Not All Ironman Races Are Created Equal

I’m an Engineer, so by nature, I’m a stats-geek (actually I’m just a geek in general). I recently came across a website that does an awesome comparison of all Ironman traithlon races. They also compare half and full marathon’s if you are interested in those results. The website is

RunTri analyzed 25 Ironman distance races and came up with tons of information. First and foremost, which race is the hardest? The top 5 are Kona (World Championship), St. George, Wisconson, Malaysia and Louisville. Yes, you read that correctly…the race that I’m doing in August is one of the five hardest in the world! What have a gotten myself into?!?!

Here’s a chart showing the average 2010  finish times for each Ironman:

As you can see, the Louisville Ironman ranks right up there with an average finish time of 13 hours and 14 minutes. So how does this time break down on each leg of the race? There’s a chart for that too:

It’s hard to see from the chart, but the the Louisville swim ranks 2nd toughest behind only Malaysia with an average time of 1 hour and 25 minutes. The bike portion was more middle of the road, ranking 10th with a time of 6:26. The run ranked 4th most difficult with an average finish time of 5:07.

Another factor that they looked at was how many DNF’s each race had. If you have done any triathlon’s, you probably know what “DNF” stands for…it’s Did Not Finish! These initials send fear through my body just typing them. Lots of things can cause you to get a DNF, from a mechanical failure on the bike, to missing the cut-off times for each leg, to your body just physically shutting-down (yes, this happens a lot in Ironman races).

So here’s the chart showing each race and the number of participants that finished and the number of DNF’s.

So as you can see, the Louisville Ironman had by far the highest percentage of DNF’s at 16%. Almost 400 people that started out the day intending to be celebrating at the finish line never made it there. Yes, that is scary!

So does all of this new info make me nervous? I can honestly say that it doesn’t. I know myself, and I know that I’m going to train as hard as possible and baring an injury will stick to my training plan for the next 197 days. I have all the confidence in the world that the training plan I’m on will have me ready come race day.

I shared all of this information with you so that you will be even more impressed when I cross that finish line in August! ;)

2/8/11: Bike -High speed drills – 9 x 60 sec superfast spins in the saddle (19.5 miles in 1:00)
2/8/11: Swim – Alternating easy with hard laps (1100yd in 23:00)
2/9/11: Swim – TrainSmart Group Swim – focus on hard intervals (2750yd in 1:07:18)
2/10/11: Bike – Big Gear Climbs at low cadence, seated (16 miles in 1:01)
2/10/11: Swim – 4 x 400yd at endurance pace (1728yd in 35:37) 
2/11/11: Bike – Aerobic Zone Ride (27 miles in 1:30)

One Response to “Not All Ironman Races Are Created Equal”

  1. Matthew Smith February 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM #

    Wow, Luke. That’s intimidating! But, with your hard work, you’re not going to have any trouble. Keep it up!


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