman World Championship and reinforce her position as one of the greatest Ironman athletes? 

Chelsea Sodaro – 15%

When Chelsea won the 2022 Kona title, she had a strong bike leg, starting the run about two minutes ahead of Anne and then posting the fastest marathon. In Kona 2023, she struggled on the bike but then also had a good marathon, the second-fastest of the day but still four minutes slower than Anne. How strong will Chelsea bike in the French mountains – and how strong can she run in September 2024? If she can put together three solid legs, she will be at least a strong podium contender.

Who’s Missing? 25%

There are a few more names who will be discussed as Nice favorites. Skye Moench might be one of the athletes who will try to be in the mix, but her tactics might be calibrated for a spot on the podium. Taylor Knibb has impressed in her Ironman debut in Kona 2023, but she’ll be focused on the Olympic Games and it’s not clear if she can validate her slot from winning 70.3 Worlds and then also build for Nice which probably suits her bike strength. Another athlete with a strong bike leg is Kat Matthews who has been on the podium in St. George in 2022. Can either of these become the first female Champion from the “Other” category since Natascha Badmann in 1998?

Kona 2024 – Men

Here are “baseline odds” for the October race in Kona after 2023 racing:

Let’s have a closer look at the athletes on the short list!

Sam Laidlow – 25%

The “easy pick” is always last year’s winner. Sam has delivered two great performances in the last two Ironman World Championship races – second in Kona 2022 and winner in Nice 2023. There is very little reason not to have him as a strong contender for 2024 as well. In both recent years, he’s had a fair mix of ups and downs, and he may arrive in Kona 2024 without having shown his “Championship form” in any of the upcoming races. Even then, he’ll have to be taken seriously as he’s always racing for the win and has shown that he can deliver. 

Patrick Lange – 15%

Without any doubt, Patrick has been the best long-course runner in recent years – he seems to be chasing course records and possibly also the first 2:30 marathon. While that is unlikely in the heat and humidity of Kona, he’ll be looking to reclaim the run course record which was taken over by Gustav Iden with a 2:36:14 as part of his 2022 win. In Nice 2023, Patrick ran seven minutes and more into anyone likely to start the run ahead of him, and nine minutes into Sam. If Patrick wants to win another big title, he can’t give up more time than that into T2, likely forcing him to bike a bit harder – and still run at a similar level. Are we going to see any indication of an improvement on the bike in his 2024 races before Kona?

Magnus Ditlev – 15%

Magnus has shown that he has the necessary tools to win big races – especially a very strong bike leg. His third place in Nice 2023 was his first Ironman World Championship podium, and often that is a necessary step on the way to the title. For the last two years, Magnus had his best performance in the summer, winning Challenge Roth with fast times, and maybe he was already a bit “battle-weary” by fall for the Championship races. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s quiet for the first two-thirds of the year, even if he will be tempted to race the T100 Tour and defend his Roth title. What season plan will he choose for 2024 and will that allow him to race his best in October? 

Kristian Blummenfelt – 15%

For the first half of the season, Kristian will be focused on July 30th – the Olympic Games in Paris and a chance to defend his Gold medal from Tokyo. After that, he plans to shift to Ironman racing and Kona. This leaves the question of how he intends to validate his slot. If he wants to avoid doing a full-distance Ironman, he’d have to finish two Ironman 70.3s before July, i.e. as part of his Paris prep. The alternative would be to do an Ironman after Paris – but then his only option before the validation period closes is Ironman Frankfurt on August 18th. Let’s see where he’s going to show up for validation! And how competitive can he be in Kona after almost two full seasons focused on shorter distances?

Gustav Iden – 15%

Gustav has had a crappy 2023 season, and he starts 2024 with an Achilles injury that keeps him from doing proper run training. Hopefully, he can quickly get back to full health, and hopefully he can then train and race with a clear head. Will he still try to qualify for Paris, or is he going to put his full focus on long-distance racing for 2024? And would that require a change in his training environment as his training buddy Kristian will be focused on Paris? Among all the contenders discussed so far, Gustav is likely to be the first athlete with an indication of where things may go for 2024 and if he can be back to racing competitively. If he can get things back to his 2021 and 2022 level, he’ll be a top contender for Kona 2024 – and he and Sam can argue about who will be the “real defending champion” for Kona 2024.

Who’s missing?

This early in the season, there are a lot of questions “the usual suspects” have to answer before Kona. In addition, 2024 racing could add another name or two to the “Kona short list”. Which changes in the early odds shown above are going to develop during the season?

Women’s Ironman World Championship 2023 – How the Race Unfolded

Here are the Top 10 finishers from the women’s 2023 Ironman World Championship in Kona and a few others who played an important role as the race progressed:

