Showing posts sorted by relevance for query St. George. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query St. George. Sort by date Show all posts

Ironman 70.3 St. George 2013 Results Analysis

For the latest, see 

Ironman 70.3 St. George 2014 Results Analysis

Ironman 70.3 St. George, a beautiful but tough long-distance triathlon, took place under almost perfect conditions, resulting in an average finish time of 6:24 (we were close; we had projected 6:30, see below). At 6:24, it's one of the toughest Ironman 70.3 courses we've analyzed, and much slower than the average 6:00 finish time for all events.

The splits times as a percent of total were almost exactly what our models predict: 50% of time on the bike. Also note our correlation between bike and run splits for all finishers; results are significantly more bunched together, and with a higher R^2 than in 2012. Far more remarkable was the difference in DNF rates and finishers:
  • Ironman 140.6 St. George 2012: 29% DNF; 1,022 finishers
  • Ironman 70.3 St. George 2013: 4% DNF; 2,105 finishers
Ironman 70.3 St. George 2013 Results Analysis

Pre-Race Ironman 70.3 Results Analysis Projections

In recent years, the full 140.6 mile Ironman St. George event had been one of the toughest courses on the Ironman circuit. For 2013, the race is now an Ironman 70.3 distance, and it's now the US. Pro Championship race.

The change brought up an interesting question: with Ironman St. George now a 70.3 mile event, effectively half the old race, what finish times could be expected?

We projected an overall finish time of 6:30 (see below), and we were within 1% or so: the actual result was 6:24 (see above).

In the past, we've presents results analysis of Ironman St. George 2010, 2011 and 2012, and we've also conducted in-depth analysis of 15 pairings of similar Ironman 140.6 and Ironman 70.3 events to predict average finish time at one distance based on actual results at another. Combining these analytics, here are the results.

Projections for Ironman 70.3 St. George
  • Average finish time will be around 6 hours, 30 minutes
  • Swim: 45 minutes (expected to be 53% of average 2010 to 2013 swim split)
  • Bike: 3:19 (expected to be 48% of average 2010 to 2013 bike split)
  • Run: 2:15  (expected to be 44% of average 2010 to 2013 run split)
  • Transitions: 0:11 (or about 80% of 2010-2012 splits)
Scroll further down the post to see a detailed set of predictions, by age group, by split, and overall. 

Detailed Analysis of Ironman St. George 2010 to 2012


Ironman St. George Results Analysis and Kona Qualifying Times

With a record-breaking 29% DNF (started but did not finish) rate (compared to 19% in 2011), Ironman St. George remains at the top of RunTri's Toughest Ironman Course list (though Ironman South Africa's conditions and 13:43 time rivaled St. G this year). Of the 1432 starters, only 1024 finished. The frustratingly choppy water forced 6% of starters to DNF; wind gusts up to 40 mph forced another 19% to DNF, and finally, another 4% did not complete the run. Those who did cross the finish line did so in an average of nearly 14 hours. At 13:52:55 average finish time, St. George 2012 was 16 minutes slower than in 2011.


2011 Race Analysis

Ironman St. George unquestionably remains at the top of RunTri's Toughest Ironman Course list.  How tough is IM StG? Of the more than 1600 who started the 2011 race, 300+ did not finish, about an 18% DNF rate. In the end, 1311 ambitious triathletes finished in a remarkably slow (= difficult) average time of 13 hours, 24 minutes.

Also see our Ironman St. George Bike/Run Correlation Analysis and RunTri's Toughest IMs.

Ironman St. George 2011: Correlation Between Bike and Run Splits

With an average marathon of 5:10 and bike split of 6:41, Ironman St. George 2011 is at the top of RunTri's Toughest/Easiest Ironman list.

When it comes to balancing the bike (x, and 50% of total race time) and run (y = 77% of x), our analysis of IM StG 2011 highlights four groups: 1. Fast and Balanced; 2. Energy to Spare for a fast run; 3. Left it on the Bike Course; 4. Smooth and Steady for a slow bike and slow run.

