Now, you might be stuck wondering who this man even is, and I don’t blame you. He was not a major star in a pro sports league and ddidnt have his face on TV. But what Mark Allen did do is become the undisputed best athlete ever in his sport, which just so happens to be one of the hardest and most physically demanding sports out there, the triathlon. Here in this article I will give Mark Allen his due and talk about his long and illustrious career as an endurance athlete.
However, before looking at him and all of his success as a triathlete, I will talk a bit about triathlons first, in case you are unfamiliar. The triathlon is a multi-event competition where athletes must compete in three different athletic events. While there are many different forms and types of the event, the most common and popular is where athletes swim, cycle and run their way to victory (in that order). There are also many different lengths for the competition, but the most prestigious and difficult it the “full” triathlon. In a full triathlon, athletes swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and then run a full marathon (26.2 miles) for a total of 140.6 miles. As you could imagine, this is extremely difficult and is only achievable by elite athletes most of the time, and no one was better at these than Mark Allen.
Allen actually began his athletics career as a swimmer and was actually an All American swimmer while attending UC San Diego. After graduating, he decided to begin to train for triathlons. Over the next few years, Mark Allen pretty much won every single triathlon there is to win, and had a win streak of 20 straight wins at one point from 1988-1990. But there was one race that had eluded him. Eventually, he decided to take on perhaps the toughest athletic event in the world, the “Ironman Triathlon”.
Despite his immense success in triathlons, it actually took Mark Allen six attempts to finally take home the win at the event for the first time, in 1989. But once he got that first win under his belt, he showed the world he was without a doubt the best triathlete living and turned himself into a true legend, beating previous-best Dave Scott in the process. He would go on to win the next four Ironman Triathlons from 1990-1993 and another in 1995, when he was 37 years old in a huge comeback in which he was down 12 minutes, but was able to take the lead in dramatic fashion in the marathon portion. He retired after that win, still at the top of his game, and many believed he could have won a handful more Ironman’s if he would have stuck around a few more years.
But perhaps the most impressive stat of his entire career was the fact that he achieved a top-three percentage of greater than 90% throughout his career. This means he came in the top three in 9 of every 10 triathlons he ever entered, which solidifies him as probably the best endurance athlete of all time.