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Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run Hardcover – September 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Captivating, animated, uniquely readable and downright thrilling. [Iron War] is a truly great read--and an ode to our sport with all its quirky characters and epic venues...It is absolutely comparable to Krakauer, Bowden (Blackhawk Down), or Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm)...Iron War is what we buy books for: Excitement, entertainment, information and inspiration." --

"A true page-turner about a too-little-known great moment in sports." -- Booklist (American Library Association)

"For any triathlete or endurance athlete, or anyone who wonders what it takes to be the best in sport, Iron War is an excellent read...Readers will come away with a very strong understanding and appreciation for two of the true legends of our well as a very clear look at the greatest race ever run." --

"Iron War really is a book that should be on your bookshelf if you have even the slightest interest in the sport of triathlon, but it also is a great read for anyone looking for inspiration in general." --

"Fitzgerald eases readers into the nuances of the sport, capturing imaginations with a satisfying study of two exceptional athletes and what makes them tick." -- ForeWord magazine

"Iron War is the very first time our sport has engaged in Krakauer-style journalism, where full-featured personalities are presented to readers without excuse, or pause, or an author's self-censorship. Iron War is Fitzgerald's Krakauer moment." --

"Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald recounts the fabled Ironman world championship battle between triathlete legends Dave Scott and Mark Allen. By the end of the story, [triathletes] will feel like [they] personally know the athletes, raced side-by-side with them, and understands the amazing contribution they made to the sport." --

"In his new book Iron War, Fitzgerald recounts in gripping detail the showdown between Mark Allen and Dave Scott. Iron War delves into the vastly different personalities and psyches of these two iconic athletes and presents an anatomy of mental toughness that both men shared." -- Triathlete magazine

"In an exhaustively researched book, Fitzgerald recreates the famous race between Dave Scott and Mark Allen in the 1989 Ironman World Championship....[Iron War] captures the strength of character of both athletes better than any other publication to date." --

"The real gems of [Iron War]...are the robust descriptions of the race itself: the pain and suffering, the strategy, the story arc. The telling of this story gives insight into the race far beyond what we could see on the ABC special...or on YouTube today. It's an insight that casual fans (and perhaps even athletes themselves) don't often get. And for that reason alone, [Iron War] was one I could not put down." -- TriMadness

From the Back Cover

October 14, 1989: The day of reckoning.

The six-time champion seeks to destroy his competition once and for all.

But his challenger knowshemust win the race that matters most.

Driven by one of the most intense two-man rivalries in sport, Dave Scott and Mark Allen faced off at the Ironman® World Championship to contest a race that would redefine the limits of human endurance. Shoulder to shoulder through a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race, and a 26.2-mile marathon, Scott and Allen battled at record pace for a grueling 139 miles. After 8 punishing hours, the margin of victory would be a mere 58 seconds.

Iron Waris the soaring narrative of how two champions—one a master of pure will, the other plagued by self-doubt—drove themselves and each other to push beyond all known boundaries of physical performance in one of the most awe-inspiring races in sports history.

October 14, 1989, marked the much-anticipated showdown between a pair of superhuman athletes at the height of their racing careers.

Dave Scott and Mark Allen fought many battles prior to the 1989 Ironman® World Championship in Hawaii. Six times before, the talented challenger Allen had come up short. Scott, a primal force from the dawn of triathlon, was a power to be reckoned with—a champion who in his Ironman debut finished more than an hour ahead of his competition. Allen's record was equally spectacular, yet while he was able to win races around the world, he repeatedly failed at the one that mattered most.

In the race that would become known as the Iron War, Scott and Allen raced side by side at world-record pace for a grueling 139 miles. Hordes of spectators lined the streets in the final 2.6 miles, drawn by the unfolding drama to witness one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of sports.

Sports journalist Matt Fitzgerald writes a riveting epic about the lives of two legendary rivals, each possessed by an unquenchable will to succeed. Beyond its compelling race narrative, Iron War is a fascinating exploration of how Allen and Scott became such driven athletes: one who fought his inner demons to become victorious and the other who was left unable to forgive his loss.

