Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Energizer bunny - Whit Raymond

(Courtesy of slowtwitch.com)

Simon says: - If you've ever had the pleasure of racing when Whit is MCing then you know you're in for a treat. He literally never stops, never seems to miss anyone EVER and puts a huge smile on my face at every Ironman, literally from 5am until the finish. He speaks fluent Japanese, the Japanese contingent must get a huge buzz when he's cheering them on.

At Ironman Malaysia last year, I ran across the finish line with my twins boys and he announced "Now that's how to finish an Ironman" - he said it with passion and sounded like he really meant it. Cool guy - big respect.

At Ironman Hawaii, XTERRA Maui and various other events around the globe people quickly notice the dancing, screaming, jumping and entertaining announcer Whit Raymond. He checked in with slowtwitch.

Slowtwitch: Whit, are you sitting down as we are talking?

Whit: Ha! Yes I am…

ST: Where do you actually reside?

Whit: Napa, CA.

ST: Whenever we see you at races, you seem to be super-hyper. What are you like when you are not working?

Whit: LOL…I tend to have a lot of energy, but I think it is because I am pretty passionate about life and enjoy being alive.

ST: Between triathlons and marathons, how many events do you usually cover a year?

Whit: 26 to 30

ST: If you cover that many events, why do you even need a place in Napa?

Whit: Gotta have a crib to call home somewhere in the world. Napa is not a bad place to have a house.

ST: So where are the best spectators?

Whit: Well Kona ROCKS cause it is the World Championships and so many people from so many countries are there cheering for their loved ones, so there is a ton of incredible energy. XTERRA Worlds in Maui is also an incredible atmosphere with great energy from the crowds. And I think we all know that some of the Euro races really “go off”, but I haven’t had a chance to work those ones yet.

ST: So what do you think it’ll take for you to announce one of these Euro races?

Whit: Maybe if I spoke German. Ha. I don't really know as I haven't pursued those events. I do announce IM UK however.

ST: During an Ironman, how many hours do you actually talk, dance, scream, and jump?

Whit: Once it all starts I can’t stop jumping! Ha! I mean it is all so exciting! I like to tell people we talk for 19 hours. An Ironman is 17 hours. We start talking usually at 5 am if the start is at 7 and then go to midnight. Depending on the event, there may or may not be a bit of down time to chill and eat or pee or something. But usually we are on from the get go until midnight.

ST: How long does your voice need to recover from each event?

Whit: My voice recovers quicker than my body these days. If it’s an Ironman it takes a couple days to recover the voice, but a week or more for the body to recoup from the energy outlet.

ST: Mike Reilly is “The Voice of Ironman”. What title along those lines describes you best?

Whit: First of all, Mike is the man! Secondly, “Title? I no need no stinkin’ title”! Some people have referred to me as “The Voice of XTERRA or “The Voice of Asia”… but again, I don’t need a title. My name is Whit Raymond. That should suffice.

ST: You mostly cover races in Asia, and got your start at Ironman Japan. Is that correct?

Whit: Well No. Actually, the very first announcing gig I ever did was Hawaii Ironman back in 1993. I do announce Ironman Japan and a ton of other events in Asia. I think it is kind of unique that my very first announcing gig was the Grandaddy of them all, Hawaii Ironman.

ST: I have heard you speak Japanese before, so how many languages do you speak?

Whit: I don’t even speak English fluently, but I try. I studied Japanese in school and lived there for 3 years studying and working…so I can handle Japanese and some Spanish. Would love to do more. So how many is that? 2? I would love to speak some Australian. That is a really cool language! I can fake it a bit you know mate!

ST: Many people don’t know that you actually are a pretty accomplished triathlete yourself, including winning the Keauhou Kona Half Ironman twice.

Whit: How do YOU know that? Well those days are over. Back in the day I had my share of athletic accomplishments. Winning Keauhou is up there with some of the things I am most proud of…there were a few other cool things.

ST: Talk about other cool things then if you don’t mind.

Whit: Well I've done Kona 5 times but was never a good Ironman
Distance athlete. Hhmm? 1st amateur at XTERRA Half Moon Bay when I was 40. Won a few races over the years in Japan and The States that I am pretty proud of. That was a pretty long time ago tho. Once my daughter was born in '92 I stopped racing as much and focused on raising her.

ST: You are still looking pretty fit. Do you still compete?

Whit: Really? I Look pretty fit? WOW COOL! Thanks! I still “participate”. I love to swim, bike, and run passionately whenever I can. The travel takes its toll on my body however… I think I discovered the benefits of exercise when I was in college and just have to have it as part of my life. I also love to tele ski, in-line skate, mountain bike, etc…

ST: Do you follow any other sports?

Whit: Like what? What else is there? Adventure racing is really cool. I have worked a bunch of Adventure Races over the years and really admire what these athletes can do.
And of course, I always love July because it is Tour de France season!

ST: Talk about your food likes and dislikes?

Whit: Really? Does anybody really care about what Whit eats? Ha! I love most foods. Thai is one of my favs and Japanese of course. I won’t eat chicken.
Just something about it scares me. Tofu is awesome!

ST: What was the last book you read?

Whit: Oh GEEZ…”The Pact” by Jody Picoult. I am a big fan of Paulo Coelho and think I have read all his books.

ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Whit: You know I really don’t like this question. I see myself loving the life I am in everyday, today, next year, 5 years from now, and on down the road. As for work, I trust my body will keep up and I can continue to throw my passion for sport into triathlon and other races around the globe. I also enjoy doing television voice work which I have done a fare bit of with XTERRA. Definitely would love to be doing more of that sort of thing.

ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Whit: Nope. Not really. Well, my daughter, Maleana, is graduating high school this June! WOW! Way to go sweetie! I LOVE YOU!

Thanks for thinking of me for this article. I appreciate it.

Swim, Bike, Run, HAVE FUN!

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