Ironwoman? More Women Are Doing Ironman Races…And They’re Getting Faster

Girl power. From 2012 to 2017, women went from 33.1% to 43.6% of all Ironman finishers, and their average time dropped 16 full minutes from 13:08 to 12:52. Men’s average finishing times actually rose slightly over this time-frame, from 12:30 to 12:35.

Among half-Ironman races, women went from 39.2% to 45.5% of all finishers. Each gender’s average half-Ironman finishing time rose, women’s from 5:55 to 6:07 and men’s from 5:47 to 6:00.

A logical follow-up question you may have is: where are these gains being made? Are they equal across all age groups, or are women of a specific age participating more often? Check this out:


(Age groups outside this 15-74 were omitted for lack of data.)

You can see above that gains in female participation were made in every age group. Many levels have steadily crept up to over 40% in 2017, whereas in 2012 none of them were even close to that marker. It also appears that the most under-represented groups (15-19 and 60-64) have quickly caught up to their older and younger peers.

There also have been many women’s only triathlons that have cropped up in the past few years. In addition, websites such as Women For Tri and Witsup are posting such women-focused articles as Build Better Body Confidence and Cycling Can Be A Pain In The Vagina. I’ll take their word for it, but it’s undoubtedly an extremely positive direction to have these online resources becoming more available to women triathletes everywhere.

In the dead-tree realm, books like The Woman Triathlete, Women Who Tri: A Reluctant Athlete’s Journey Into the Heart of America’s Newest Obsession, and IronFit Triathlon Training for Women have been published to serve this growing market.

If you’re interested, this blog has also addressed the break-down of triathlete genders by state, and we’ve also addressed how aging affects each gender in triathlon performance.

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