How to Qualify for Nice in 2024

Joshua Gordon, PhD


This article serves as a continuation of 'How to Qualify for Kona in 2024.' For insights specifically tailored to men, you can refer to the original piece at here:




This analysis reveals the most effective strategies for qualifying for the Women's IRONMAN World Championship in Nice, France. While IRONMAN events such as IRONMAN Texas and IRONMAN Lake Placid offer a larger number of qualification slots, they also attract the highest number of entrants, leading to more intense competition. Thus, IRONMAN Lanzarote, IRONMAN Philippines, and IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz present the best odds for female qualification, thanks to a more favorable slot-to-participant ratio, which statistically increases the chances of securing a spot.


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Nice: Triathlon's New Crown Jewel Awaits Women Champions


On the sun-kissed French Riviera, Ironman history is rewritten. The 2024 VinFast IRONMAN® World Championship in Nice welcomes women for the first time, offering European athletes a historic home turf advantage. But Nice beckons not just for its sun and glamor; its legendary hills test champions' mettle, demanding versatility beyond Kona's lava fields. 


In September 2023, Nice witnessed a spectacle of human grit and determination as elite men tackled the Ironman course bathed in Provençal sunshine. The azure waters of the Bay of Angels gave way to a brutal climb through the Col de Vence, testing even the most seasoned pros. Wind howled through the valleys, adding an unpredictable element to the already-grueling bike leg. And as exhaustion set in on the sun-baked run, every stride pushed athletes towards their limits, etching their names in the Nice Ironman lore.


Now, the baton of challenge passes to the women in September 2024, who get their turn to conquer this storied course. Can they rewrite the legend of Nice with their own brand of strength and resilience? Will the Mediterranean sun witness new records fall under the tireless wheels of seasoned champions or the surprise attack of an emerging star? The stage is set, and the world watches in anticipation, eager to see the next chapter of Iron-willed determination unfold in the heart of the French Riviera. This is where triathlon ascends. Prepare to witness women claim their crowns, etching their names on the Nice podium and defining a new era of champions.


Click here for Age Group specific analysis




The Ironman World Championship in Nice beckons. But securing a coveted slot is a strategic puzzle shrouded in numbers. Fear not, aspiring triathlete, for this blog unveils the key. We'll dive deep into the data, analyzing past performances and dissecting Ironman's official 2024 slot allocations. Forget guesswork; we'll employ a two-pronged attack:

  • Quantify the prize: We'll tally the slots offered by each qualifying race, creating a clear picture of potential bounty.

  • Measure the gauntlet: We'll analyze the competition intensity, a unique "slot-to-participant ratio" that lets you compare races fairly across diverse age groups and starting lines.


For each age group, we'll rank the races based on their "Nice-ness" – your statistical likelihood of nabbing a slot. We'll uncover the golden tickets – races overflowing with opportunities – and shed light on the battlegrounds where the competition may be like a rough ocean, but you can ride the waves and reach your shores. But this isn't just about cold calculations, we'll translate the data into actionable insights for your strategic game plan. No matter your triathlon experience, this blog empowers you to navigate the intricate tapestry of qualifying for Nice. Whether you're a seasoned veteran eyeing another shot at glory or a rookie yearning to etch your name on the world stage, the data-driven insights here are your weapons.


Data Summary


To estimate the slot allocation, we utilized a dataset covering the years 2015 to 2023. This dataset includes:

  • A total of 82,504 female finish times

  • Participation across 300 events.

  • Unique Finishers: There are at least 49,745 unique female competitors (as some might have the same name, this figure is a lower bound).

  •  The USA emerges as a dominant participant with 37,115 athletes, followed by Great Britain and Canada, with respective counts of 6,200 and 4,604. 


The preeminent IRONMAN races for women, distinguished by their allocation of Nice slots, include Texas, offering an impressive 50 slots, followed closely by Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Lake Placid, each bestowing 40 coveted slots to the fortunate competitors. Across the races listed below, a total of 500 Nice slots are available, spanning from March 2, 2024, to August 18, 2024.

kona slots available

After excluding data from 2015 (due to partial year records), as well as 2020 and 2021 (the Covid-19 pandemic years), and focusing specifically on the 17 races that will offer female Nice slots in 2024, the refined dataset for male finishers is detailed in the table below (sorted low to high).

historical finisher statistics

When it comes to female participation in IRONMAN events, the playing field isn't level. Dive into the data from 2016 to 2023, and you'll find two destinations drawing fierce women like moths to a flame: Lake Placid and Texas. These races boast an average of 536 and 519 female finishers, respectively, electrifying the course with their grit and camaraderie. But not every IRONMAN buzzes with the same energy. On the other end of the spectrum lie Lanzarote and the Philippines, with an average of just 98 and 60 female finishers. 


Overview Analysis: Slot Availability Versus Historical Finisher Data


In this section, we present a high-level analysis that focuses solely on the ratio of available slots to participants, setting aside age group considerations. The table below illustrates the most favorable slot-to-participant ratios based on historical data:


This fundamental analysis reveals that the most favorable races for Nice 2024 qualification are IRONMAN Lanzarote, IRONMAN Philippines, and IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz. Each offers a slot-to-participant ratio greater than 0.20, equating to more than a 1 in 5 chance of securing a slot, based on average participant numbers per event. It's important to note that these figures are point estimates derived from historical data and actual participant numbers may vary.


Graphical Analysis


Graphical representations are an effective way to simplify and interpret complex data. Visuals allow for the data's core message to be quickly and easily grasped compared to traditional tables and raw figures.


