Triathlon: The Man Just Won’t Go Away

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Outside magazine, January 1995

Triathlon: The Man Just Won’t Go Away
By Todd Balf (with Barry Lewis and James Raia)

Ten miles from the finish on a sun-baked highway on the Big Island of Hawaii, Dave Scott, competing again after a three-year “retirement,” was on the verge of the seventh–and biggest–Ironman victory in his illustrious career. Only 11 seconds behind leader and favorite Greg Welch at last October’s Gatorade Ironman, the 40-year-old seemed to be in superb position yet again to
put the hammer down. But Scott says he knew better. “I got close enough to see Greg sponge off at the rest station, drop the sponge, then turn around and pick it up,” said Scott later. “I figured he must feel pretty confident to do that.” Welch then picked up the pace and cruised to a four-minute-plus margin of victory. While Welch’s time, 8:20:27, was about 13 minutes off Mark
Allen’s ’93 course record, the 29-year-old Aussie became the first non-American to win the men’s race. As for Scott, he said his runner-up performance was “40 times more meaningful” than any of his other athletic accomplishments and left open the possibility that he’ll compete in ’95. Meanwhile, Paula Newby-Fraser made Ironman history as she claimed a record-setting seventh
women’s title in 9:20:14, about 25 minutes slower than her ’92 course record. Runner-up Karen Smyers, racing in only her second Ironman, cut into Newby-Fraser’s whopping lead but never got closer than eight minutes; she finished in 9:28:08. Said Smyers, a little obviously, “Paula really is in another league at this distance.”

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