Mike Reilly is a legend among the triathlon community and thousands of triathletes around the world will have heard him announce those immortal words "You are an IRONMAN!"
We sat down with Mike to talk all things triathlon and find out more about a man who has been at the heart of the triathlon world for decades.
You're best known to triathletes around the world as 'the voice of IRONMAN'. How did you first get into announcing?
I was asked to pick up a microphone at a running event. I went to watch since I couldn't run and the race director asked me to announce.
You have been at the heart of the triathlon world for decades. What are your thoughts on the way triathlon and the racing scene has changed over the years?
It's changed with technology, coaching, nutrition, everyone has gotten smarter with training and recovery. But we have been constant since the beginning and have not changed as it is still swim/bike/run! Plus the distances of IRONMAN remain the same.
This may be a tough one: what has been the most memorable event that you've announced at/attended and why?
There isn't just one but a few stand out. IRONMAN Hawaii just a month after 9/11 when American Tim DeBoom won. Paula Newby-Fraser breaking 9:00 hours going 8:55 which was a first for a woman. And every age grouper that has overcome incredible odds to even get to an IRONMAN start line!
You have been an important part of several huge ventures over the years (Road Runner Sports, RACEPLACE, Active.com to name a few). What has been the highlight of your career so far?
After all the great businesses I've been a part of, the highlight of my career happens at every start line of an IRONMAN I am at. Knowing 2,500 dreams are going to come true that day cannot be topped!
What would you say makes IRONMAN so special and different from other sporting and endurance events?
Because it pulls out something in people they didn't know they had, and when they discover it their lives are changed forever.
Another tough one: Which is your favorite IRONMAN race and why?
For the answer to that, you'll have to check page 221 of my book.
Which pro triathletes do you think are the ones to watch over the next few years? Anyone that you think might surprise us?
Nothing the pros do surprises me; they compete and raise their levels of performance at every event. Plus, we all probably have no idea who that top pro will be in 5 years. Who knew 2 years ago that Gustav Iden would win the 70.3 World Championship this year?
On a more personal side, which has been your favorite race to compete in over the years and why?
Any century bike ride.
What advice would you give to new triathletes and anyone who might be thinking about doing an IRONMAN in the future?
Just sign up, then go join a triathlon club, get a coach and get out on the road. Live by the manta "Excuses are invalid".
Who inspires you?