Published Monday, October 10, 2011 by Kevin Mackinnon via Ironman.com
I wish more people could have been there to see it. After a weekend where we saw one of Ironman’s greatest days of racing, everyone who was at the Ford Ironman World Championship got to witness what I think is one of Ironman’s finest moments: Mike Reilly was inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame. How amazing was the moment? Even Reilly, “The Voice of Ironman” was speechless. (Photo by Lee Gruenfeld: Reilly announcing on Saturday in Kona.)Reilly has become an icon in the world of Ironman racing. His big booming voice, and boundless energy, help make the Ironman experience so special for all the competitors. Having “the voice” announce your name across the line is almost synonymous with becoming an Ironman finisher. Some athletes have been known to track him down after the race if he had been on a break when they crossed.
One caught up with him in the airport a few days after an Ironman a couple of years ago. “You’ve got to say it,” the man begged Reilly, who was in the middle of a store, trying to buy a magazine. “You’ve got to say it really loud.”
Reilly obliged – getting more than a few stares from passers by, but also a few knowing smiles from other Ironman athletes heading home – they knew exactly what was going on.
Since 1989 Mike Reilly has been an integral part of the Ironman World Championship. Last March he announced his 100th Ironman event in New Zealand.
As great as that voice is, as incredible as his energy and enthusiasm are, here’s what’s most appropriate about Reilly becoming part of the Ironman Hall of Fame: what you all see at the finish line and on the awards stage is 100 percent genuine. Reilly is kind, thoughtful, positive and endlessly enthusiastic. You see the result of all that positive energy in his family, too. He’s an incredible father (one son, Andy, was helping announce this weekend) and husband (Rose helped coordinate the surprise last night and shares Reilly’s boundless positive energy).
We all know him for his voice, but Mike Reilly is much more than that. He’s a great person to be able to call a friend and a very deserving member of the Ironman Hall of Fame.
You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at email@example.com