In this feature we look closer at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and how the top 25 male and female Pros did in the event over the last 5 years. There has been a heated discussion on Twitter as to what is fair and equal in terms of total number of Pros on the pier. Some people argued that there there are almost twice as many male Pros registered (618 men compared to 336 women) and thus the roughly 50 to 35 slot distribution would seem to be fair. But as we know, for every discussion point there is a quick counter one. There has been also an argument made about depth of field differences, and that is why we wanted to look closer at some data. We compared 1st, 10th and 25th place over the last 5 years, and that allows you to gather your own thoughts. Plus we listed where they finished overall in their gender. The main comparison is how far apart is 1st place from 10th and 25th place among the Pros. The addition of amateurs is used so you can see who will might try to get to the Pro side before too long or has already done so.
53 male Pros started and 41 finished in 2013, and on the female side 35 Pros started and 27 of them finished.
Top male Pro: Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:12:29
10th placed male Pro: Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:31:13
25th placed male Pro: Per Bittner (GER) 8:53:38
Age groupers Kyle Buckingham (RSA) now a Pro, Christian Müller (GER), Sam Gyde (BEL), Daniel Stubleski (USA), Clay Emge (USA) now a Pro, Klemen Rojnik (SLO) and Matt Trautman (RSA) finished overall among the men between 16th and 30th place.
Top female Pro: Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 8:52:14
10th placed female Pro: Linsey Corbin (USA) 9:17:22
25th placed female Pro: Mijam Weerd (NED) 10:00:17
Age groupers Katherine Faux (GBR), Stefanie Adam (BEL) now a Pro, Jessica Fleming (AUS), Astrid Ganzow (GER), Susanne Davis (USA), Alison Rowatt (GBR), Kathryn Thomas (USA), Tracy Cook (GBR), Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS), Hanneke De Boer (NED), Michelle Andres (USA), Amy Farrell (USA), Sonja Gerster (SUI), Sonja Wieck (USA), Vanessa Murray (NZL), Sarah Graves (USA), Leslie Dimichele (USA), Darbi Roberts (USA), Verena Walter (GER), Haley Manning (USA) and Carolina Dementiev (PAN) finished overall among the females between 10th and 47th place.
52 male pros started in 2012 and 39 of them finished. 31 female Pros started and 26 finished.
Top male Pro: Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:18:37
10th placed male Pro: Dirk Bockel (LUX) 8:36:21
25th placed male Pro: Michael Lovato (USA) 8:56:04
Only age grouper Christian Müller managed to break into the top 25 that year in 24th place overall among the men.
Top female Pro: Leanda Cave (GBR) 9:15:54
10th placed female Pro: Amy Marsh (USA) 9:38:15
25th placed female Pro: Sofie Goos (BEL) 10:14:39
Age groupers Hilary Wicks (NZL), Danielle Kehoe (USA), Catherine Faux (GBR), Stefanie Adam (BEL), Kym Jaenke (AUS), Katrin Esefeld (GER), Christina Jackson (USA), Haley Chura (USA), Sheile Croft (CAN), Shiao Yu Li (TWN), Ali Black (USA), Kathryn Parkinson (AUS), Janine Willis (CAN) and Amy McGrath (USA) finished between 17th and 38th place overall among all females.
51 male Pros started and 35 finished. 33 female Pros started and 26 finished.
Top male Pro: Craig Alexander (AUS) 8:03:56
10th placed male Pro: Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:27:18
25th placed male Pro: Jan Raphael (GER) 8:48:44
No male age grouper broke into the overall top 25 that year. Dutch Bas Diederen (now a Pro) was 26th overall.
Top female Pro: Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:55:08
10th placed female Pro: Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 9:15:52
25th placed female Pro: Maki Nishiuchi (JAP) 10:36:33
24th placed Heleen Bij De Vaate and 25th place Maki Nishiuchi finished 91st and 92nd among all female starters. Beate Görtz (GER) was the first age grouper in 15th place overall among the females and was among 67 other age groups inside the top 25 female Pros, or better said between the 15th and 25th placed female Pros.
64 male and 50 female Pros were at the start in 2010. 55 male Pros finished and so did 40 females.
Top male Pro: Chris McCormack (AUS) 8:10:37
10th placed male Pro: Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:24:04
25th placed male Pro: Courtney Ogden (AUS) 8:42:11
French age grouper Trevor Delsaut broke into the top 25 overall with a time of 8:40:43 and that meant 22nd place overall.
Top female Pro: Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 8:58:36
10th placed female Pro: Leanda Cave (GBR) 9:27:42
25th placed female Pro: Irene Kinnegim (NED) 10:03:33
Kiwi age grouper Belinda Harper had a 9:44:19 and that gave her 21st overall place. Susanne Davis (USA), Nina Pekerman (ISR), Silvia Felt (GER), Claudia Johnston (CAN), Rhae Shaw (USA), Shiao Yu Li (TWN), Lucy Gossage (GBR), Lisbeth Kenyon (USA) and Beate Görtz (GER) also squeezed inside the top 25 overall females.
94 male and 51 female Pros were at the start that year. 76 males finished and 38 females did.
Top male Pro: Craig Alexander (AUS) 8:20:21
10th placed male Pro: Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:31:44
25th placed male Pro: Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:55:54
No age grouper managed to infiltrate the top overall 25 male positions in 2009, and German age grouper Christian Müller was best in 31st place among all men and 32nd overall with Chrissie Wellington in 23rd position.
Top female Pro: Chrissie Wellington (GBR) 8:54:02
10th placed female Pro: Tyler Stewart (USA) 9:42:41
25th placed female Pro: Monika Lehmann (SUI) 10:05:21
Fastest age grouper overall was Renee Nichols (AUS) with a 10:01:48 and 20th place overall female, and Rhae Shaw (USA) was the only other age grouper to break into the top 25 overall female spots with a 10:02:56 and 23rd position there.
Until 2009 the Pros took up a huge chunk of real estate on that Kona pier, and starting in 2010 the number was reduced. Many Pros simply did not belong there and with more and more new races offering Kona slots for age groupers space had to be found on the pier. With the change to KPR points system qualification for the big dance has hovered around 50 men and 35 women the last few years, plus there are some automatic qualifiers who take a few slots. The KPR system has been changed again for this year and it became clear that simply racing a ton of events won't automatically get you there. Iron glutton Petr Vabrousek is an example of someone who previously easily made the jump (last year he sat in 13th position) but he has not qualified this year. It is also rumored that even bigger changes are coming down the pike to ensure that truly the best will be there and not just those who race the most. One thing is for sure, the pier itself won't grow to handle more athletes, so something has to give.