Mike Reilly To Celebrate 150th Ironman At New Zealand

By Susan Lacke | Triathlete Magazine

As seen on:http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/02/news/mike-reilly-150th-voice-of-ironman_128637

“The Voice of Ironman” chats about his illustrious career.

The finish chute of an Ironman triathlon is one of the most iconic of any sport: bright lights, loud spectators and an overwhelming sense of joy. It’s a spectacle unlike any other, driven by a constant refrain of four words: YOU are an Ironman!

Those four words, of course, are inextricably linked with Mike Reilly, “The Voice of Ironman.” Since first taking the microphone in 1989, Reilly has called tens of thousands of Ironman triathletes across finish lines all around the world. On March 5, Reilly will mark his 150th Ironman race at Ironman New Zealand with the same boundless enthusiasm as his first race.

Triathlete.com: Congratulations on calling your 150th Ironman! When you took the microphone for the first time, did you ever dream it would last this long? 

Reilly: I would dream how lucky I was to be able to do this and that it would last as long as I had a passion for it, which I still do! If someone said to me back in 1989 I would still be going in 2016 I’d thought they were nuts! But, like the old adage of living one day at a time, I’ve had the attitude to live one Ironman day at a time.

Triathlete.com: How did you become the “Voice of Ironman?”

Reilly: In the early years it just kind of evolved, someone introduced me as that and it kind of stuck. At first, and even still today, it is a little embarrassing and humbling. The bit of insecurity that is in all of us questions, “Do I deserve that title?” Then my secure side says to go out and prove it at every event. That’s why each Ironman is like my first one.

Triathlete.com: What’s your favorite thing about this job?  

Reilly: First off, it is very hard for me to call it a job. Yes, there is work involved, it’s a long day, and the preparation prior is detailed. But in the end being able to make people smile, cry, scream, and shout for joy is not work. It’s an honor!

Triathlete.com: You mentioned long days – how many hours are you awake on race day?

Reilly: 21 to 22 hours. I’m up at 4:00 A.M. and to bed by 1:00 or 2:00 A.M.

Triathlete.com: Your energy and enthusiasm is amazing – how do you keep it up for so long? 

Reilly: The day actually goes by pretty fast for me. Watching and being a part of an Ironman day is like watching the best long movie ever. There are 2,500 happy endingswhat more could you ask for?

Triathlete.com: You’ve had to call a lot of names in your careerincluding some rather unpronounceable ones. Do you recall any particular monikers that left you tongue-twisted?  

Reilly: I have probably correctly pronounced 95% of the names I have ever called, but there are 5% that can be tough. A lot of athletes will send me private Facebook messages on how to pronounce their name, and we’ll put it in the bios for race day. Knowing that someone’s name is really their most prized possession, Ialong with all the Ironman announcers in the worldwant to get it right. But yes, at times our tongues will twist! One thing that will never be mispronounced: “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

RELATED PHOTOS: 30 Years Of Ironman New Zealand

Triathlete.com: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever witnessed at an Ironman finish line? 

Reilly: I get asked that all the time, and I can never remember the one crazy thing. Obviously, there have been finishers doing cartwheels, hand-stands, turning around running in backwards (I have no idea why on this one), ripping shirts off (only men), and people kissing the ground and not being able to then get up.

But one Japanese woman was finishing at a race here in the United States, and when she got to the finish she didn’t cross it, but turned around and ran back out. A few minutes later here she comes again, hits the finish line and turns and runs out again. So now we are all laughing about it as officials were now ready for her at the finish and here she comes again, they grab her (she no doubt was going to do it again) and brought her across the finish line. I don’t recall what I was saying to the crowd but everyone was really into her third finish! We asked her why she did that and her reply was “I didn’t think I had worked hard enough, so I wanted to run more.” Now that is crazy!

Triathlete.com: Do you have a favorite finish-line experience?  

Reilly: Up until 2013, that would have been a very hard question to answer. But my most favorite and cherished call of all time was when my son Andy finished Ironman Arizona in 11:29. Announcing my first Ironman when he was 3 years old to bringing him in 24 years later probably won’t be topped. To call him in and watch his big sister put the Mylar blanket around him and his Mom put the finisher medal around his neck and me standing there about ready to lose it – it’s a memory and picture that will be etched in my mind forever. I actually called him an Ironman two times at the finish. I figured I had the right to do that!

Triathlete.com: Is there a particular race location you love most?

Reilly: Ironman New Zealand is in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and of course Kona. But the most beautiful location to me is the finish line, period. No matter where you are in the world, the beauty of an Ironman finish line can’t be beat.

Triathlete.com: What’s a bucket-list race you haven’t yet made it to? 

Reilly: Wow, there are a few. I’d love to get to Ironman UKthe British triathletes are so passionate, and it’s growing like crazy there. Also South Africa and Austria. I worked IM Frankfurt once, and it was an incredible experience. The really tough part is there are now so many Ironmans in the world, so my goal is to get to one new one each year.

Triathlete.com: You’ve been a fixture at 150 races so far – will you try for 200? 

Reilly: I have never looked ahead at a number, as I believe it’s unhealthy. Like I said before, it’s one Ironman at a time.

RELATED PHOTOS: The Final Hour At The 2015 Ironman World Championship




Ironmanlife: Reilly Inducted into Hall of Fame Race announcer Mike Reilly inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame

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.

