An analysis of participation and performance by nationality at ‘Ironman Switzerland’ from 1995 to 2011

Dennis Jürgens, Beat Knechtle, Christoph Alexander Rüst, Patrizia Knechtle, Thomas Rosemann, Romuald Lepers


Triathlon, in particular the ‘Ironman’ distance, has become very popular in the field of ultra-endurance sports. The aim of the present study was to analyse the participation and performances at the ‘Ironman Switzerland’ in Zurich, Switzerland, regarding the nationality of the participants. Nationalities and performances of 21,399 athletes, originating from exactly 100 countries and competing between 1995 and 2011, were analysed. The mean total race times and changes across the years of the top ten athletes overall and of each country for both women and men triathletes were analysed using linear regression analyses. In total, 90% of the participants in ‘Ironman Switzerland’ originated from European countries, with triathletes from Switzerland (31.9%) and Germany (18.9%) presenting the majority, followed by participants from Great Britain (11.2%), France (7.9%), Italy (5.3%), USA (4.7%), Spain (3.5%), Belgium (2.7%) and Austria (2.6%). Switzerland presented the fastest triathletes in both sexes followed by athletes from Germany. Behind these two leading nations, triathletes from countries such as France, Belgium, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and USA competed slower. To summarize, ‘Ironman Switzerland’ has been dominated by central European triathletes regarding participation and performance. Most of the participants and the fastest finishers came from Switzerland, followed by triathletes from Germany. To assess these results, future studies need to investigate the leading nations in ‘Ironman’ qualifying races all over the world for ‘Ironman Hawaii’ and in the ‘Ironman World Championship’ in Hawaii.


country; nationality; ultra-endurance; triathlon; performance

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