You want to be #1 or #4.  In comparison to similar analyses of other Ironman races, the finishers at Ironman St. George seem to have struck a clear, if conservative balance between bike and run. Translation: it appears fewer blew up on the run after riding too hard on the bike course.

As the R^2 is .45, the correlation is low overall, but in an Ironman, all that really matters is reaching the finish line. For more see Ironman St. George and RunTri's Race Analysis Index.

Ironman Lanzarote Correlation Between Bike and Run Splits

How tough is the Ironman Lanzarote bike course? It's among the most difficult course in the world. The average bike split is 6:43, nearly the same as Ironman St. George's 6:41.  Why then, many people ask, is St. George ranked as notably tougher than Lanzarote overall? The answer is in the marathon: Lanzarote triathletes averaged a 4:26 run, those in St. George suffered through a 5:10 marathon.

When it comes to balancing the bike (x, and 50% of total race time) and run (y = 66% of x), our analysis of IMLZ highlights four groups: 1. Fast and Balanced (Black label); 2. Energy to Spare (Green); 3. Left it on the Bike Course (Red); 4. Smooth and Steady (Blue) for a slow bike and slow run. Compared to St. George, more Lanzarote triathletes avoided the red and green zones.

For more, see our Ironman Lanzarote Results analysis, our stats and analytics archive and our top 25 toughest Ironman triathlon rankings.

Ironman St. George 2012 Results Analysis

With a record-breaking 29% DNF (started but did not finish) rate (compared to 19% in 2011), Ironman St. George remains at the top of RunTri's Toughest Ironman Course list (though Ironman South Africa's conditions and 13:43 time rivaled St. G this year). Of the 1432 starters, only 1024 finished. The frustratingly choppy water forced 6% of starters to DNF; wind gusts up to 40 mph forced another 19% to DNF, and finally, another 4% did not complete the run.

Those who did cross the finish line did so in an average of nearly 14 hours. At 13:52:55 average finish time, St. George 2012 was 16 minutes slower than in 2011.

Ironman Lake Tahoe DNF (Did Not Finish) Rates Analysis: Comparison with Other Ironman Race DNF Rates

As Featured by Triathlete Magazine Online Edition
By Raymond Britt

The inaugural Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013 crushed triathletes beyond their wildest expectations, with a record-breaking high average finish time of 14 hours and 6 minutes, easily making it the toughest of the RunTri's Ranking of the Top 30 Toughest Ironman Races.

The venue featured breathtaking scenery, but at the end of the day, the views were not much consolation to the 20% who did not finish the race. Fast Facts:
  • Registered Entrants: 2700+
  • Did Not Start: 565 (21%)
  • Finishers: 1,719
  • DNF of Race Starters: 20+%; DNF on Bike: 267 (12%); DNF on Run: 182 (8%)
The stunning results at Ironman Lake Tahoe seemed to have the triathlon community buzzing (thousands of visitors from 800 cities visited our site's analysis, see map above, and interactive map at end of article): Did you hear what happened at Lake Tahoe? Did you hear about the weather? Did you hear about the DNFs?

Ultimately the biggest question seemed to be: How Ironman Lake Tahoe DNF Rates Compare With DNFs at Other Ironman Events?

The answers may surprise you.
  1. Yes, Ironman Lake Tahoe Was a Punishing Race, and Some Age Groups Suffered More than Others
  2. Ironman Lake Tahoe's DNF Rate falls far short of the 29% recorded at Ironman St. George in 2012, BUT . . .
  3. There's No Guarantee that Ironman Lake Tahoe 2014 Will see 20% DNF, Too; Conditions and DNFs Vary by Year. 
1. Yes, Ironman Lake Tahoe Was a Punishing Race, and Some Age Groups Suffered More than Others

Let's start with our analysis of Ironman Lake Tahoe's DNFs: overall, by age group, and within age groups, DNF rates on the bike or run.