The image below includes two graphs. On the left, we see a graph labeled "Nice Slots by Event 2024", which outlines the total number of qualification spots available for each listed event. On the right, there is a graph titled "Estimated Overall Nice Slot-to-Participant Ratio". This graph offers a calculated ratio of available spots to the number of participants for each event, delivering insight into the probability of an athlete obtaining a slot based on historical data.


overall slots

Nice Slots by Ironman Event 2024


From these visuals, we can discern that certain events provide more qualification spots, possibly implying a better chance for qualification. Yet, the graph on the right gives us a deeper understanding by also considering the number of participants. For instance, the IRONMAN event in Texas and Lake Placid have a considerable number of slots, but when we look at the slot-to-participant ratio, they are relatively low when compared to events in Lanzarote, Philippines, and Vitoria-Gasteiz, which suggests stiffer competition in Texas and Lake-Placid (519 and 536 female finishers) due to a larger number of athletes. Conversely, events in  Lanzarote, Philippines, and Vitoria-Gasteiz, exhibit higher slot-to-participant ratios, indicating statistically better odds for qualification.


For athletes aiming for the Nice World Championship, this analysis can be invaluable. It moves past just identifying the events with the most slots and highlights where historical trends offer a better chance of securing a spot. This underscores an important point: while the sheer number of available slots matters, the size of the competitor field is equally crucial when pinpointing the most advantageous events for qualification.


Age Group Analysis


The general analysis provides valuable insights at a glance, but for athletes seeking a more tailored understanding of their qualification prospects, I suggest delving into the data specific to your age group for a detailed evaluation.


The analysis section utilizes historical data to provide a refined estimate of Nice slot distributions across age groups. For instance, let's examine the case of Ironman Texas shown in the table below. Here's a breakdown of the finishers by age group: 15.5% fall within the F35-39 bracket, and 21.6% are within the F40-45 category. These percentages are critical in projecting the allocation of slots.


Ironman Texas Age Group Breakdown

IMTX female finisher distribution

F35-39 Example


In the provided Age Group chart, a new element—the error bar—adds a layer of depth to our understanding. The central data point (black dot) on both charts represents the estimated slot allocation for each age group after distributing one guaranteed slot per group. In the case of Ironman Texas, this leaves 38 slots available (50 total minus 12 guaranteed slots - 1 for each age group) to be apportioned among the age groups based on their historical finisher proportions. For the F35-39 group, this calculation would be 15.5% of 38 slots, resulting in an additional 5.90 slots, summed up with the guaranteed slot to 6.90 slots. This figure is denoted by the black dot on the left graph.


The error bars symbolize the range within which the actual number of slots is likely to fall—between 6 and 7 for the F35-39 category, with 6.90 being the expected number. On the right chart, the error bar mirrors this approach, depicting the potential fluctuation in the slot-to-participant ratio. The dot indicates the most probable ratio based on the expected number of slots, while the error bar reflects the variance if either 6 or 7 slots were to be allocated.


This graphical representation not only offers precise slot estimations but also visually communicates the possible variations, providing a clearer and more comprehensive view of the qualifying landscape for athletes in the F35 category.


F35-39 Estimated Nice Slots 2024

F35-39 Estimated Nice Slots 2024


Here's how to analyze each each plot:


Left Plot - Estimated Nice Slots by Event for 2024 Total

  • This plot shows the estimated number of Nice slots available for the age group across various events.

  • The horizontal axis represents the number of KoNicena slots for this age group

  • The events are listed on the vertical axis, including locations like Vitoria-Gasteiz, Texas, Switzerland, etc.

  • Each bar starts at zero on the left and extends to the right to indicate the number of slots. The length of the bar represents the estimated total number of slots for that particular event


Right Plot - Estimated Nice Slots by Event 2024 Normalized by Avg Number of Participants

  • This plot adjusts the number of Nice slots by the average number of participants in the age group historically to give a normalized view of slot distribution.

  • The horizontal axis now represents the Nice slot-to-participant ratio (bigger means a better chance for you!)

  • This normalized perspective allows for comparison of how many slots are available per participant, which is a fairer way to evaluate the chance of qualifying across different events. An event with a higher ratio offers a better chance of qualification per participant.


Other Considerations:


Rolldown Strategy: Anticipate the unexpected during the rolldown ceremony, much like a poker player holding out for a game-changing hand. There’s always a chance that top qualifiers will withdraw, presenting opportunities for those who stay alert to claim their spot at the last minute.


Financial Prep for Nice: Securing a spot in Nice requires more than physical endurance; it involves financial investment too. Expenses for training, travel, equipment, and entry fees add up quickly. 


Strategic Race Selection: Instead of rushing to enter early-season events, consider targeting later ones. Many top-tier competitors secure their slots early, which can mean less competition and better odds for you in the races closer to the end of the season. 


Holistic Approach to Training: Preparing for Nice is a grueling process that demands more than just physical strength—it's a test of mental and social resilience. Make sure to nurture your support networks and maintain a healthy balance in your life. 


Keep in mind, statistics provide a foundation, but your journey to Nice is multifaceted. It calls for flexibility,  well-timed decisions, and equilibrium in life. When you excel in these areas, the path to the World Championship becomes more than a mere competition; it transforms into a well-orchestrated victory.


Never done a 140.6 and not sure how you will perform?  Check out my blog on estimating your finishing time from a 70.3 here: 


Want to get the most of your training by nailing your pre race nutrition, check out my blog on carb loading for Ironmans here:


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F18 Estimated Nice Slots 2024




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