A comparison of participation and performance in age group finishers competing in and qualifying for Ironman Hawaii
Received 11 November 2012
Accepted for publication 27 December 2012
Published 22 February 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 67—77
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 3
Michael Stiefel,1 Christoph Alexander Rüst,1 Thomas Rosemann,1 Beat Knechtle2
1Institute of General Practice and for Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, 2Gesundheitszentrum St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland
Background: Athletes intending to compete in Ironman Hawaii need to qualify in an age-group based qualification system. We compared participation and top ten performances of athletes in various age groups between Ironman Hawaii and its qualifier races.
Methods: Finishes in Ironman Hawaii and in its qualifier races in 2010 were analyzed in terms of performance, age, and sex. Athletes were categorized into age groups from 18–24 to 75–79 years and split and race times were determined for the top ten athletes in each age group.
Results: A higher proportion of athletes aged 25–49 years finished in the qualifier races than in Ironman Hawaii. In athletes aged 18–24 and 50–79 years, the percentage of finishes was higher in Ironman Hawaii than in the qualifier races. For women, the fastest race times were slower in Ironman Hawaii than in the qualifier races for those aged 18–24 (P < 0.001), 25–29 (P < 0.05), and 60–64 (P < 0.05) years. Swim split times were slower in Ironman Hawaii than in the qualifier races for all age groups (P < 0.05). Cycling times were slower in Ironman Hawaii for 18–24, 25–29, 40–44, 50–54, and 60–64 years (P < 0.05) in age groups. For men, finishers aged 18–24 (P < 0.001), 40–44 (P < 0.001), 50–54 (P < 0.01), 55–59 (P < 0.001), 60–64 (P < 0.01), and 65–69 (P < 0.001) years were slower in Ironman Hawaii than in the qualifier races. Swim split times were slower in Ironman Hawaii than in the qualifier races for all age groups (P < 0.05). Cycling times were slower in Ironman Hawaii for those aged 18–24 and those aged 40 years and older (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: There are differences in terms of participation and performance for athletes in different age groups between Ironman Hawaii and its qualifier races. Triathletes aged 25–49 years and men generally were underrepresented in Ironman Hawaii compared with in its Ironman qualifier races. These athletes may have had less chance to qualify for Ironman Hawaii than female athletes or younger (<25 years) and older (>50 years) athletes.
Keywords: triathlon, ultra-endurance, swimming, cycling, running
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