“Athletics should reduce stress, not increase it.”
—Mark Allen, Hall-of-Fame Ironman Triathlete
Success is measured not just by wins and losses, but by how you play the game. “Have fun” is the first thing coaches teach young athletes learning a new sport. But it’s easy to lose sight of this, because the pressure to win grows over time, the longer you play the game.
The pressure to win causes many athletes to experience undue stress. Everyone hates to lose, but there is nothing to be gained by obsessing over it. As Bob Feller once said [Click here for his full Locker Room Quote], “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again.”
A positive attitude and dedication to hard work eventually lead to success for most athletes. Today’s case in point: former triathlete Mark Allen, who always enjoyed his sport, regardless of the outcome. A 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike race and a marathon run [26.2 miles] may seem super stressful, but it’s actually therapeutic to Allen and other triathletes.
While swimming for the University of San Diego, Allen routinely ran and biked to stay fit for competition. Having enjoyed all aspects of training and swimming for the Tritons, the former All-American began competing in triathlons after college.
Although he finished second or worse for more than six years, Allen refused to let it get him down. At the age of 32, the California native finally reaped the rewards of his hard work and positive attitude by winning the 1989 Ironman Triathlon World Championship.
Allen continued to push his training levels, winning five more World Championships. At age 37, he became the oldest man ever to win the title. He was inducted into the Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame immediately after he retired.
Once called “The World’s Fittest Man,” Mark Allen continues to run, bike and swim just for the love of training. He will doubtless continue to do so until the day he dies.
Photo: geoffwhite.ws, brandonsmarathon.com