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Mike Plant

Bio

Author, photographer, journalist, and entrepreneur, Mike Plant has been a professional marketer and communicator for more than 40 years, with a career in multisport that spans almost the entire lifespan of the industry. As co-founding publisher of the San Diego-based Running News in the late 1970’s, he was arguably the first journalist anywhere to cover triathlon as a bona fide sport in its own right. During the 1980’s and 90’s his photographs and feature articles appeared in numerous national publications, including Runner’s World, Ultrasport, Outside, Elle, Women’s Sports & Fitness and many others. His feature article about the October, 1982 Ironman in Kona was the cover story of the inaugural edition of Triathlete (now Triathlon).  During the 1980’s, Mike served as writer, segment producer and on-air color commentator for endurance sports television productions by NBC, CBS, ESPN and numerous local network affiliates across the U.S.  His book “Iron Will” is widely acknowledged as a definitive history of the early days of the Hawaii Ironman. He also co-authored with Scott Tinley “Scott Tinley’s Winning Triathlon.” 

Mike was the finish line announcer/emcee at the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona for four years, from 1987-1990. He and his wife Cathy spearheaded marketing and public relations for the Bud Light U.S. Triathlon Series through most of the 1980’s. The couple played a leading role in educating the mainstream sports media about the still-emerging sport. 

A lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast, Mike was a three-sport varsity athlete in high school and a scholarship springboard diver at the University of Nebraska.  He placed third at the National Masters Age Group Diving Championships in 1996, and finished the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 1983. 

Mike is currently president and CEO of Mike Plant & Associates Inc., dba MPA Event Graphics, a leading supplier of large-format promotional signage (tents, banners, flags, table covers, inflatables, vehicle graphics, etc.) to promotional agencies, corporations, events and organizations. 

Recent Articles

Tom Fleming, Runner (July 23, 1951 – April 19, 2017) 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tom Fleming, winning the Jordache Marathon LA in 1981 (Mike Plant photo)

It was sad to hear that running great Tom Fleming died last month of a heart attack at the still-young age of 65. Fittingly, he died while coaching a track meet. If he’d had a choice, I’m sure that venue for a finale would have been among his top three picks
 

Missing in the Mist

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Scott Tinley (left) and Scott Molina finish in a dead heat in the 1984 Atlanta US Triathlon Series event. 

This is the kind of story we tell each other over a beer. It’s a triathlon classic from the wooly early days of the sport, when the world was just waking up to the notion of triathlon, and even folks in the business were learning as they went. It was on-the-job training for everyone, athletes and race promoters alike. We’ve peered into most of the corners by now; most of us understand where the dangers lie. But back in the early 1980’s bad things could jump up out the dark and bite you hard, unexpectedly, in the strangest places.
 

Dawn of the Big Four

The first U.S. Triathlon Series event in San Diego introduced... well, pretty much everything
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Three members of the soon-to-be-Big Four fight it out in San Diego on June 12, 1982. Scott Molina (front left), Scott Tinley (front right), Dales Basescu (center) and Mark Allen

In the history of triathlon there is perhaps no more significant race than the first U.S. Triathlon Series event on June 12, 1982 at Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, California. It was, in retrospect, a rudimentary production, little more than a somewhat tentative proof of a wild-eyed concept born in the brain of one James M. Curl, an entrepreneurial endurance runner and non-practicing lawyer from Davis, California.

Agony & Ecstasy --Julie & Kathleen Revisited

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I had the opportunity to talk with Julie Moss the other day (Feb 6, 2017 to be exact). I was working on another piece for TriHistory. “Sorry I missed your call, Mike,” Julie said. “I was doing my anniversary ride with Kathleen.”
            That would be Kathleen McCartney, Julie’s partner in triathlon legendry. And while it took me just a minute, the significance of the date finally struck: Feb 6. The Anniversary. Of course.

Chaos Theory

Marc Evans had what it took to bring order and organization to the early days of triathlon training.
Sunday, January 15, 2017

Back in the day when people were still looking at triathletes as if they were gods or fools, Miranda Carfrae was still in diapers, and fig newtons and chocolate chip cookies were the multisport energy foods of choice, a young man in Walnut Creek, California decided that he had what it took to be a triathlon coach.

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