Congrats, Mike.

You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at kevin@ironman.com

Kona 2011- Leading up to raceday

The Ironman World Championship is only days away and Mike Reilly is in full swing in his 23rd trip to the big island. (no, that’s not a typo, 23rd year!)

Wednesday represented the Kids race and the famous Ironman Parade of the Nations.  Mike is seen below at the Kids race with former Ironman Champion Heather Fuhr.








The famous underpants run took place Thursday morning. Mike led the action out front with the Microphone, naturally. Seen below in some bright red tidy’s on the left.








Thursday also marked the media press conference with all of the professionals. There is a packed field this year for both Men and Woman. Chrissy Wellington still remains a favorite for the women but a recent injury has some people questioning how healthy she really is. The Men are marked by former champion Craig Alexander and the surging Andreas Ralert. It should be a great battle for the Kona Crown on Saturday.








Mike then led the pro’s through the rules and regulations meeting with the swim, bike and run instructors. No drafting people!

At NYSE for The Active Network going public!

At the New York Stock Exchange this morning to be a part of our company (The Active Network) going public. What an honor and accomplishment!

Active Network Completes IPO on the New York Stock Exchange

On Friday, May 27 executives and guests of The Active Network, Inc., the leading provider of organization-based cloud computing applications, visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to celebrate the company’s completion of its initial public offering. Active Network began trading on the NYSE on May 25 under the ticker symbol “ACTV.”

In honor of the occasion, CEO Dave Alberga, joined by members of Active Network’s management team, rang the NYSE Opening Bell.

One Hundred Ironmans: Mike Reilly Reflects

The “Voice of Ironman” completed his 100th race on March 5th
Written by Mike Reilly on Thursday, April 7, 2011

The finish-line tower at Ironman New Zealand


One hundred. It may only be a number, but 100 is a pretty interesting one. One hundred miles per hour, 100 home runs, $100, 100 years, 100 miles, and yes, 100 Ironmans. Over the last few months I’ve been asked many times what it will mean to be on the microphone at my 100th Ironman. Now that I’ve put it in the books at Ironman New Zealand, how do I put it into words?  It’s as simple as “I can’t believe it’s been 100,” to more complicated: “Does this mean I’m starting all over again at 101?”

About five years ago, Casey Cortese from Janus prompted me to count up all the times I’ve announced at the finish line of an Ironman. So we did—on a bar napkin at an after party. Thus, the counting began. It also prompted me to start a log of what each race meant to me and what impressions I came away with.

All those trips, all those days away from home and family, all those finish lines have been worth it.

The first thing I need to do is give a huge thanks to all my family and friends, and the triathletes who sent me well wishes. It’s pretty amazing and daunting what came my way. I was asked to write about this experience and of all the Ironmans I’ve been involved with. This one was very unique. To me it’s not about me but the athletes and the event, so when videos were played and speeches given about me it was a bit uncomfortable, but gratifying, none the less. Jane Patterson and Janette Blyth with Ironman New Zealand are two very special people in my life and they honored me in every way for my 100th, something I will never forget.

Mike (right) with Ironman CEO Ben Fertic at a race in 2008

Taupo New Zealand is billed as the sports event capital of the country, and from what I’ve seen, it is. You can do everything from bungie jumping to soaking in a hot springs waterfall on the Whikato River. But on March 5, race day, Taupo was the water capital of the world. It rained solid the entire 17 hours of the event. Talk about bringing you back to reality. One athlete told me the driest he was all day was during the swim! Now here is the amazing part: As we were pushing through the day I was thinking that the DNF rate was going to be pretty high.  A couple of other wet days I remembered were in Lake Placid and Wisconsin where it never let up. The finishing rate from what I recalled was in the 88 to 91 percent range—and maybe even lower. As the day went on in Taupo, I thought surely we’d be in the same range. When the timer gave me the start and finish numbers I thought to myself, “no way.” So I did the numbers and confirmed that the triathletes here from New Zealand and Australia (542), the U.S. (84) and other countries (37), were one tough bunch. Ninety-six percent came across the finish line wet on the outside but with strong warm hearts on the inside. Amazing!

This one, my 100th, confirmed to me to never take anything for granted, and to always live in the day and make sure you cherish it.  No matter how tough things may seem, especially at an Ironman, you will leave with lasting positive memories. I’m always asked which Ironmans are my favorites, which ones I remember most. This list is pretty extensive believe it or not, but now there will be one more answer. The 2011 Ironman New Zealand will go down as one of my most cherished. Not for the reason you may think but because my wife Rose and our best friends Alan and Dena Rea were there with me to celebrate. The number 100 wouldn’t have meant nearly as much if they hadn’t been in Taupo with me. Spending 12 days on holiday with them all—something I’d never done after an Ironman—ended up making it the trip of a lifetime.

All those trips, all those days away from home and family, all those finish lines have been worth it only because of the support I’ve received from Rose and my kids. So my thank you is to them and the congratulations you’ve all sent my way, as humbling as they are, should be directed to my family. Without their support my enthusiasm and passion for all of you at the finish line might not have been possible.

So yes, the 100th was very special, but not because of the milestone itself but because of the support and love that enabled me to do it. The best part for me is now looking forward to Ironman Australia on May 1. I can’t wait to get there and do it all over again like it’s the first time. After all, it’s number one of the next 100!