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Lucy Charles-Barclay GBR 00:49:36 (1) 04:32:29 (1) 02:57:38 (4) 08:24:31 -13:42 US$ 125,000
2 Anne Haug GER 00:54:10 (18) 04:40:23 (10) 02:48:23 (1) 08:27:33 -06:13 US$ 65,000
3 Laura Philipp GER 00:56:49 (26) 04:35:52 (3) 02:55:24 (3) 08:32:55 -04:23 US$ 45,000
4 Taylor Knibb USA 00:51:16 (7) 04:34:00 (2) 03:05:13 (10) 08:35:56 n/a US$ 25,000
5 Daniela Ryf SUI 00:54:11 (19) 04:38:34 (4) 03:02:11 (7) 08:40:34 02:06 US$ 20,000
6 Chelsea Sodaro USA 00:54:00 (12) 04:50:35 (23) 02:53:02 (2) 08:42:25 07:34 US$ 18,000
7 Skye Moench USA 00:56:47 (24) 04:38:44 (6) 03:02:40 (8) 08:43:34 -07:59 US$ 15,000
8 Sarah True USA 00:54:02 (14) 04:46:15 (14) 03:02:09 (6) 08:47:06 -00:27 US$ 13,000
9 Lisa Norden SWE 00:54:08 (17) 04:38:36 (5) 03:11:18 (16) 08:49:36 -02:31 US$ 12,000
10 Jocelyn McCauley USA 00:54:04 (15) 04:38:53 (7) 03:12:56 (19) 08:50:39 -09:40 US$ 11,000
11 Hannah Berry NZL 00:53:39 (10) 04:46:31 (15) 03:08:39 (13) 08:53:45 -11:46 US$ 8,000
12 Ruth Astle GBR 00:59:39 (31) 04:39:03 (8) 03:11:54 (18) 08:55:35 -02:49 US$ 6,000
13 Penny Slater AUS 00:56:52 (28) 04:47:17 (17) 03:08:08 (12) 08:57:17 -18:41 US$ 5,000
14 Svenja Thoes GER 00:56:51 (27) 04:55:12 (30) 03:01:07 (5) 08:58:30 -09:28 US$ 4,000
15 Els Visser NED 00:56:48 (25) 04:43:53 (12) 03:14:02 (22) 08:59:16 -04:16 US$ 3,000
16 Laura Siddall GBR 00:59:55 (37) 04:43:17 (11) 03:11:19 (17) 08:59:51 -05:51
Katrina Matthews GBR 00:54:06 (16) DNF

You can find the full results in my Kona Results post.

The following graph shows how the race developed (click for a hi-res version):

Top10 Women.

Here’s a short summary of the race:

  • Lucy Charles-Barclay took control of the race in the swim – and never surrendered her first position. Posting the fastest bike leg and a strong 2:57 marathon, she won her first Ironman World Championship after finishing in second place four times.
  • Behind Lucy, Ironman rookie Taylor Knibb was in second place for most of the day before losing two spots after the Energy Lab and crossing the finish line in fourth place.
  • There were a lot of small shifts behind Lucy and Taylor but no big time gaps were created on the bike. On the run, Anne Haug had the fastest marathon of the day and ran herself into second place.
  • Laura Philipp overcame a small swim deficit in the first part of the bike, then also ran well to overtake Taylor in the final miles, claiming her first full-distance World Championship podium.

0 IMHawaii2023-Podium.

(All photos are kindly supplied by Marcel Hilger.)

Let’s have a closer look at each of the top finishers.

Ironman World Champion: Lucy Charles-Barclay

Leading from start to finish, Lucy won her first Kona title and also set a new course record:

Lucy erased any doubts about how aggressive she would swim and gapped the rest of the field very early. Until the turn, her lead was relatively small, but then she grew the gap on the way back, reaching T1 90 seconds ahead of Haley Chura, Lauren Brandon and a few more strong swimmers. Once on the bike, only Taylor Knibb rode at a similar pace to Lucy. Their pace in the first half was off-the-charts: Both rode the first 59.5 miles to the turn in Hawi with exactly the same split of 2:23:02 – five(!) minutes quicker than Daniela Ryf in 2018 when she set the bike course record.

1 IMHawaii2023-LucyBike.

Behind Taylor, everyone else fell further behind, and by T2 Lucy had a gap of almost eleven minutes to third place. Daniela had ridden the return leg in 2018 exceptionally well and the conditions were not quite as fast in 2023. Even if Lucy’s 2023 bike split of 4:32 was six minutes slower than Daniela’s 4:26, Lucy had the fastest bike split, in the second half she put another two minutes and more into the rest of the field. Even though Lucy struggled with a painful calf tear, she was running well and there was only the occasional misstep that showed she was racing on the edge. Outwardly, there was never any doubt about her win, and she posted a fourth-best 2:57 marathon, a new run PR. She also set a new Kona course record, two minutes quicker than Daniela in the calm 2018 conditions.

Second Place: Anne Haug

With her second place, Anne now has a full set of Ironman World Championship medals (after winning in 2019 and third places in 2018 and 2022):

Anne’s day started with a solid swim, about 4:30 back in a bigger group with most of the favorites. Even with a few slower swimmers catching up, that group was getting smaller in the early miles on the bike. Anne didn’t seem too happy with the on-and-off pace in the group and she let them ride away in the climb to Hawi. On balance, riding at her own pace seemed to be a good decision: She lost more time to Lucy at the front and some time to those she let go, but a lot of others fell back and Anne was riding well in the Top 10. In previous years, Anne struggled a bit in the last hour of the bike – this year she was the fastest athlete in that section, almost catching the first big chase group with Laura and others. She started the run in seventh place just over 12 minutes behind Lucy – when she won in 2019 she was over eight minutes behind.

2 IMHawaii2023-AnneRun.

Once again, Anne was clearly the fastest runner in the field, climbing into fourth place in the first few miles, then catching and overtaking Laura after the climb on Palani after mile 10. At that point she had already halved the gap to Taylor who was running in second place, eventually catching her in the Energy Lab. Even if Lucy seemed out of reach, Anne kept up the pace, set a new run course record and finished in second place.

Third Place: Laura Philipp

After two fourth places in 2019 and 2022, Laura Philipp improved one spot to claim her first podium result:

Laura was probably looking for a swim as in Roth earlier this year, close to Anne and her other main competitors, but she lost contact with them early in the swim and had to settle for leading the group behind them. She entered T1 seven minutes behind Lucy and almost three minutes behind the group around Anne. But she was not discouraged and started the bike riding hard. Only Els Visser was able to ride a similar pace to her, and they quickly gained ground to the Anne group: In the first 25 miles, they had closed the gap to just a few remaining seconds. Laura had overcome her swim deficit and now had a chance to recover from a hard first hour on the bike.

