How much Time is Allowed to finish? To earn those bragging rights it's this simple: complete the race in less than 17 hours (with exceptions such as France and Germany, with 16- and 15-hour limits, respectively), and you're an official Ironman finisher. (on average, it takes 12 hours, 35 minutes to finish)
How many need 17 hours to finish? In a typical North American ironman around 85% of finishers cross the line under 15 hours, and nearly 95% cross the line in less than 16 hours. For example, at Ironman Florida 2011, 2353 triathletes finished the race; of those, 192 finished between 16 and 17 hours, and another 92 finished between 16 and 17 hours.
What's the difference in race splits and finish times between 15- and 16-hour finishers? In short, more than half is on the run. We compared swim, bike and run splits, and finishing times, of 15- and 16-hour finishers at Ironman Florida 2011, and the results are:
- Overall: 16-hour finishers take 56 minutes longer to finish
- Swim: only 5 minutes separate 15- and 16-hour finishers
- Bike: 16-hour finishers use 19 extra minutes on the bike, but that's only a 4% increase over 15-hour finisher splits
- Run: runners who finish in 16 hours take 32 minutes longer to complete the marathon, a notable 9% increase over 15-hour finishers
Generally, the distribution of 16- and 17-hour finishers is somewhat similar to that of all the entire field: most are are male, between 35 and 45, for example.
How do the results -- additional time in swim, bike and run splits -- vary by age group? Here are the results.