2. Ironman Lake Tahoe's DNF Rate falls far short of the 29% recorded at Ironman St. George in 2012, BUT . . . 

But when Ironman St. George is eliminated from the comparison, Lake Tahoe's DNF rate is highest.  Among other high DNF events, Louisville and Texas don't come close to LT's 20%.

3. There's No Guarantee that Ironman Lake Tahoe 2014 Will see 20% DNF, Too; Conditions and DNFs Vary by Year. 

Our Multi-Year Analysis of DNFs Overall (at Ironman Wisconsin) and by Age Groups (at Ironman Lake Placid) clearly illustrate that DNF rates can vary significantly from year to year.

Which leaves a couple of thousand athletes wondering: should I sign up for Ironman Lake Tahoe next year? If you like the area, the course, and are well-prepared, I'd suggest you sign up for this great race. 

Worried that next year may see 20% DNF again? Sure, it might happen. But I'd not be surprised to see a different DNF rate, more likely to be lower than higher, based on our Ironman Wisconsin and Iron Lake Placid analysis.

Still on the fence? Final thought -- whether DNF rate is 10%, 15% or 20% -- if it were easy, they wouldn't call it an Ironman. Don't be scared by DNF rates, I'd tell you. Prepare vigorously with expectations to be among the 80% of Finishers. 

Go Ahead. Sign up for 2014. Crush the course next time.


Hardest Ironman Course? Easiest? RunTri's 30 Toughest Ironman Races

By Raymond Britt -- There is no such thing as an Easy Ironman. Covering 140.6 miles on any course, any day, in any variety of conditions, is a monumental challenge. Everyone who crosses the finish line knows how hard an Ironman triathlon is. But we were curious . . .

The RunTri Challenge Index.  We had long been interested in a quantitative comparison, but found none, so we created the list -- the RunTri Challenge Index. RunTri analyzed results of more than 150,000 finishers (each year sees about 65,000 finishers) competing in 30 Ironman distance triathlons (including Lake Tahoe, Sweden, and Mont-Tremblant, which still need to be added) to answer the question: which Ironman triathlon is hardest? Easiest? We've completed this analysis twice, and both are presented here.

RunTri's Toughest/Easiest Ironman Races: Edition

Our rankings, portions of which have been published in Triathlete Magazine issues, have taken our original analysis into a deeper, more comprehensive direction, ranking races by discipline -- swim, bike or run -- to help athletes more accurately assess which races are easiest or toughest, depending on which elements of their triathlon skills are best or weakest. (we know you'll have many questions; see FAQs further down in this post)

RunTri's Original Top 25 Toughest/Easiest Ironman Races

Next, our original analysis, the Top 25 Toughest/Easiest Ironman Races and related analysis. Our original analytics in response to key questions about comparing the races still hold true for the new rankings.

We expect there will be much discussion about this list, and we are pleased to start the conversation. Is it perfect? No, and it doesn't pretend to be. But we've gone to great lengths to verify and validate as much as possible.

We've finished 29 Ironman triathlons (as documented in the book Qualifying for Kona: The Road to the Ironman World Championship), including nearly half the races in this analysis, some multiple times, and are more than familiar with the difficulty of many others. In addition, we've also conducted in-depth results analysis for most ranked races. The ranking is more than numbers, as we have taken care to test available qualitative factors where possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Discussions and threads on chat boards from to,, to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been animated and active for quite some time. Each contains thoughtful observations and questions, including the following:
See notes below to understand how the list was generated, how we reconciled some non-quantitative factors, and discussion of some suggested alternative approaches. To start, dive into our results analysis by race or more detail behind our Toughest/Easiest Ironman Triathlon Rankings.

Europe / South Africa

Central/South America

How many athletes were analyzed? The initial data were compiled for one or more years for each race, involving more than 50,000 athletes across races.  This number included 41,000+ finishers, plus several thousand who raced in half ironman 70.3 events that offered slots. As of 2012, new races have been added and more than 65,000 athletes are registered to compete in 30 Ironman events.