3 IMHawaii2023-LauraBike.

After Kawaihae (about mile 45), she moved forward in the group which quickly shattered in the climb up to the turn in Hawi. After Hawi, she was riding in a small group with Lisa Norden and Jocelyn McCauley – with only Lucy and Taylor in front of them. But after mile 80, their pace slowed down slightly: Lucy and Taylor started to increase their lead over them and others behind them were able to make up a bit of time to them. Laura’s small group had been able to ride away from Daniela and Anne, but Anne had been able to close the gap to them from over three minutes at mile 80 down to about 90 seconds in T2. By then, Laura was also more than ten minutes behind Lucy and six and a half behind Taylor.

On the run, she quickly asserted that she was the fastest runner in her little group, but it also quickly became obvious that Anne was running faster and should be able to catch her. Laura seemed to struggle a bit with the heat running up Palani, and soon after Anne caught and overtook her, quickly putting time between them. Coming out of the Energy Lab at about mile 21, Laura was in fourth place, two minutes behind Taylor. Her husband and coach Philipp Seipp gave her some extra encouragement for another push in the final 10k. Laura continued to run well but the gap to Taylor didn’t shrink fast enough. But after mile 24, Taylor ran a bit out of steam, and within the last 5k Laura was able to run almost five minutes into Taylor. With the third-best marathon of the day, Laura claimed third place.

Fourth Place: Taylor Knibb

Taylor didn’t disappoint at all in her first Ironman, making the race more interesting and finishing in fourth place:

As Taylor had received her Kona slot based on her win at the 2022 70.3 World Championships and had never raced a full Ironman race, there was a lot of discussion before the race about her chances, how aggressive she should race in her first Ironman race and what decisions she would make on race day. Once the gun went off, it quickly became apparent that this race would start differently to the two head-to-heads between Lucy and Taylor in 2022 when Taylor was just a few seconds behind Lucy after the swim. In Kona 2023, Taylor reached T1 in seventh place, 100 seconds behind Lucy. Taylor rode well at the start of the bike and overtook everyone who swam with her.

4 IMHawaii2023-TaylorBike.

After 20 miles, Taylor was alone in no-man’s land – one and a half minutes behind Lucy but also about four minutes ahead of the other favorites. Taylor stayed calm and rode her own pace, not making up time to Lucy but still putting more time into the chasers. At the turn in Hawi, Lucy was two minutes ahead but the next athlete behind Taylor was Daniela who was five minutes behind.

With the camera on Taylor, you could see her lose a couple of water bottles from her behind-the-saddle cage. Before the race, Ironman had announced that they would more strongly enforce the no-litter-rule and that referees would give out one-minute penalties for unintentional littering. After about four hours in the race, Taylor dropped another bottle and she was given a penalty. She wasn’t able to serve the penalty before T2: The penalty tent at mile 28 – on the way towards Hawi on the northern side of the road – becomes the penalty tent at mile 85 – on the way back to town on the southern side of the road – by moving the tent across the road. However, that is only viable when all athletes have already passed the penalty tent on the way out – and Taylor reached mile 85 before the tent was no longer needed at mile 28. Therefore she had to continue past the tent and ride on until shortly before T2. As she was told before mile 85 that she had to continue she did not lose any time for this organizational issue and it probably didn’t impact her race.

After a short stop at the tent half a mile before T2 to finally serve her penalty, Taylor started the run two minutes behind Lucy and ran at a similar pace to her. In the Energy Lab, she needed a quick bathroom break and was about to be overtaken by Anne. Somewhere around mile 24, it seems that Taylor ran out of energy and had to slow down a bit, giving Laura a chance to catch and overtake her. Still, Taylor was about five minutes ahead of fifth place and could cruise to finish in fourth place.

Fifth Place: Daniela Ryf

Daniela tried a few things early on in the bike to push the pace but never quite got into contention for the win. Still, she ran well to finish fifth:

Daniela’s race started with a typical swim for her with most of the favorites, starting the bike about four and a half minutes behind Lucy. Her first hour on the bike was also typical: She gained a few spots in the field but there were no big changes in the race situation. But then after about 30 miles, Daniela started to move away from the other athletes she was riding with, quickly building a lead of about a minute to Anne and others.

5a IMHawaii2023-DanielaBike2.

But Daniela was still losing time to Lucy, by the turn in Hawi she was seven minutes behind and the gap to the athletes behind also started to get smaller. By mile 70, she was caught by Laura, Lisa and Jocelyn and wasn’t able to stay with them for long, quickly falling a minute behind them. But that also wasn’t a decisive change, the gap stayed about the same for the next 30 miles and then even started to shrink in the last half hour on the bike.

By T2, Daniela had almost ridden up to them, starting the run in sixth place eleven minutes behind Lucy but only 25 seconds behind the podium ranks. In the first few miles of the run, Daniela gained two spots by overtaking Lisa and Jocelyn but then also lost one spot to Anne who was clearly running faster. At the run turn on the Queen K after 6k, Daniela was in fifth place and nothing would change for Daniela in the remaining two and a half hours of the race. Daniela was running a solid marathon just over three hours – those in front of her were putting time into her while she was running faster than those behind her. Even running on her own, she was able to keep her mind engaged, probably knowing that it was her final Kona race. (She made an official announcement after the race.) She had a much better marathon than last year when she ran a 3:22 to finish eighth. This year, she ran a 3:02 to finish fifth and when Chelsea was getting closer, she was even able to pick up the pace at the end.

Sixth Place: Chelsea Sodaro

The defending champion fell out of contention after the first third of the bike and lost a lot of time, then had the second-fastest marathon to run into sixth place:

In the swim, Chelsea was only a few more seconds behind Lucy as last year (4:23 vs. 3:50 in 2022), but last year she had been able to swim slightly quicker than most of the other favorites while this year Anne, Daniela, Lisa and others were within seconds of her at the start of the bike. That was more or less the group Chelsea was riding with for the first 45 miles until the climb up to Hawi started and Chelsea lost contact to them. After the race she revealed that a hip injury made it hard for her to ride hard. When others forced the pace, Chelsea fell further and further back.

6 IMHawaii2023-ChelseaBike.

By T2, she was 21st, more than 22 minutes behind Lucy and ten minutes behind Anne. It would have been easy to call it a day, but Chelsea felt she had more to give – and what a marathon she delivered! The second-best marathon of the day saw her move back into the Top 10 by mile 15, and after 40k of the run and eight and a half hours of racing, she climbed into sixth place, showing remarkable persistence in making the best of a bad bike ride and proving once again that she is one of the best runners in women’s triathlon.

Seventh Place: Skye Moench

After losing time in the swim, Skye ran her own race and finished seventh:

Among the Top 10 contenders, Skye probably had one of the slower swims, starting the bike with Laura over seven minutes behind Lucy in 24th place – while she probably would have liked to be with Anne and others who were two and a half minutes ahead. But that almost didn’t seem to matter to her, she was riding her own pace and not losing any additional time to the chase group. For the first 50 miles, not much had changed but when things started to get hard on the climb to Hawi Skye quickly climbed the ranks.

7 IMHawaii2023-SkyeBike.

By T2 Skye was in eighth place, still only two and a half minutes behind Lisa Norden or Jocelyn McCauley who she should be able to catch on the run. By mile 12, Skye had caught both of them and was running in sixth place. Around mile 15, she had to slow down a bit and her forward progress in the field didn’t continue. In the last miles, Skye was caught by a much faster-running Chelsea and had to settle for seventh place. Still, being the first finisher behind the six title contenders ahead of her and after a sub-standard swim is a very respectable result for Skye.

Eighth Place: Sarah True

A solid day for Sarah True saw her finish in eighth place:

Sarah was able to swim in the first big chase group with most of the top favorites, and she was also able to ride with them for the first 45 miles. Just like Chelsea, she had to drop back once the race for the podium started for real. After the turn, Sarah was able to move away from Chelsea in the first half of the bike and in the final miles caught a few athletes who had ridden too hard. She reached T2 in tenth place but the gaps to the slower runners ahead of her were quite big. In the end, a 3:02 marathon was the sixth-best of the day and enough to climb into eighth place.

8 IMHawaii2023-SarahT.

Ninth Place: Lisa Norden & Tenth Place: Jocelyn McCauley

Once again, Lisa and Jocelyn used their strong bike legs to claim Kona Top 10 finishes:

09 Lisa 10 Jocelyn.

After swimming in the main chase group with Anne and Daniela, Lisa and Jocelyn took their time before playing the “bike card”.

9 IMHawaii2023-LisaBike.

On the climb to Hawi, they teamed up with Laura and started to put time into the rest of the contenders. But they weren’t able to close the gap to the front and also started to fade a bit towards the end of the bike, allowing Daniela and Anne to get back most of the time they had lost earlier.

10 IMHawaii2023-JocelynBike.

Out of T2, Jocelyn was slightly faster but then Lisa moved ahead, and for the whole run course they were never more than two minutes apart. Both are not known as strong runners and they were overtaken by Anne, Daniela, Skye, Sarah and Chelsea – but their 3:11 and 3:12 marathons were still good enough to claim the last two spots in the Top 10.

Eleventh to Sixteenth Place .. and a DNF

Here’s a look at a few more interesting athletes at Kona:

For the first three hours of the race, Hannah Berry was in a good position in the big chase group with most of the favorites. But when the pace picked up in the climb to Hawi, she started to fall back and by T2 had lost six minutes to Anne. Starting the run in 11th place, she ran well but wasn’t able to make up any ground and also finished in 11th.

Ruth Astle had struggled with a run injury for most of the season so it wasn’t clear what she’d be able to do after finishing the bike in ninth place. With a 3:11, she lost three spots to finish in twelfth, still well inside the money ranks.

Penny Slater‘s race went well for the first two hours before she received a penalty and instead of riding in the second chase group she fell back into 31st place. By T2 she had worked herself back into 20th, and with a solid 3:08 marathon she gained a few more spots on the run to finish thirteenth.

After a good swim in the chase group, Svenja Thoes was losing time on the bike, and she started the tun in 28th place. It took a fifth-best 3:01 marathon to climb into the money ranks.

After Els Visser lost some time in the swim, she rode with Laura back into the chase group. Then she stayed with Anne but started to fall back in the final bike miles. At the end of the marathon, she won the fight with Laura for the last money spot.

Laura Siddall had received a wild card for Kona and was able to show that she deserved it: It was only in the last few miles that she fell out of the money ranks, finishing 16th just 35 seconds behind Els.

Before the race, Kat Matthews was considered one of the top favorites. However, she fell behind the chase group on the climb to Hawi and was forced to end her race when she was weaving across the road.

Men’s Ironman World Championship 2023 – How the Race Unfolded

Here are the Top 10 finishers from the men’s 2023 Ironman World Championship in Nice and others who played an important role as the race progressed:

