The Ironman Triathlon held annually in Hawaii is the most difficult one-day sporting event in the world. It starts with a 2.4-mile ocean swim followed by 112 miles of cycling, and finally finishes with a 26.2-mile marathon. For most of the 1,500 men and women who compete in the Ironman, simply crossing the finish line amounts to a victory.
Mark Allen had a different destiny. His first six attempts - all losses - were casualties of everything from flat tires to internal bleeding. Yet each defeat served to galvanize his commitment to fulfilling his dream of becoming an Ironman champion. Finally, on his seventh attempt, Allen won, beating Dave Scott in triathlon's greatest race ever.
Allen went on to win a total of six Ironman titles in six attempts. His final victory came at the age of 37, making him the oldest champion ever in this incredibly challenging event. Allen completed a 15-year career in the world of elite athletics with a 90 percent top-three finish record, going undefeated in 20 races over a three year span from 1988 to 1990. He was named "Triathlete of the Year" six times and after retiring in 1996 was called "The World's Fittest Man" by Outside magazine.
Today, Allen works for NBC Sports as an expert analyst for each annual Ironman. Previously, he provided commentary at the Sydney Olympics for triathlon's debut at the Games.
The author of two books on lifestyle fitness, he published Workouts for Working People in 2000 and co-authored Fit Body, Fit Soul with Brant Secunda in 2008.
Still living the principles that enabled him to turn adversity into success, Mark Allen was recently awarded the highest ranking any speaker has ever received from Northwestern Financial Network for a keynote address he gave to their advisors.