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'The Voice of IRONMAN' speaks with 12 News ahead of Ironman Arizona

IRONMAN announcer Mike Reilly has been bringing triathletes across the finish line at races around the world for 3 decades.

Ironman could be the ultimate test of endurance. This weekend more than 2,000 triathletes will dive into Tempe Town Lake to start their physically and mentally challenging trek, just the first part of Ironman Arizona.

Team 12’s Trisha Hendricks caught up with the race announcer who has had the privilege of bringing finishers across the line at Ironman triathlons across the globe for more than three decades.

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"People come up to me and tell me that, that was the greatest moment of their life,” said Mike Reilly, who’s known throughout the endurance sports world as "The Voice of Ironman."

He has traveled the world since 1989, calling the races and announcing finishers with an inspiring "You are an IRONMAN."

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“Those four words are the greatest thing they've ever heard,” he said.

Reilly will be calling the race this Sunday, cheering on athletes along the way.

“They will get to the finish line,” he said. “They're going to go through some tough spots during the day, like we go through tough spots in life but you've gotta get to the other side of that."

Reilly recently published a book called, "Finding My Voice." He shares a series of riveting stories about IRONMAN races.

"Overcoming breast cancer, or he's running with a prosthetic, because he has one leg and he was hurt in a battle in Afghanistan, yet he finished the race,” said Reilly.  

Through his work, he's inspiring others.

"Marcus used to be a 500-pounder, decided to change his life,” he said. “Now he's around 250. He's doing his 4th or 5th IRONMAN.”

“Elle Goodall was 405 pounds, she's down below 200 pounds and she's doing her 5th IRONMAN," said Reilly.

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His energy and delivery get athletes fired up.

"I've called over 400,000 people an IRONMAN. One thing I know for sure, it stays with them for the rest of their lives," he said. “It's a glorious feeling."

Once complete, every athlete will cover a total of 140.6 miles in less than 17 hours. They'll complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.1-mile full marathon.

"It's a life changing accomplishment,” he said.

This race offers 40 slots to the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i.