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Mike Plant


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

Kona Notes - Tour de Kona

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chalking Alii Drive before the race. Allez! Allez!

With the finish line end of Alii Drive turned into a pedestrian mall for most of race week, chalking the road to inspire or congratulate friends and family has become an important part of the Ironman spectator ritual. Which is not to say that too many folks running down that last stretch after being on the course for more than a normal workday will actually notice, but the good wishes are genuine , often touching, and add a lot to the big-event atmosphere.

Kona Notes - Dig Me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

One for two -- This young triathlete from England knew what Dig Me meant, but had no idea in the world who Scott Tinley is.

Spotted this pair of fit guys from England at Huggo's on Friday, the night before the race. The man on the left is dad, to the right is his son, who was scheduled to race the following day. (I know, they look like bloody brothers.) I couldn't resist asking if the son knew what the term "Dig Me" meant, and to my surprise he did: "Sure, it's the beach where the race starts, isn't it?" he replied.

"Exactly," I said. "You know, I'm pretty sure my partner Scott Tinley coined that phrase back in 1981. Have you heard of Scott Tinley?"

"No," he said, breaking my nostalgic, history-loving heart. "Well, he won the Ironman here twice," I said. I turned over a coaster and scribbled on the back. "You might enjoy taking a look when you get home. And good luck tomorrow."

My journalistic skills are rusty, I admit. Had I asked the kid his name I could have checked on how he did in the race. I hope well.

Kona Notes – Old Friends Are Always A Pleasant Surprise

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bill VanHorn, right, with MP

I bumped into a U.S. Triathlon Series old-timer Bill Van Horn, now 81, and who's been doibng triathlons since... well, coincidentally, 1981. I can't count the number of awards I presented to this guy over the years, but it was a lot. Good guy. Good friend. Hadn't seen him in 30 years or more. Kona is like that.

Kona Notes – Tony DeBoom and the Best T-Shirt in Town

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tony DeBoom wearing his limited edition Kona-T. Bound to be a classic Ironman shirt. 

If you stopped by the Endurance Conspiracy T-shirt tent along Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona anytime during race week, you would have met the talented silver-haired designer and former professional triathlete Tony DeBoom. TH will have lots of good things to say about Tony in the near future, but what nabbed us in Kona this year was a cool, retro-looking, limited edition Kona T, commemorating the initial three-event Ironman concept. A talented designer knows how to keep things simple, and Tony's work in this case has all the makings of a classic. Not sure if you can still get one, but you in case you want to try, here's where to look: