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40 Stories – Mike Reilly – 1991

IRONMAN is an experience. It starts with a dream. The goal then comes into focus and form through the training. What it will really take becomes a reality the second the gun goes off.

The day is long and challenging and uplifting all at the same time. Then in those final steps as you cross under the finish line banner you hear something that is as synonymous with IRONMAN as anything in that long journey. “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”

Those simple words were uttered for the very first time from the announcer’s platform in 1991 by Mike Reilly. He’s known as “The Voice of IRONMAN”. And his now famous four words called out as you finish have become like a proud tattoo on your soul that says you just did something completely amazing. Mike echoes that with these thoughts:

“YOU ARE AN IRONMAN is more than just four words. Since I first uttered that phrase in 1991 to a friend that was finishing Kona they have fulfilled dreams, healed broken hearts,  and changed lives. Most importantly it lets the athletes know they are champions for life! It holds a reverence with each and every finisher and remains in their hearts for the rest of their lives.”
Mike Reilly not only calls them across the line, he gets down and greets the finishers.

To say that Mike Reilly created a Top-40 Greatest Moment with those words would be an understatement. They are like the graduation diploma that says, “You did it!”

Mike has uttered those famous four words countless times since that first opener in 1991. It started simply. It was an acknowledgement to one of Mike’s close friends as he finished.

“Years later my friend told me he thought the call I made to him was for him and him only. It was prompted by a pre-race conversation we’d had. I was simply confirming what he’d just done as he finished. But when the crowd let out a roar I thought “Yeah, they are all an IRONMAN and should be told.”

It’s a raucous, noisy, happy celebration at the finish line of the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii. It’s a stream of over 2,000 athletes completing a day that likely none of them could have ever known what it would take until it happened. Mike Reilly puts the exclamation point on that journey with his trademark exclamation: YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

Here’s how Mike describes that experience and the years of people who have heard him call those words out:

Follow Mike Reilly on social media channels @ironmanvoice or see more of what he’s up to by clicking  HERE.

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1Comment

  1. Moving piece about a key figure in the evolution of Ironman. Cosell, Hearn, Scully, Reilly…the chroniclers are the Greek chorus that brings the doers of deeds to dimensional life.

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