Rank Name Nation Swim Bike Run Time Diff to exp. Prize Money
1 Sam Laidlow FRA 00:47:50 (5) 04:31:28 (1) 02:41:46 (6) 08:06:22 -26:44 US$ 125,000
2 Patrick Lange GER 00:49:01 (13) 04:43:24 (10) 02:32:41 (1) 08:10:17 -10:04 US$ 65,000
3 Magnus Ditlev DEN 00:49:14 (19) 04:35:54 (2) 02:41:07 (5) 08:11:43 -07:30 US$ 45,000
4 Rudy Von Berg USA 00:47:50 (5) 04:37:23 (4) 02:42:44 (7) 08:12:57 -19:35 US$ 25,000
5 Leon Chevalier FRA 00:51:11 (31) 04:39:30 (5) 02:39:26 (4) 08:15:07 -21:08 US$ 20,000
6 Arthur Horseau FRA 00:53:19 (36) 04:42:19 (6) 02:37:17 (3) 08:18:36 -11:16 US$ 18,000
7 Bradley Weiss ZAF 00:47:55 (11) 04:44:23 (11) 02:43:22 (8) 08:20:54 -12:06 US$ 15,000
8 Gregory Barnaby ITA 00:47:51 (7) 04:44:23 (11) 02:44:04 (11) 08:21:15 03:05 US$ 13,000
9 Robert Wilkowiecki POL 00:47:48 (4) 04:44:36 (13) 02:43:45 (10) 08:21:23 -16:40 US$ 12,000
10 Clement Mignon FRA 00:47:59 (12) 04:43:03 (9) 02:47:55 (12) 08:24:10 -04:41 US$ 11,000
11 Matthew Marquardt USA 00:47:46 (1) 04:49:11 (17) 02:43:44 (9) 08:26:17 -03:30 US$ 8,000
14 Cameron Wurf AUS 00:51:07 (28) 04:36:03 (3) 02:58:40 (22) 08:30:42 -07:37 US$ 4,000
16 Braden Currie NZL 00:47:46 (1) 04:46:37 (16) 02:58:01 (21) 08:38:50 08:38
24 Jan Frodeno GER 00:47:47 (3) 04:44:59 (14) 03:08:12 (26) 08:48:42 22:04

You can find the full results in my Nice Results post.

The following graph shows how the race developed (click for a hi-res version):

Men Top10

Let’s start with a short summary of the race:

  • In the swim, a group of eleven athletes including Jan Frodeno, Sam Laidlow and other pre-race favorites was able to break away from the rest of the field, the first chase group including Patrick Lange and Magnus Ditlev was  just a minute behind.
  • The front group split up as soon as they hit the first hills. Sam Laidlow pushed the pace, for the first 40 miles Clement Mignon was able to ride with him but then had to let Sam go as well. Sam posted the fastest bike split of the day and built a lead of about five minutes into T2.
  • In the second half of the bike leg, Rudy von Berg and Magnus Ditlev were the closest chasers of Sam. Cam Wurf was able to improve his position on the bike but never got further ahead than fourth place. All other athletes were at least ten minutes back, and most of the other “big names” reached T2 within 2 minutes of each other.
  • On the run, Sam had a very solid 2:41 marathon and his win never was in doubt. Once he found his rhythm, Patrick Lange was the fastest runner of the field, with his 2:32 marathon he was able to move into second place. Magnus Ditlev ran slightly quicker than Rudy von Berg, they finished third and fourth.

(All photos are kindly supplied by Marcel Hilger.)

Compared to earlier Ironman World Championships in Kona, how unusual were these results in Nice?

  • Sam Laidlow was the first French winner of IM Worlds.
  • The French men further increased their impact on the race. Before 2022, there were a few French in the Top 10 – the first one was Nice race director Yves Cordier in 1989. There were two French Top 10 athletes in May in St. George (Chevalier and Laidlow) and three in October in Kona (adding Mignon). In Nice there was another new athlete (Horseau), leading to a record four French athletes in the Top 10.
  • Nice also had the first Italian (Barnaby) and first Polish (Wilkowicki) athletes in the Top 10.

The next Ironman World Championships in Kona will indicate how much of these trends were influenced by the different location in Nice instead of Kona.

The rest of this post is a closer look at the main athletes and how their days unfolded.

Ironman World Champion: Sam Laidlow

After finishing second in Kona the year before, Sam Laidlow was able to win the 2023 title:

1 Sam

After a good swim in the front group, Sam took some extra time to put on his “aero socks”, losing almost a minute in T1. He quickly closed that gap in the flat section along the Mediterranean and with Clement Mignon started to move away from almost everyone else in the first climbs. 25k into the bike, they were already more than a minute ahead of Braden Currie and one and a half minutes ahead of a shrinking chase group. Sam and Clement stayed together in the second big climb as well, but then Sam slowly built a lead in the flatter middle section.

By 100k, Sam was four minutes ahead of Rudy von Berg and Magnus Ditlev. In the final descent back to sea level, Rudy was only able to get back a few seconds, and at the start of the run Sam’s lead was 5:36 over Rudy and 6:00 over Magnus. Sam posted the fast bike leg of 4:31, four and a half minutes quicker than Magnus and Cam Wurf.

At the start of the run in Kona 2022, Sam was 6:19 ahead of Gustav Iden, Kristian Blummenfelt and Max Neumann. But other than last year, his chasers in Nice weren’t really able to reduce his lead: After three of four run laps, he was still six minutes ahead of Magnus. In the end, Sam ran a 2:41 marathon, the sixth-best in the field, and won the Ironman World Championships with a final gap of 3:55.

Second Place: Patrick Lange

Patrick Lange had the best marathon of the day which saw him finish second:

2 Patrick

Patrick just missed the first fast swim pack, in T2 he was a minute behind the trailing swimmer in the first group but leading the second group that included some strong bike riders such as Magnus Ditlev. Once Patrick hit the hills, he was not able to stay with Magnus. Even if he was riding in 15th and continued to lose time to the front, he got a boost from catching up to Jan Frodeno after three hours of racing. He must have felt even better when he was able to ride away from Frodo in the climb to Coursegoules around mile 75. He was overtaking a few other athletes and was in a solid Top 10 position – but already more than ten minutes behind the lead. He lost some more time in the final flat section and started the run in ninth place, exactly 13 minutes behind Sam and seven minutes behind Magnus in third. How far ahead would a good marathon carry him?

