Note: I am heading somewhere with unknown service for the next couple of days and it is possible that you will not see a daily post for 1 or 2 days.
Referred to as the “voice of Ironman,” Mike Reilly has somehow become the iconic announcer of Ironman races, even though he by no means announces all races. Each year, he chooses which races to announce at.
It is kind of amazing that one person can have such a legacy, but he really is just amazing at what he does – and he started saying the words “you are an Ironman” at the finish line, which has become so popular and what everyone wants to hear. I didn’t realize this was a thing until doing my first race when people would say something about hearing those words at the end. Now, all announcers will say those words, but something felt different about the first.
I was first introduced to Mike Reilly when listening to a podcast episode that he did on The Same 24 Hours Podcast with triathlete Meredith Atwood. (I cannot seem to like to the precise episode, but search for Mike Reilly and you will find it).
He started announcing races in 1981 and has been involved in running and triathlon races and business his entire life.
Announcing an Ironman race is in itself an endurance sport. They are out there announcing details about the day well before the race start, continue for the first 8 hours or so at different points along the way telling spectators about the event and the competitors. Then comes about 9 hours straight of welcoming people across the finish line. Mike is amazing at getting the crowd involved, and he tells good stories about some of the participants who have achieved great feats to get there.
For my race, he came down to the finishers chute at just about 11pm. Apparently this is something he does quite often, to help the last individuals cross that finish line. This meant for my most recent race that not only did I get the lucky high five getting into the water, I got an additional high five as I crossed that line!
If it is a goal of yours, I hope that you too will hear those words, whether from Mike Reilly or someone else.