2013 marks the running of the first planned 70.3 in New Zealand (Taupo Ironman 2012 was an unplanned 70.3). As the Asia Pacific Championships it drew a very strong elite field (better prizemoney than for doing the full Ironman in Taupo…) and a sizeable contingent of overseas competitors in the age groups too.
Because there is no history for the race to be able to compare year on year I’ve analysed the results with reference to performances from the Taupo and Tauranga Half Ironmans to give an indication of relative difficulty. I haven’t compared to the Rotorua Half as we all know that is much tougher.
On paper the course is fast:
- Sea swim
- Less than 400m of climbing on the ride and nice smooth roads
- Flat run
Unfortunately the 2013 edition was hindered by a 22.5km run and roads that were wet for much of the day. Given the technical nature of the course for both ride and run in the area near Transition the rain will have hampered speeds somewhat.
Comparison to Taupo Half
There were 99 Athletes who raced both the Taupo Half and the 70.3. I’ve taken their average splits in both events for this comparison. I’ve also taken the liberty of calculating Run and Overall times for a 21km course.
The Taupo Half Swim was slower than normal this year, and that put it behind the Auckland 70.3 Swim by an average of 95s. The long run in T1 at Taupo inflates that split by around 4mins.
The Taupo Ride averaged just over 1min slower than the Auckland 70.3 Ride. Likely thanks to the horrible road surface in Taupo.
Likewise the corrected average Run split – Taupo Half ~40s slower than Auckland 70.3.
So the headline difference in the corrected Overall times is 10minutes faster at Auckland 70.3 than Taupo Half (or 2mins if the long run course remains for Auckland 70.3).
Comparison to Tauranga Half
Same process as above, but with 112 Athletes to compare.
Tauranga Half has the edge on the Swim – nearly 2mins faster on average. Both Transitions at Tauranga are longer – adding a bit over a minute to the Overall.
Unsurprisingly – the Ride at Tauranga Half is faster than Auckland 70.3, but only by ~5mins.
And the corrected Run difference is less than minute, though in the favour of the Auckland 70.3/
For the corrected Overall Tauranga Half is only 3mins faster.
Normally I don’t remove the times of people that I know have had issues – for instance Cameron Brown punctured at the Auckland 70.3 and ran the last 3km of the bike leg as he was unable to repair it. Because I don’t know the circumstances of every individual in the race I figure that every event will have some bad luck stories and they’ll cancel out in the overall analysis. However – I was asked what happened to the numbers if I did take account of Camerons mishap and Graham O’Grady having a flat day (which might be related to having done Tauranga Half 2 weeks prior so I would usually leave that interdependent effect in the analysis) and remove any other weird comparisons.
As you can see the numbers for the Tauranga Half shift up a bit as two of the fastest athletes have been taken out the comparison. But overall the relationships between the races stay fairly similar as the sample sizes are large enough to be fairly resistant to outlier effects. And I find swings of 15% in times for individuals whose identity I can verify (having people with the same name can be a problem) so the outlier criteria are fairly loose.