As is typical for him, Patrick’s start of the marathon looked “slow”, for example Gregory Barnaby was able to put forty seconds into him in the first 4k of the run. But Patrick’s run pace is unrelenting – once he has dialed into his pace, he won’t slow down. At the end of the first run lap, Patrick had caught Gregory Barnaby and already moved into fifth place. The gap to the podium had come down to just under five minutes, even if Sam seemed out of reach for him with a lead of over eleven minutes. In each of the final three laps, Patrick was able to make up one spot: In lap 2 he caught Cam Wurf, in lap 3 Rudy von Berg and at the start of the final lap he passed Magnus for second place. Patrick ran a 2:32 marathon, the fastest of the day by almost four minutes over Matt Hanson (who finished 21st) and also the fastest ever in an Ironman World Championship.

Third Place: Magnus Ditlev

After a strong bike and run, Magnus Ditlev claimed the final podium spot:

3 Magnus

Similar to Patrick, Magnus also lost some time in the swim (he exited the water 12 seconds behind Patrick) and then some more time in T1. At the start of the bike he was more than a minute behind Patrick, but made up most of that in the flat section at the start and quickly overtook Patrick in the first climbs. But at that point, Sam had already started to push the pace at the front, and by mile 20 Sam was almost three minutes ahead. Then Magnus started to ride a bit quicker than Sam and also gained quite a few spots: By mile 35 he had ridden into 4th place, and the gap had slightly shrunk down to just over two and a half minutes.

It was expected that the rolling middle section would suit Magnus and others who could push big watts, but Sam rode that part hard and faster than everyone else. Magnus continued to lose time to Sam, and Rudy von Berg was even able to ride away  from him in the closing downhill. Magnus was able to almost bridge up to Rudy in the final flat section, but he started the run in third place, almost six minutes behind Sam.

Once on the run, Magnus closed the final 30 seconds to Rudy and then ran away from him after the first turnaround. At the end of the first run lap, he was 28 seconds ahead of Rudy but still six minutes behind Sam. Magnus continued to push the pace but ran a bit out of steam at the end of the second loop – he only made up another 30 seconds to Sam but was able to increase his gap to Rudy to almost two minutes. In the final loop, Patrick stormed by Magnus – Magnus ran a 2:41 marathon but wasn’t able to match Patrick’s 2:32 speed. A third place was nonetheless his first Ironman World Championship podium and a solid improvement over his eighth place from Kona 2022.

Fourth Place: Rudy Von Berg

Rudy Von Berg used his “local knowledge” to finish in fourth place:

4 Rudy

Rudy started his day with a good swim in the lead group and was close to the front when the climbing started. When Sam and Clement rode away, he wasn’t following them but rode at his own pace. After about 30 miles, he had lost about two minutes to Sam, and Magnus had ridden up to him. Then he rode together with Magnus until the top of Coursegoules, about mile 80, riding in second and third almost five minutes behind Sam. In the descent back to sea level, Rudy used his course knowledge, made up a few seconds to Sam but also put a gap of about a minute into Magnus. He gave up some of this in the final flatter section but was still 37 seconds ahead of Magnus at the end of the bike.

On the run, Rudy was quickly caught by Magnus in the first 5k and then had to let Magnus run away. When Patrick passed him at about 28k (run lap 3), he was able to slightly increase his pace for the final 14k. Magnus was ahead by just under two minutes, and Rudy was able to gain back only a few seconds. He crossed the finish line in fourth place, 1:14 behind Magnus. His 2:42 marathon was a new personal best for him, about 6 minutes quicker than when he won IM France in 2022 (on what was then probably a slightly shorter run course than for the World Championships).

Fifth Place: Leon Chevalier

After a seventh place in Kona 2022, Leon Chevalier improved two spots and finished in fifth place:

5 Leon

Leon was the top finisher from the athletes not in the first or second swim group, he exited the water 3:21 behind the swim leader in 30th place. Once on the bike, he started to move forward in the field, rode well in the climbs and entered the Top10 before Andon, roughly at mile 50. He wasn’t quite able to match Sam’s pace on the bike and continued to lose time to the front, but he was able to make up even more places on the bike. By T2, he was eleven minutes behind Sam but had moved into fifth place, posting the fifth-best bike split of the day.

Leon also had a great 2:49 marathon, which was the fourth-best in the field. Especially in the second run loop, he was able to put time into almost everyone who was slightly behind him, only Patrick Lange was able to overtake him.

Those in front of him also ran well, and Leon was only able to overtake Cam Wurf. In the end, he finished in fifth place, 2:10 behind Rudy in fourth but also with a 3:29 gap to sixth place.

Sixth Place: Arthur Horseau

After losing time in the swim and on the bike, Arthur Horseau had a solid run through the field all the way into sixth place:

6 Arthur

Arthur’s result is proof that patient racing can give you a great overall result in the end even after a slower swim. He was among the last Pros out of the water, losing five and a half minutes to the leaders, and in the first half of the bike he lost another ten minutes to Sam. But then he started to show that he was racing with a plan: He had the fourth fastest split for the last 85k, quicker than Magnus Ditlev and Cam Wurf. At the start of the run he had advanced into 16th place, just four minutes behind the Top 10.

He showed great pacing for the run as well. After taking some time to ease into the run, he ran the second fastest among the top finishers (only Patrick Lange was faster, further down the field Matt Hanson was also slightly quicker) and started to climb in the field: 13th after lap 1, 10th after lap 2, then seventh after lap 3.

In the final lap, Arthur was also able to overtake Gregory Barnaby and finished in sixth place (and third Frenchman!).

Seventh Place: Bradley Weiss

Even with a five-minute penalty, Bradley Weiss showed a great performance and finished seventh:

7 Bradley

Going into the race, Brad was very excited about his chances for a great race in Nice. His day started well: He swam in the lead group, exiting  the water in 11th place just 9 seconds off the lead. In Roth, he had lost almost two minutes to Sam and Magnus – in Nice he swam in the group with Sam and was 1:20 ahead of Magnus. When Sam pushed the pace in the early climbs on the bike, Brad did not follow him but rode among the chasers with the group getting smaller and smaller.

