Finishers and Finish Times by Division 1997 to 2011
Ironman Canada’s number of finishers grew by 64 per cent in this 15-year period, an average of four per cent per year, from 1,584 to 2,598.
Two important distinctions to be aware of, and this is true of nearly all Ironman events:
1. ATHLETES WHO DID NOT START (DNS): For a variety of reasons, those who sign up do not actually race. In the late 1990s, the DNS rate in Canada was around seven per cent to 10 per cent. As the rage began to grow by well over 100 per year, many of the new triathletes may have been less motivated, experienced, injured, or ready to race, choosing to opt out. For whatever reason, by the mid-2000s, the DNS rate rose to 16 per cent to 20 per cent
2. ATHLETES WHO STARTED BUT DID NOT FINISH (DNF): Between three per cent and five per cent of those who race do not finish. That explains the difference between Entrants and Finishers.
The chart below, of Ironman Canada
Finishers 1997 to 2011, is roughly parallel to the number of Entrants. For example, in 2011, the number of Entrants – those whose paid registration guaranteed participation in the
race – was in the 3,250 range. Considering the fairly normal 16 per cent to 20 per cent that did not start (418) and the actual 234 that did not finish, the result is 2,598 finishers within the 17-hour cut-off time.
As we’ve said, every Ironman will have some per centage of athletes who are not able to finish, due to a variety of factors, from injuries to mechanical failure, to dehydration, to plain exhaustion, to weather conditions.
Every year is a different story. This chart presents Ironman Canada Penticton finishers (blue bars, same data as in the previous green line chart). This chart adds the actual DNF data in red for each race 1997 to 2011.
While most numbers are relatively consistent with predicted DNFs, two years are worth noting: 1998 and 2008. Both are outliers that fall into the category of divergence from the rest due to conditions. In 1998, a race I had the pleasure to experience, the temperatures were so hot that we were told 200 athletes ended up in the medical tent, or on in the hospital for overnight observation. That’s why you see a 250 DNF.
The 2008 race almost didn’t happen as an out of control brush fire stormed far and wide, mile after mile toward Penticton. Athletes were given the option to skip the race rather than endure the thick smoke that was soon to envelop the area. Only 2,210 athletes started the event, with 147 DNF, but it’s fairly certain that the DNF number would have been much higher among those who chose not to race.
1,584 1,469 2,062