Hell-bent on achieving greatness, these two Ironman champions redefined the limits of endurance and mental toughness and forever transformed their sport.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: VeloPress (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934030775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934030776
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Fitzgerald is an award-winning endurance sports journalist and bestselling author of more than 20 books on running, triathlon, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss, including Brain Training for Runners and Racing Weight. His byline appears regularly in national publications including Men's Journal, Outside, and Women's Running. An experienced running and triathlon coach and certified sports nutritionist, Matt serves as a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports and as a featured coach on

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The short answer is that I found Iron War to be an eloquently written homage to two great athletes who really, truly put on one of the most extraordinary displays of gumption, grit, and competitive fire I have ever known. So meticulously wrought is the human dimension of this epic saga that I should think even non-athletes would find the story compelling and meaningful. The book offers depth along multiple dimensions, from rich background on the sport itself, to a controversial degree of detail about the lives and psychologies of the athletes, to some of the latest, greatest science about what makes a human being capable of such extraordinary effort. It is a feast of ideas as much as a gripping account of an extraordinary day.

I feel sad that the athletes themselves are so upset with this work; I myself simply cannot imagine how I could feel defamed by this beautiful tale, although I am sympathetic as to why public exposure of some very personal information would at least make someone uncomfortable-- after all, we human beings have a disturbing history of judging each other with little compassion for each others' foibles and flaws. The author certainly delves into the psychology and life history of these two men in lavish detail, but this for me serves to greatly enrich the story and leaves me with a deeper appreciation for Allen and Scott and what they accomplished. As much as they both may have strove for perfection and invulnerability, both men are nevertheless thoroughly human, warts and all. This only makes their achievements more inspiring, and I have come away from this book thinking more of them, not less.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Tom Demerly on October 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Matt Fitzgerald is a darn good writer, but even a good writer needs a great drama to produce something truly special, and Matt Fitzgerald has found an iconic duel to describe in "Iron War".

There has been some grumbling about Fitzgerald's characterizations of the protagonists in Iron War, Allen and Scott. Those two have had their say in letters to triathlon magazine editors bemoaning Fitzgerald's characterizations of them. While I am an unabashed fan of both Allen and Scott, I say no-foul with Fitzgerald's account. Drama IS good characters and good characters are quarky and unusual. It's the stuff of great drama but in the case of Iron Wars, its also part of who triathletes are; eccentric, self absorbed and usually pretty thin-skinned. Allen and Scott are no different, Fitzgerald's treatment isn't particularly rough-shod, it is more forensic than this sport is used to- and in that Fitzgerald breaks new, and needed, ground. Good.

For the majority of athletes who come into this sport in the last decade Fitzgerald gives us our "Perfect Storm", our "Into Thin Air" with an account of a pivotal moment in triathlon history between iconic characters. It's riveting stuff- if it doesn't speak to you then perhaps you should think about taking up golf.

Agree or disagree with Fitzgerald's perspective this book belongs in the sport and is long overdue. It is part of our lore, our history. For those who take exception, write another account... I'll read that one too. But if nothing else were written about the 1989 Ironman Triathlon World Championship duel between Allen and Scott then "Iron War" would be a darn good reference and a great dramatic account.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Gamboa on October 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a former full-time triathlete and a person tied closely to many of the personalities in this great sport, I was totally excited to read the story behind Iron War. To say the least, it is great! It is human, sad, inspirational, and extremely enjoyable. I, like most, revere Mark and Dave for who they were (are) as competitors. What I found so intriguing in Iron War was their stories as humans and men. Yeah, I hear they are against it and I can see why, but it's not justified. I mean, how many times have we heard athletes say, "this is totally false and untrue!".?? If you have to say it.... In any event, this book accomplishes what many others in triathlon can't do - tell you a human story. Iron War is one of the most iconic moments in sport that, aside for those in the triathlon world, most have never heard of let alone seen! When triathlon first became an Olympic sport in 2000 I thought, "wow, 'our sport' is getting huge!" But really, it hasn't exactly become the mainstream sport we thought it'd become. Mostly because most triathletes are not relatable figures. And because those in the sport can not get out of their own way. This book explores many controversial topics and real life issues that I believe most people will identify with more as humans. I mean most folks can't fathom a triathlon let alone an Ironman! I hope many of you buy Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, & the Greatest Race Ever Run, it's fascinating. And I hope the "godfathers" of triathlon (Mark and Dave) realize that their stories (through this book) are both inspirational and human. It really made me respect them more as people...enjoy.
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