Triathlon Magazine Canada - - ANNOUNCING ROYALTY - BY KERRY HALE

Steve King is widely rec­og­nized as one of the most knowl­edge­able and dis­tin­guished voices in the world of triathlon. With a phe­nom­e­nal abil­ity to re­call race splits, sta­tis­tics, facts, fig­ures and ath­lete tid­bits, King has long been at the top of the race-an­nounc­ing game. He has rubbed shoul­ders with the likes of leg­endary an­nounc­ers such as Phil Liggett, has tra­versed the world to call races and his voice has been broad­cast on CBC, CTV and TSN. But, as Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada found out, Steve King is much more than just a man be­hind a mi­cro­phone.

How long have you been race an­nounc­ing and how did you ini­tially get into it? STEVE KING: I be­gan in 1981. I had formed a run­ning club named the Pen­tic­ton Pounders and started host­ing some races so that I could get to race as there was no road run­ning scene here at the time. I would usu­ally fin­ish at the front of the field in the early days and would then grab the bullhorn and start call­ing peo­ple into the fin­ish. It pro­gressed from there to be­ing in­volved in or­ga­niz­ing our first triathlon in 1983 (now called the Peach Clas­sic Triathlon) and, that same year, the In­ter­na­tional Ul­tra triathlon (which later be­came Iron­man Canada and Chal­lenge Pen­tic­ton). I was asked to be the an­nouncer at both. Later I was asked to be the an­nouncer for a cross-coun­try ski race in Salmon Arm, B.C. which I still an­nounce at (the Reino Keski-salmi Lop­pet) and many other events fol­lowed.

You were once a fine en­durance ath­lete your­self. Tell us about some of your own sport­ing achieve­ments. SK: I was al­ways a run­ner in school – track and field and cross-coun­try – then I went to race-walk­ing when I was around 21 and worked on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change. Race walk­ing was a pop­u­lar sport and they hosted 7 mile, 25 mile and the Lon­don-to-brighton (85 km) events. I ran some marathons – my first be­ing a 2:41 ef­fort. When I moved to B.C. I re­turned to run­ning and en­joyed ul­tra rac­ing and also did my first full-dis­tance event in Pen­tic­ton in 1984 and the Ul­tra­man triathlon in 1994. I have raced the Bad­wa­ter Ul­tra in Death Val­ley and was only the sec­ond Cana­dian to have com­pleted it (coming fourth in 2001). I also com­pleted the Com­rades marathon in South Africa in 1999 (90 km) and was first Cana­dian and sev­enth mas­ter that year. There are too many re­sults to men­tion, but other no­table per­for­mances are my marathon PB

in 1981 of 2:36:54, in 1983 my 50 mile (80 km) PB of 5:36:23, sec­ond Cana­dian at the Na­tional 50 mile Cham­pi­onships in 1985, two-time win­ner of the Hawai­ian Iron­man Pre­cur­sor Marathon in 1987/88, set­ting a course record 2:37:58, four-time age group win­ner at Coeur D`alene Marathon, win­ner of the in­au­gu­ral Haney to Har­ri­son 100 km in 1997 and a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Na­tional 100 km team from 1995–97. In terms of triathlon events, in 1984 I fin­ished sixth at Iron­man Canada (sec­ond in my age group). In 1989 I came 48th at Iron­man Canada (5th in my age group), in 1994 I fin­ished sec­ond at Ul­tra­man Canada (11.8-km swim, 320-km bike, 84.3-km run) and was first in my age group and, in 1999, I fin­ished 206th at Iron­man Canada (fifth in my age group).


That’s an in­cred­i­bly long list of run­ning and mul­tisport achieve­ments. As an an­nouncer can you de­scribe some of the most iconic events you have worked and some of the stun­ning places you have vis­ited. SK: I have an­nounced at the Com­mon­wealth Games, Pan Amer­i­can Games, ITU World Triathlon Cham­pi­onships in Florida, New Zealand, Aus­tralia, U.K. and Muskoka, the World Po­lice and Fire Games, the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship, Iron­man New Zealand, the Ul­tra­man World Cham­pi­onship in Hawaii, Ul­tra­man Aus­tralia, Ul­tra­man Florida and Chal­lenge Roth. I did get to race the Black Pearl Triathlon one time in Moorea, Tahiti, which was an ab­so­lutely gor­geous place and one that will stay with me for­ever.

For you, what’s the most re­ward­ing thing about call­ing races? SK: See­ing oth­ers at­tempt­ing to achieve their goals, some­times ex­ceed­ing them and some­times ex­pe­ri­enc­ing set­backs. I get to wit­ness their achieve­ments first-hand and vi­car­i­ously ex­pe­ri­ence the highs and lows of so many ath­letes. There have been many oc­ca­sions when I’ve wit­nessed some­one Dnf’ing or miss­ing a cut-off time, but re­turn­ing an­other year and suc­ceed­ing. This is just so fan­tas­tic to ob­serve.

Any stand­out mo­ments from all your years an­nounc­ing that are truly in­spi­ra­tional? SK: A cou­ple of mem­o­ries that stand-out for me in­clude when Tom Evans won Iron­man Canada in front of his home crowd af­ter pre­vi­ously plac­ing sec­ond. Also, when Sis­ter Madonna fin­ished Iron­man Canada at 82 years of age and when dou­ble am­putee An­dre Ka­jlich fin­ished Ul­tra­man. What lessons do you be­lieve we can learn through par­tic­i­pa­tion in en­durance sports? SK: The depth of re­la­tion­ships, per­se­ver­ance, hu­mil­ity, grat­i­tude, aware­ness of Mother Na­ture, the na­ture of vol­un­teerism, war­rior­ship and that “some­times you win more by los­ing.” There are many metaphors shared be­tween life and putting one foot in front of the other to achieve a goal; ul­tra events can pro­vide a pur­pose, help us lift above the mun­dane, to truly delve into the depths of our psy­ches, to be ca­pa­ble of com­pas­sion, em­pa­thy and ca­ma­raderie, a sense of be­long­ing to a “tribe.”

Aside from sport, what other pur­suits oc­cupy your time? SK: I have a full-time job as a clin­i­cal coun­sel­lor. I’ve writ­ten four books on the sub­jects of energy medicine, PTSD, Au­then­tic­ity and Ex­is­ten­tial­ism and re­cently made two on­line Udemy cour­ses on PTSD and Au­then­tic­ity. I am hap­pily mar­ried to Jean and we’ll be cel­e­brat­ing our 40th an­niver­sary this Novem­ber. She has as­sisted me at hundreds of events. I love music and there are nu­mer­ous other projects that fas­ci­nate me.

Steve King on his way to sec­ond place, in 8:44:19, at the 1976 Lon­don-to-brighton race-walk


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