Data. We cut and pivot-tabled the data several ways, modes, medians, standard deviations, etc., and the results are similar enough that we are using average finish times. The data are updated as needed (e.g., Louisville), if new results change the ranking, and are based on new race data availability. For example, the Inaugural Ironman Texas earned a spot among the toughest overall at 13:17. We'll be revising the rankings to reflect recent results, shortly.

For further details and links to data for each race, see Detailed Comparisons between races.

For similar comparative charts, see our Toughest/Easiest SwimBikeRun analyses.

Wondering if the list differs by Age Group? See our AG Analysis table, below.

Another alternative view: look at Kona Qualifying times by Age Group.

Kona: For most triathletes, Kona would rank in the top 5, if not toughest overall. World-class Kona qualifiers are, of course, very skilled, and their average finish times are deceptively fast: average finish time is 11:37. This time would rank Kona among the 'easiest' Ironman events, and it's misleading in that respect. We've put Kona at the top of the chart, without finish time data to account for Kona's universally acknowledged difficulty.

Splits for 2002 to 2010 are shown in the chart, above. Comparative splits for 2010 vs other races are available in our detailed comparisons. See Kona Qualifying Times for an alternative view.  

DNFs. We've concluded that the impact of DNFs is effectively captured in the average times. Harder courses, harsher conditions lead to higher DNF but also higher average times. Kona is a perfect example; as our analysis of DNFs and Average finish times 2002 to 2010 clearly shows.

In another example, at St. George, DNFs were higher than usual, but so is the average time of those who finished. One goes with the other. IM Louisville in 2010 is another  example, due to difficult conditions, and we adjusted as appropriate.  See our North American Ironman DNF analysis and Ironman Wisconsin 2002-2010 DNS and DNF Analysis.

Kona Qualifiers vs Lottery Winners: DNS and DNF. Another look at DNFs: Kona lottery slot winners had a much lower DNF rate than Kona qualifiers, on the Kona course itself. Does that mean lottery winners are better triathletes than qualifiers? Certainly not. But those who did show up -- after a 9% DNS rate -- did apparently fight harder to cross the finish line.

More Athletes per Race = Weaker Triathletes? Most Ironman races reach 'Sold Out' status quickly, though the maximum number of athletes per race differs. Not only that, but the cap on many races increases annually, especially in North America where several races feature close to 3000 entrants.

Do races that allow upwards of 3,000 entrants end up having a weaker field overall, resulting in a tougher rating? It could be the case, except by the time race day arrives, as many as 500 entrants choose not to race. Those that show up, for the most part, have trained hard and are prepared to race. And generally, lower DNF rates confirm the point (except, as noted often, when extraordinary conditions present)

Weather. Course conditions do vary from year to year, but overall results tend to be less impacted than you may expect. Personal experiences on races courses more than 5 times, through sun, heat, humidity,  wind, rain, hail, fog and almost snow, bear this out.

However, in the cases where conditions do, in fact, lead to drastically different times in a race from one year to the next, e.g., Wisconsin (weather-affected DNF rates; chart below) and Louisville 2009 vs. 2010, we make adjustments depending on data availability. 

Speedsters -- Average vs Top x%. For those who might believe a top 100 or top 10% per age group might sway the analysis, the answer is generally no, it won't. Our analysis of 17 races -- Top 100 results vs All Finishers -- still ranks St. George, Louisville and UK among the toughest, Lanzarote and Lake Placid next tier, and Austria, Regensburg and Western Australia still are among the fastest. Others like Wisconsin, Cozumel, Canada and France vary somewhat, and we've factored that in to the overall results.

For another way to test this hypothesis, see our Kona Qualifying Times by race and age group.

Europe. Others might say faster times in Europe indicate better athletes. I'd say there is a small degree of truth, based on personal experience racing in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. But the difference is less than you would think; see above 'Speedsters' analysis.

Further, the courses in Europe have been modified to reduce some of the challenge. Switzerland in particular; those of us who raced there a decade ago faced a daunting, steep, technical 3-loop course. That's long gone now.

