Book Review – Iron War – Dave Scott, Mark Allen & the Greatest Race Ever Run
By Matt Fitzgerald
This book chronicles the epic battle that took place at the Ironman World Championships in 1989 between Dave Scott and Mark Allen.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this book. This battle was well before I got into racing triathlons, and I honestly thought that perhaps there was too big of a time gap between then and now for it to interest me. In hindsight, that thinking was D-U-M-B.
First, the author’s writing is very, very good. His style is easy to read, and flows easily. The book reads like a Hollywood movie. Drama, suspense, agony… it’s all in there. The photos in the book are awesome as well.
The actual race day events could probably be told in just a few chapters. But Matt Fitzgerald does a great job of building the characters up slowly, allowing you to relate easily to their accomplishments and setbacks. Iron War does a great job describing each athlete’s upbringing and path in life that helps you understand how someone can push themselves so hard for so long in the Ironman World Championships.
Outside of the actually race day story, there are a few chapters that go into the psychology and running efficiencies of Ironman athletes. The running efficiences section was especially interesting as it helped me understand the extreme physical deterioration that occurs in the last section of an Ironman. It wasn’t really new information to me, but it was like a wise teacher explaining it to me in a way I could understand better. I learned a lot through these chapters.
I think this will be most liked by fellow triathletes, especially IM participants and fans. However, the author has written such a great book, I’m recommending it to my father. It might just help him understand why I race Ironman!
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