Could 2019 see another Iron War at Kona?
It’s 30 years since 220 Triathlon first hit the shelves and almost three decades since we witnessed the greatest Ironman race in history. The Iron War of 1989 has gone down in endurance sport folklore as an iconic tussle between two triathlon icons on triathlon’s iconic stage. Iconic? You betcha. Author Matt Fitzgerald’s even devoted an eponymously-titled book to it, and we named it the greatest Ironman world champ moment ever
Five famous Kona rivalries and clashes
It also witnessed the changing of the guard at the Ironman World Championship. American Dave Scott, the six-time champion and resilient to the last, against his immeasurably talented yet seemingly flawed compatriot Mark Allen, whose previous attempts to crack the Big Island had only exposed his own fragility. Until Allen finally broke Scott’s resistance less than two miles from the finish, there was barely a gel wrapper between them the entire day.
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It’s the elite race that has arguably done more than any other to market Ironman to future generations, and as the years pass its stock only rises. Allen’s winning time was a course record by 19mins and it took until 2016 for Germany’s Patrick Lange to finally beat his 2:40:04 marathon.
But another Iron War is long overdue. Yes, in the intervening years we’ve had epic races. Monstrous leads have been hunted down, such as Allen reeling in Thomas Hellriegel in 1995 or Mirinda Carfrae catching Daniela Ryf in 2014. There have been front-runners hanging on, meltdowns just shy of the finish, and utter domination by Chrissie Wellington and, more latterly, Ryf.