Bob Babbitt's Endurance World Newsletter Vol 1 Edition 6
May 18, 2016
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Welcome to the sixth edition of Bob Babbitt’s Endurance World Newsletter.

It’s my favorite all-time topic and my favorite all-time rivalry: Dave Scott vs. Mark Allen.

Throughout the 1980’s you had this battle of wills between Dave Scott, who made his career winning the Ironman World Championship in Kona, and Mark Allen, who was dominant everywhere else in the world.

Dave won his first title in 1980 on Oahu when ABC covered this crazy event for the very first time. Mark Allen showed up for the first time in October of 1982, caught Scott on the bike on the way to Hawi and said something cool like, ‘Hey, Dave, how about we go for a run after this?’
Scott was not amused, shifted into a bigger gear and took off. Allen tried to do the same, but his derailleur fell off his bike and he was out of the race.

In 1983 Mark was third while Dave won for the third time. In 1984 Allen built up a huge lead on the bike, but Dave Scott ran him down. Allen was second to Scott in 1986 and again in 1987. Scott now had six Ironman titles and Allen was still sitting on zero.

In 1988, Scott pulled out the night before the race with a knee injury and it looked to be Mark Allen’s time to finally win. He didn’t. Allen had two flats that day and Scott Molina ended up winning his first and only Kona title.

But when you look back at the era, I don’t think it would have meant as much if Mark Allen won the Ironman World championship title in 1988 without going head-to-head with Dave Scott. Some things are meant to be.

In 1989, they had the race the entire sport had been waiting for. They were one second apart out of the water and still side-by-side as they ran the marathon. Dave Scott’s course record was 8:28:37, which he had set in 1986. On October 14, 1989 Dave Scott went 18 minutes faster than he had ever gone before and ran a 2:41:03 marathon, which was over eight minutes faster than he ran in 1986.

And he lost.

Which is what makes the race I christened IronWar so compelling and so special. Mark Allen not only beat Dave Scott that day at the Ironman, Allen beat him on the best day Scott ever had on the Big Island of Hawaii.

I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and please don’t hesitate to share your opinion on #HeyBob!
To begin, a little backstory on one of our classic covers...

It was a simple request, really. I asked Mark Allen in mid-summer 1989 if I could get a photo with him and Dave Scott for the cover of our pre-Ironman issue of Competitor Magazine. 

"Sure, no problem," said Allen. "Just have Dave fly out here to Boulder, Colorado, and I'd be happy to do the shoot." 

My next call was to Scott. Would he go to Boulder for the shoot?
'I'd be happy to do it," said 'The Man,' "Just have Mark come here to Davis, California." 

Hmmmm. Obviously, I wasn't making much progress. So I did the next best thing. I hired photographer Dave Epperson and he took the same backdrop, drove to Colorado, drove to Davis, and created our Showdown on the Kona Coast cover.
What Do You Think?
After Mark and Dave, who are the next great Iron Rivals?
Tweet us your take:  #heybob
Dave Scott raced the Ironman in Hawaii eight times between 1980 and 1989, won six times, and finished second twice. His greatest race may have been in 1986 when his 50:53 was the fastest swim of the day, his 4:48:32 was the fastest bike ride of the day and his 2:49:11 was the fastest run of the day. His final time of 8:28:37 was also the new course record.  

I sat down with Dave to go through his amazing career at a Q&A for the Triathlon Club of San Diego. 
"In those races where I fell apart, I saw the darkest parts of myself, the parts of myself that were not strong, that were weak, where expectation did not meet reality. I’ve looked inside there and I’ve seen some things inside myself. Until you do that I think it’s difficult when you come up against the wind, the heat, the humidity, the other racers who are at their top. Until you face those fears, until you look at them, you don’t move to the other side of that fear where the real power is."

Once Mark broke through and won in 1989, with a 2:40:04 marathon that still holds as the fastest ever in Kona, he kept on winning: in '90, '91, '92, '93, and '95. 

Mark Allen joined me for a wide-ranging Q&A that took us from the very beginning of his career, to his disappointments in Kona, his breakthrough at the classic IronWar race in 1989, and his final race –and victory– in 1995 where he overcame a seemingly insurmountable 13 minute deficit.
They shared the greatest race in Ironman history 27 years ago. Mark Allen and Dave Scott came on Breakfast with Bob from Kona to talk about IronWar. After all their years of battles, there are lots of laughs now for these two fierce competitors.
Watch the interview here.
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