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Fri 6th Dec 2019
Luke Mckenzie: 'career day' in numbers
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Monday 7th December 2015

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An interesting statistic from Luke McKenzie's Ironman Western Australia domination...

As I've reported separately, the performance of Australia's Luke McKenzie in winning Ironman Western Australia in Busselton on Sunday really was, in my opinion, something very special. It was also, according to the man himself, his best ever performance:

"I said to Beth, I'm in really good form and I really want to break eight hours here. To break eight hours and to be the fastest man on Australian soil ever... I don't think I've got anything better than that, I think that's my career day.

"It's a huge goal in the sport to go under eight hours and to go 7:55... I'm just so happy I can retire with a Sub-8 to my name. Every person on that last lap (of the run) was just shouting 'come on, eight hours!' The positive vibes just kept me going. I was hurting so bad but I wanted to go under eight hours even more."

Let's just recap some of the highlights:

  • Luke won the race in a time of 7:55:58, for a winning margin of more than 20 minutes over 2014 champion Denis Chevrot (FRA).
  • He smashed the previous course record of 8:03:55 (Jason Shortis, 2006), by almost eight minutes
  • In breaking the eight hour mark for the first time, Luke becomes the 33rd man to join the Sub-8 Club listing.
  • It was the fastest Ironman ever on Australian soil.
  • It's a new Australian Ironman record, improving on the 7:57:44 of Craig Alexander at Ironman Melbourne 2012.
  • His bike split was 4:08:12, that's the fourth fastest iron-distance bike split ever - the fastest three times are all from Andrew Starykowicz.
  • The previous Busselton bike course record was 4:18:07 by Mitchell Anderson from 2006.

>>> Related article: Men's all-time Sub-8 hour iron-distance archive

>>> Related article: Women's all-time Sub-9 hour iron-distance archive

One interesting statistic worthy of note...

Ok, so lots of statistics above and all very impressive stuff. But, there is another one which, in my opinion, also helps to highlight Luke's own description of Ironman Western Australia being his 'career' day.

That is only the second time in the last ten years than the first Pro man has broken the eight hour mark, but the first Pro woman has NOT finished in under nine hours in an iron-distance race

Some context here. As of 6th December 2015:

Total all-time finishes Sub-8 (Men) / Sub-9 (Women)
Number of athletes all-time Sub-8 (Men) / Sub-9 (Women)
Total number of 2015 finishes, Sub-8 (Men) / Sub 9 (Women)
World Best time

Basically, a Sub-8 hour finish for a man is, relatively, a tougher proposition than a Sub-9 hour iron-distance finish for a women. That is reflected in the numbers above, and is simply the impact of using 'round' numbers when compiling this type of data.

The last time that we saw a male Pro win in under eight hours, but the leading woman NOT break nine hours in the same race was Ironman Austria in 2010, when Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) recorded 7:52:05 at Ironman Austria, Klagenfurt, his first time with a 7:XX finish. The women's winner that day was Eva Dollinger in a relatively modest, by Klagenfurt standards, 9:18:50.

It's a strange statistic in some ways, being totally dependent on who races in the woman's Pro field of course, but the fact that it has only happened twice in ten years does help add extra weight to a relative assessment of Luke's performance. While the women's Pro field in Busselton was a small one, bear in mind that race winner Sarah Piampiano finished seventh in Kona this year - she is a class act - while third placed Yvonne Van Vlerken, albeit impacted by food-poisoning, has more Sub-9 finishes than anyone else in history.

However you look at it, that was a stunning performance Luke McKenzie. Congratulations.

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Have Your Say
Re: Luke Mckenzie: 'career day' in numbers
Posted by Steve Lumley
Posted at 13:53:09 8th Dec 2015
Reply to this

It was also exceptionally windy this year at IMWA which may explain the relatively slow women's race but also makes Luke Mackenzies performance even better. FYI Lauren McGregor (uk) was first women's AG and fifth overall...
Re: Luke Mckenzie: 'career day' in numbers
Posted by Editor
Posted at 14:03:20 8th Dec 2015
Reply to this

Thanks Steve - cracking result from Lauren!