Book: Iron War

By Matt Fitzgerald

This book has a few chapters that seemed a bit longer than they needed to be but there are some really, really interesting stories that make up for it. This book obviously covers a lot more than just the legendary 1989 Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. It tells the entire history of Dave Scott and Mark Allen, their legendary race, their lives after the race and even covers some interesting scientific findings about how the human body reacts to stress during an endurance race and how you can actually control how you deal with suffering. It emphasizes what nearly every elite endurance athlete seems to say… it’s all in the head. I have to say however, that this is not a good book to read if you are looking for inspiration. Hearing the post-race stories of both Allen and Scott was actually a bit depressing. One of them wanted to keep racing but couldn’t, the other just stopped racing (and training) cold-turkey and both of their longtime marriages ended in divorce within a couple of years after they retired. I just started getting into this stuff in my 40’s so hearing how both of these athletes became frustrated when they started to age wasn’t the most encouraging thing to hear. In short… great stories and really interesting information but if you are middle-aged and trying to pump yourself up, you might want to keep the late chapters about “after the race” for another time.