Very early on the bike Brad received a drafting penalty – according to him “while climbing a 10% switch back at less than 10km/h”. When he took his penalty right after mile 50, you could see his frustration in the TV pictures. Would he be able to keep things together? Before being forced to stop, he was in third place riding with Rudy and Magnus – after the penalty he was eight minutes behind the lead, even if still inside the Top 10. He rode for a while with Leon but eventually had to let him go.  He fell back into the group behind that had a lot of strong runners, reaching T2 in tenth position.

He had a quick transition and was running most of the first lap with Robert Wilkowiecki in ninth position. Towards the end of lap 1 he was able to run away from Robert but then had a tough patch around the half-marathon mark and fell back to tenth place. But he was able to come back to run well after 30k, making up three spots in the final lap to finish in seventh place. On a physically and mentally tough day Brad showed a lot of resilience and handled the challenges of the race very well.

Eighth Place: Gregory Barnaby

In his first Ironman World Championships, Gregory Barnaby was in a great position all day and finished in eighth place:

8 Gregory

In his only previous Ironman race at IM Israel in November 2022, Gregory swam in the first big group with some fast swimmers. In Nice he managed to stay in the lead group as well. While he didn’t follow Sam and Clement when they rode away in the first hills, he stayed in the chase group. But when Magnus rode up to that group and the pace picked up, he was no longer able to follow and he started to fall back. For some time, he was riding alone between the groups, then in a small group with Niek Heldoorn and Matt Marquardt and by mile 80 with Patrick Lange and Robert Wilkowiecki.

Gregory reached T2 in 8th place, and after a fast transition he moved into 6th place in the first run lap. In the second lap, he was overtaken by Patrick but also gained back his sixth place by overtaking Cam Wurf. Not much changed for him in run lap 3, but then he lost two spots in the final 10k when Arthur Horseau and Brad Weiss were able to run quicker. However, eighth place was the best finish by an Italian at an Ironman World Championship – before him it was Daniel Fontana’s 12th place in 2011.

Ninth Place: Robert Wilkowiecki

After a disappointing 39th place in Kona 2022, Robert Wilkowiecki improved to ninth place in Nice:

9 Robert

Robert swam with the front group and exited the water in fourth place. Once the lead group hit the hills, he quickly fell back, losing just under ten minutes in the first half of the bike. Riding with Gregory and Patrick in the second half, he didn’t lose much more time to the front and entered T2 in the Top 10. He also ran a solid 2:43 marathon in a close back-and-forth with Brad Weiss. In the end, he almost caught Gregory in the final kilometers, finishing 8 seconds behind him in ninth place, becoming the first Polish athlete in the World Championship Top 10.

Tenth Place: Clement Mignon

After leading the race early on the bike, Clement fell back in the second half but still ran well enough to finish in the Top10:

In last year’s Kona race, Clement lost 90 seconds to the front group in the swim and got  a penalty when chasing on the bike. In Nice, he was able to hold on to the front group in the swim and went with Sam Laidlow in the first hills. Clement was able to stay with Sam until the end of the climbs in the first third on the bike, but then had to let Sam ride away in the flatter middle section. But he still had a sizable lead to the next chasers, and it took Rudy and Magnus until mile 70 to catch him. Their pace was too hot for Clement and he continued to lose more positions and more time to Sam. By T2, he had dropped to sixth place, eleven minutes behind Sam and less than two minutes ahead of a group of fast runners. His first half marathon was only 68 seconds slower than Sam’s, but then he had to slow down in the third lap, dropping from seventh to tenth place.

Clement tried to rally at the start of the fourth lap in order to make up some positions late in the marathon, ran out of steam but was still able to secure his tenth place.

Bonus: Matthew Marquardt, Cameron Wurf, Braden Currie and Jan Frodeno

A look at some more athletes:

Men More

Matt Marquardt was first out of the water, but similar to most of the field he then fell back as soon as the hills started. For the first half of the bike he was just inside the Top 10, almost ten minutes behind Sam. He also lost more time in the second half, by T2 he fell back to 17th, almost 17 minutes behind the leader but only four minutes outside the Top 10. He ran a good 2:43 marathon, the ninth fastest of the whole field and advanced into 11th place.

As usual, Cameron Wurf lost some time in the swim, he was 28th in T1, 3:21 behind swim leader Matt Marquardt. That was another small step forward for him, he was 4:36 behind in Kona 2022. But as in Kona last year, his bike leg was overshadowed by Sam Laidlow: Sam rode four and a half minutes quicker. Cam finished the bike in fourth place but was quickly caught by the faster runners and had fallen out of the Top 10 by the half-marathon mark. In the end, a 2:54 marathon was only good enough for 14th place.

The day started well for Braden Currie, he was second out of the water. But then things did not go according to plan: The zipper of his race suit broke and he had to ride with the top flapping in the wind. With his team scrambling in the background (potential penalty? what to do in T2?), he lost time to the front but rode in the second group until halfway on the bike. He then received a penalty for littering which seemed to break his spirit. By T2, he was more than 16 minutes behind in 14th place. He had decided not to serve his penalty before T2 and ran a decent first half-marathon, still in 15th place. His pace dropped in run lap 3, and in the end he crossed the line in 16th place, the first position outside the money. After being DQ’d for not serving his penalty, he appealed and the penalty and his DQ were overturned.

