AsiaTRI Interview: 6-Time Kona Champ Mark Allen

Mark Allen, 6-time Ironman World Champion and considered as one of the greatest endurance athletes of all-time talks about visiting Vietnam for the first time and giving his thoughts on how to thrive in the Asian racing circuit, where heat and humidity is a common denominator.  Allen is in Vietnam as a special guest and speaker for the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Phu Quoc.

On visiting Vietnam for the first time:

Mark Allen: I’ve been here for less than a week and I visited Ho Chi Mihn for a little bit, and last night, I came here in Phu Quoc.  This morning, I walked along the ocean and I was amazed, how there was so much nature here.  I’ve travelled a lot as a triathlete, a coach an ambassador for triathlon, and there are places that simply Wow you.   And Phu Quoc is a Wow.

I saw the race venues, the expo, the start and finish line, the expo, and I am excited how Sunrise Events Vietnam and Ironman Asia has put up a world-class event.  Everything is compact here in Phu Quoc Marina Square, and as a triathlete, you will love how all the race venues are just a walk away from each other and is easy to navigate.  Not only the athletes who will love it, but also the friends, family and supporters who don’t have to walk far to cheer for their athletes.   It sorts of concentrates the energy and the excitement in one place.

On how to thrive Racing in Heat and Humidity:

On competitive age groupers trying to catch 70.3 world championship slots:

Mark Allen:  You are in this race and you are competing for a slot for 70.3 worlds at New Zealand in 2024, and you are trying to pass a fellow age grouper for that slot or simply trying to beat your personal best, NEVER GIVE UP.  The race is not done until you cross that finish line.  Even if you’re struggling a little bit, and you are competing against that person or yourself, just try to get your mind to be quiet, and try to relax and focus on that next step, the next step and that next step, because the race can always turn around and can always come back in your favor.   The final Ironman that I did in 1995 that became my 6th world title, I came off the bike 13 and a half minutes behind the leader, the German triathlete Thomas Hellriegel.  At that point, I thought victory looked absolutely impossible, but I said, just take the step into the marathon, and the next and try to gain a little time every kilometer.   With that mindset, I ended up catching him and the lead with less than 5k from the finish line and won that last title. I only won it because I NEVER GAVE UP HOPE.   So if you are competitive, and you are battling with somebody or just a personal goal, never give up hope, take it a step at a time, and keep battling all the way to the finish.

As parting advice on this interview, here is Mark Allen’s tip on how to have a productive and more importantly a meaningful off-season:

See also:  Ironman Wrap-up: Ironman Austria, Ironman 70.3 Finland, and Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh
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