Ironman Cutoff Times: How Do Athletes Beat Ironman France 16-Hour Cutoff?

While most Ironman triathlons set a finish cutoff time of 17 hours, some European races have tighter limits. Germany, for example, has a 15-hour cutoff time; France ends its race at 16 hours (in an average finish time of 12:26).  Some triathletes need those that last hour to finish. For example, Ironman France 2012 had 2035 finishers, but 236, or 12%,  finished in the second-to last hour (from 14 to 15 hours), and 142, 7%, finished in the last hour (15 hours to 16 hour cutoff).

We've been analyzing finishers in the last hour before the cutoff, to understand why the last-hour athletes need the extra time. In our analysis of Ironman Florida, with a 17 hour cutoff, those that finished in the last hour seemed to generally need the extra time for the run.

But what about the last hour finishers at Ironman France, who are racing to beat an even tighter 16-hour deadline? Interestingly, our analysis reveals a different dynamic when a 16-hour cutoff is in place. Why do finishers need that last hour to finish in France?

It's mainly because they lose the most time on the bike course. And, somewhat surprisingly, marathon times for those that finish between 14 and 15 hours are not that much faster than run splits of those who finish between 15 and 16 hours. The last-hour finishers literally have to run for it.

The mix of finishers in the last two hours of Ironman France doesn't vary much from that of the overall field; most competitors overall are male, predominantly in the M30-M49 group.

Taking the analysis to the next level, here are the comparative split comparison between 14-15 hour finishers and 15-16 hour finishers, for the largest age groups.