Ironman Lake Placid 2014 Results Analysis: The Lightning Race

I've raced through pouring rain, flooded streets, and other harsh conditions at Ironman Lake Placid (2003), but apparently this year's weather was even worse. Lightning strikes during the swim led organizers to take swift, decisive action: to immediately direct swimmers, most on lap 2, out of the water in any way possible. Very smart move.

As I understand it, a large number of athletes had completed the second lap, and were on the bike course when the swim was cancelled by lightning, but the timing clock kept ticking. Those escorted out of the water without completing the swim headed for transition and then onto the bike course to continue the race.


Personally, if lightning was still in the area, because it's a deadly risk, I would have recommended one of two things:

  • Immediately stop the race, direct athletes, wherever they were, to seek shelter. When conditions improved, continue the race. Or . . .
  • Canceled the race, as has been done in major races in the past. Cary Pinkowski's cancellation of Chicago Marathon 2007, mid-race, due to the threat of dehydration and heat stroke, took guts, angered thousands, but saved lives. And lives were at risk at IM LP this year.


But the race continued, and we do have final race results analysis. Because of the great deal of confusion coming out of the water into T1, the results are admittedly unreliable when looking at overall times for the complete 140.6 mile Ironman. So we analyzed the results of the event considering only lap 1 of the swim, full bike, and full run.

One of our favorite races to analyze, comparing results to 2009, the course change limits us in that regard this year. But the analysis is still quite interesting, and complete with respect to the run. Take a look:

Interactive Finisher's Map: Finishers and Average Results per City

Extra credit: we mapped the average splits and total finishers for each city represented in the race. Click on any red dot to see results by city. Scroll around, zoom in and out as you would on google maps.