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Mark Allen: One Of The Greatest Athletes of All Time On The Spirituality of Peak Performance

By February 13, 2017January 26th, 2024No Comments

“The only bad race is one you don’t learn something from.”

Mark Allen

Between 1982 and 1988, Mark Allen launched six attempts to claim the title of Ironman World Champion.

Each year he was squarely defeated by his arch rival, the legendary Dave Scott.

In 1989, the two titans of triathlon once again descended upon the white hot lava fields of Hawaii to reprise their annual duel in a spectacular showdown that would make history as the greatest race Ironman had ever seen. Dubbed The Iron War, Allen & Scott raced neck and neck at blistering speeds for 8 hours and would cross the finish line less than one minute apart — decimating the previous world record and redefining the limits of human endurance in the process.

When the dust settled, Mark Allen finally emerged victorious. And over the next several years the man they call The Grip would become arguably the most successful triathlete in the sport’s history with six Hawaii Ironman World Championship titles, 10 Nice International Triathlon titles and countless other victories across distances, terrains and fields of every variety.

So how did Mark Allen go from perennial also-ran to an athlete ESPN dubbed “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time”? 


The answer might surprise you. Because it has nothing to do with fitness, nutrition or gear.

Instead, it has everything to do with spirituality.

Without a doubt, Mark’s embrace of shamanism unlocked hidden reservoirs of human potential. It’s a devotion that broke the glass ceiling on his mindset and plateaued career and ultimately propelled him to staggering heights of athletic success.

But how? And what does it all means to him now?

I needed to know. So I jumped in my truck, drove to his house Santa Cruz and put a microphone in front of him.

This conversation is the result. It’s a conversation about Mark’s remarkable life and his ongoing quest for expansion. It’s about the importance of aligning yourself with nature’s rhythms. It’s about investing in yourself, cultivating self-understanding and honing a positive mindset. And it’s about the crucial role humility — detaching from ego — plays in manifesting personal potential.

Bottom line? If you really want to soar, look within. Deep within.

It was an absolute honor to speak with Mark. I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


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Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast

  • Dave Scott: U.S. triathlete and the first six-time Ironman Triathlon Hawaii Champion
  • Don José Matsuwa: Huichol Indian shaman-healer who lived to the age of 110
  • Brant Secunda: shaman, author, healer and traditional ceremonial leader who completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa
  • Scott Zagarino: a social entrepreneur with experience in leveraging technology for social good

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, interstitial music and audio engineering; Chris Swan for production assistance & show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

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