Lessons of Iron War: Why Competition Brings Out the Best in Us

The duel between triathlon legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen at the 1989 Ironman® World Championship is remembered as one of the greatest races in the history of endurance sports. In that race the longtime rivals swam, biked, and ran neck and neck for eight full hours until, with 1.7 miles left in the 140.6-mile competition, Allen broke away from Scott on the last hill to claim his first Ironman victory after six failures and five losses to Scott.

The battle caused so much excitement as it unfolded that a caravan of trucks, cars, motorcycles, mopeds, and bikes that was almost a quarter-mile in length formed behind Scott and Allen as the rivals scorched the marathon side by side. Among those in the caravan was Bob Babbitt, the 38-year-old publisher of Competitor magazine, who dubbed the epic battle “Iron War” in the next issue of his publication. The name stuck.

Research in exercise science has demonstrated that human beings are able to perform at a significantly higher level in sports activities when in group situations than they can when alone. For example, in a study conducted at Arizona State University, subjects were able to lift 11 percent more weight when they conducted a maximal weightlifting test in a competitive group situation than when they were asked to perform the same test without company.

Read the full article “Lessons of Iron War: The Competition Effect” on Triathlete magazine’s website.

Download the first chapter of Iron War free!

IIron Warron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run
Matt Fitzgerald
Hardcover with jacket, color photosections
6″ x 9″, 320 pp., $25.95, 978-1-934030-77-6
Available now in bookstores, triathlon shops, and online.

Advertisements

About davetrendler

Dave Trendler works for VeloPress, the leading publisher of books about endurance sports. Check out new VeloPress books on cycling, triathlon, and running at www.velopress.com. Learn more about Dave at www.davetrendler.com.
This entry was posted in Triathlon History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s