The Austria time strikes us as too good to be true, so did the 5:46 average bike split, for example (and it's even faster in 2011). Same is true on some other courses. Here's the evidence: bike splits examples across the board.

And we've looked at the 'better athlete' question a different way, comparing Kona qualifiers from 13 top countries, competing head-to-head by age group at Kona 2010. the results are inconclusive overall; country dominance varies by age group, as illustrated in the chart below. For more, see Which Countries Have the Fastest Triathletes?

What about Challenge Roth? Performance there raises skepticism about course measurement; we've raced Roth, we agree. So it's not included.

Lanzarote. Yes, the bike course at Ironman Lanzarote is a monster, with a roughly 7-hour average time. Yes, your friend says Lanzarote is as tough as Kona, and on the bike course, that's probably true. But, surprisingly, the average marathon times in Lanzarote are quite fast, in the mid 4-hour range.

Combined, Lanzarote's average finish time is a brisk 12:30 or so. It's been that way for the last 2 years. One factor behind these fast times is self-selection; a younger group of triathletes race Lanzarote. Taking that into consideration, we rank Lanzarote at the 13-hour level, a more likely time if the field's demographic was consistent with most other races.

Cut-off Time Adjustments. Some European races have shorter overall cutoff times. France and Switzerland ends in 16 hours, not 17. Germany ends in 15 hours.  We've done the analysis to adjust for the difference using Ironman Canada results and calculating average 15 and 16 hour cutoff times. The answer: add 26 minutes to Germany's time, and 11 minutes to Switzerland's time to make all three comparable to all other 17 hour cutoff races.

The 50% Rule. Another benchmark we look at is what we call The 50% Rule. In race after race, the bike split is approximately 50% of overall time.

Even for races with 15 or 16 hour cutoff times, this test holds true. If the bike split was 60% in these races, reflecting faster marathons to beat the cutoff, we'd be more concerned.

Flat Bike Courses = Easier? Many assume: Ironman Florida and Arizona should be considered 'easy' because the bike course is so flat. Flat does not always = faster. Ask any pro who expected a PR bike split on either course, and left disappointed: flat is deceptively hard. Note: no Ironman bike split record has been set on either course; not even close.

Same muscles used 112 miles, no variation, it takes a surprising toll. Race Florida and you'll actually wish for hills and descents, anything for the chance to use different leg muscles. In Arizona, expect brisk desert winds to hinder your progress; see how speeds drop sharply by lap 3 on the bike course.

Correlation between Bike and Run Splits. We've cut the data to show the correlation between bike and run splits for several races, including Kona, Wisconsin, Canada, Louisville and others. Click on the bike or run split link for the respective races above. Below, the Ironman Wisconsin 2010 chart.

Other Toughest Lists. For perspective, we've done similar analysis for top 25 marathons and 35 half ironman 70.3 races. Take a look.

So. Reading the data literally Ironman Switzerland and Ironman Austria appear to have the fastest average time, while Ironman St. George is clearly the hardest, followed by Ironman Malaysia and Ironman Wisconsin. But you have to dig deeper, into the race splits, to see what makes these races stand out. See links above.

New ZealandArizonaFloridaLake PlacidCanada and Wisconsin times seem spot-on, based on our experience racing there. Malaysia triathletes clearly suffer in the heat and humidity, perhaps the same was true in Cozumel.

Finale. After all the charts, tables, debates, and comments, one thing remains definitive: there is no such thing as an easy Ironman triathlon. Swim 2.4 miles, ride 112 miles, run a marathon, and you've done what you once -- be honest -- considered impossible.

All of us, at one time or another, felt the same way. But we committed, we trained, we started and we finished the toughest triathlon there is: an Ironman triathlon.

No matter where in the world you race, getting to the Ironman finish line is special. We've shared the experience, we've conquered it. Nothing was easy, it was often tougher than expected, and without question, it was worth it to be a proud member of an triathlon's most exclusive club: Ironman finisher.

Feel free tContact us with questions or comments.

-- Raymond Britt, 29-time Ironman finisher.