"It's never over," said Moss. "If he cramps, Dave will be on him."
But Allen didn't cramp. With a mile to go and a hundred yards of daylight behind him, he let out a scream of wild joy. He won by a minute in 8:09:15. That broke Scott's record by an astounding 19:22. Allen's marathon split was 2:41.03, 15 minutes faster than his previous best.
It was the finest race in Ironman's 11-year history, and because it was decided by strength and intelligent tactics instead of by the premature collapse of a contender, it marked a new maturity in this demented, riveting competition.
Allen's and Scott's mastery of the distance and the elements was also achieved by women's winner Paula Newby-Fraser, 27, of Zimbabwe. Indeed, she had mastered them a year earlier, when she set a gaudy women's mark of 9:01:1. "I wanted to prove last year wasn't a fluke," said Newby-Fraser. She did so, finishing 34th overall and improving her record to 9:00:56. She won by a yawning 21 minutes over Canada's Sylviane Puntous but believes that the days of such margins are numbered. "They'll catch up," she said. "They'll figure it out sooner or later."
For Allen, having figured it out was heavenly surcease. "The demon is gone," said Moss. "The seven-year albatross has dropped away."
"This does take a lot off me," said Allen, his grin edging toward his ears. "And I didn't think I could go this fast. The pattern, of course, is that it takes a couple of years for people to catch up to a standard, then someone sets a new one. Well, next time, it won't be me. This is as fast as I can go."