Review: Fitzgerald’s Iron War

Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run
Matt Fitzgerald

In 1989 Mark Allen and Dave Scott, two of the greatest triathletes of all time, competed in what is still the closest, and my all measures, greatest Ironman world championship. This book is the story of those men, that race, and the early days of triathlon. It is also one of the best books on endurance sports I have ever read.

Sure you get the story of the 89 Kona world championships, and the backstory on two of the most fascinating endurance athletes of all time (Scott, hyperactive, incredibly driven, old school; Allen, innovative, spiritual, haunted) but you also get so much of the history of the sport, the physiology (and psychology) behind elite performance, and some thoughtful ruminations on what it means to be an aging elite athlete.

If you’re interested in endurance sports, whatever they may be, this is a book for you. Hell, even if you’re just interested in what it takes for fascinating people to be the best in the world at what they do, you’ll find this one interesting. Very pleased I took the time to read this one.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Friday Video: The 1991 Ironman world Championships

Some dude on youtube has posted a bunch of old videos of NBC’s coverage of the Ironman world championships in Kona. Being a bit obsessive, I’ve started watching them in order during my Wednesday night treadmill tempo runs. Here’s the 1991 edition with Mark Allen, Paula Newby Fraiser and John Tesh narrating!

1991 was smack in the middle of Allen and Newby-Fraiser’s dominance of the sport, making this not much of a race by halfway through the run. Still, its fascinating to look back at the steel bikes and lack of wetsuits. So much has changed, yet the distance, and the challenge of finishing it, has stayed the same.