Jan Frodeno‘s goodbye to professional racing ended not quite in the way he was hoping for. The swim went well, he was in a good position in the big front group and exited the water just one second behind swim leader Matt Marquardt. However, without any swim specialist willing to push the pace the lead group consisted of eleven athletes, probably more than Frodo was hoping for. [tearing race suit] Once Sam and Clement rode away at the front, Frodo rode in the chase group. But then he was no longer able to stay with Rudy, Brad or Braden in the climb up to the Col d’Ecre, and Magnus passed him as well. By mile 40, he had fallen back to the group around Patrick Lange, and the two stayed together until mile 80 when Patrick was able to ride away in the last big climb to Coursegoules. At that point, Frodo was more than twelve minutes behind and it seemed clear that he wouldn’t be able to win his last Pro race. To a German TV cameraman he shrugged and said “A gladiator dies in his arena”. Nonetheless, he was almost able to ride back up to Patrick by T2. At the start of the run, he took some extra time to hug his family, losing some more time and making it clear that he wouldn’t run all out but still finish respectably. Later on the run, he also hugged and thanked his coach Dan Lorang who was out on the run course. In the end, he ran a 3:08 marathon, finishing 24th. He was given a rousing reception by the spectators at the finish line and said goodbye to them and all triathlon fans.

Frodo Nizza2023

All photos © Marcel Hilger, used with permission.

Ironman Races from 1978 to 2013

The post looks at Ironman Races from 1978 to 2023. How did the series grow from its humble beginnings in 1978 to more than 40 full-distance events under the Ironman label? All in all, I could identify 67 different Ironman races across the globe in these years – some of them no longer being held in recent years. As usual, my specific focus is on Professional racing. Up until 2014, Ironman races always had a Pro category (as noted below with one exception), in recent years more and more events are held as an agegroup-only event.


Here’s a graphical overview of the Ironman history, showing the number of races and their geographical distribution (click for a hi-res file):

All IM Events

Main developments:

  1. In the early years, Hawaii was the only Ironman event. After Honolulu from 1978 to 1980 the location was moved to Kona on Big Island.
  2. The first international events added were New Zealand (Auckland) and Japan (both 1985) followed by Canada (Penticton) in 1986. After that it was Europe (Roth) and Australia (Foster) in 1988. Lanzarote (added in 1992) is the oldest event that is still held in its original location.
  3. The next expansions started around 2000: Switzerland in 1997, followed by Austria and Brasil in 1998. Lake Placid and Florida in 1999 were the first US additions. In 2000 and 2002, four new events per year were added.
  4. The expansion of the race continued at a steady but more leisurely pace in the 2000s. WTC also started to eliminate non-Ironman-branded events as Kona qualifiers, such as Wildflower, St. Anthony’s or Chicago.
  5. In 2008, WTC (owner of the Ironman brand) was sold to Private Equity, and they started to take over licensed events and to run them on their own rather than licensing the Ironman brand to other organizers. They also added more races: Five new events in 2012 and a record six new events in 2014. With 35 Pro races, 2014 also had the largest number of Pro events on the full distance – “Peak Pro Ironman”. 2014 was also the year with the most Pros, 662 athletes finished a professional ironman, compared to 519 in 2006 and 489 in 2023.
  6. Starting with the 2015 season, not all Ironman events also offered a Pro category. Before that, AG-only events were very rare (the only one I was able to confirm was IM Malaysia 2010, the other “grey blip” in the graph above from 2005 to 2007 was from single-gender Pro races). In 2015 there were  nine AG-only events and ten in 2016, almost all of them in North America. (That number went up to 15 AG-only events in 2023.) Ironman also re-introduced “single-gender Pro” races and rolled this out to more events, in many years there are three or four “race pairs”. (Each single-gender event counts as half a Pro event and half an AG event in the totals.)
  7. The total number of Ironman events stayed almost the same between 2015 and 2019 but each year there were typically three new races – and three events that were discontinued.
  8. With Covid, there was of course a huge reduction of racing and Pro racing in 2020 (only 3 events) and in 2021.
  9. The number of events increased after Covid, but a growing number AG-only races and single-gender Pro events led to a reduction of Pro Ironman races: From 35 Pro events in 2014 the number went down to only 21 races in 2023.

Which changes in Ironman racing are we going to see in the next years? Which impact is the new Ironman Pro Series going to have?

I also expect another major change in Pro racing: The current qualifying system for the World Championships started as “only Ironman champions will race in Kona”, now races have up to six Pro qualifying slots! I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ironman Pro Series as the main way to qualify for Kona. There might be some additional Pro races, but likely with a smaller prize purse. What will a reduced number of Pro events mean for the overall number of Ironman races?

North America

Here’s a more detailed look at the North American races in 2005, 2013 and 2023, clearly showing an “inverted V” (first an up, then a down) of Pro racing in North America:

Event 2005 2014 2023
IM Hawaii X X W
IM Texas X X
IM Coeur d’Alene M X X
IM Lake Placid W X X
IM Mont Tremblant X W
IM Canada X X
IM Wisconsin X X
IM Boulder X
IM Chattanooga X
IM Louisville X
IM Cozumel X X
IM Los Cabos X
IM Arizona X X
IM Florida X X X
IM Maryland X
Total 6 14 7

For 2023, you might add IM Canada which was planned in Penticton but had to be canceled a few days before the race because of wildfires.


Here’s a similar table for European Pro races:

Event 2005 2014 2023
IM Lanzarote X X X
IM Austria X X X
IM Germany X X W
IM France X X M+M
IM Switzerland X X M
IM Sweden X W
IM Wales X W
IM Copenhagen X
IM Mallorca X
IM Barcelona X
IM Hamburg M
IM Vitoria W
IM Italy M
IM Portugal X
Total 6 11 7,5

Even though single-gender races started in North America, in 2023 there were a lot more in Europe. With Nice, they even had a location that had two men’s races in the same year: First, IM France as a qualifying race for MPRO, then the men’s World Championships in September.

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