Triathlon Legends Mark Allen and Dave Scott Discuss The Epic 1989 Ironwar

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By Brad Kearns. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

What a great honor to connect with two legends of triathlon on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the greatest triathlon race of all time and what many observers call the greatest endurance competition of all time.

That’s the 1989 “Ironwar,” where Mark Allen and Dave Scott battled for the Hawaii Ironman world championship title, side-by-side for eight hours, before Mark pulled away to achieve his long-awaited first victory in Hawaii. The race was special for so many reasons: First, it was a transcendent performance that has stood for 30 years. The times of 8:09 and 8:10 shattered the previous world record by 20 minutes. Third place Greg Welch and the rest of the world’s elite were 23 minutes+ behind the duo in front—two athletes at the very top of their game pushing each other to the best performances of their lives. Even today, no pro has bested the six-minute per mile pace these two held across the steamy hot lava fields of Kona on the heels of swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112 miles.

Second, the confluence of career arc’s made for high drama. Allen was the undisputed #1 triathlete in the world, virtually unbeatable at all distances from the Olympic distance circuit, to his 10 for 10 domination of the world long course championships in Nice, France. However, he was definitely cursed in Hawaii, with a string of mistakes and misfortunes keeping him from the victory that was the single void in his career accomplishments. Dave on the other hand was the King of Kona—six victories, many busting his own previous world record time and setting a superhuman standard for peaking on demand and performing in the extreme heat of Kona. By 1989 however, Dave seemed to be at the tail end of his career, was not racing much on the world circuit, and missed the 1988 Ironman due to injury. The pressure on both athletes to come through on the big day was enormous.

Thanks to an ambitious project by the Scott Zagarino Agency, the story of 1989 is being told in more detail than ever before. Check out the website 1989TheStory.com for a serial publication of articles from Mark and Dave about all things relating to the big race and their career and personal challenges at the time. Thirty years is sufficient time for reflection and perspective, and Mark and Dave each offer vulnerable and revealing insights about the psyche of a champion athlete and the challenges and pressures relating to performing on the world stage and pushing the limits of human endurance. If you are a triathlon enthusiast, this will be a huge treat. But even if you’ve never heard of these two senior citizens, the insights they share have a powerful application to all manner of peak performance goals, and striking the delicate balance between competing hard and achieving goals, and trying to remain healthy and balanced along the way.

TIMESTAMPS:

Legends Mark Allen and Dave Scott connect on the eve of the Hawaii Ironman to talk about their Iron war in 1989. [03:36]

Are they still enjoying their incredible story of thirty years ago? [13:20]

They have many stories to tell of the experience. [15:32]

1989 was about a race but it was also about life. [30:57]

You may as well be yourself; everybody else is taken. [39:41]

In the old days, there were fewer “tools” with which to measure how you were doing. [41:43]

Slow down to go faster. [47:10]

How are they handling the memories of the big “Iron war?” [58:11]

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