Have you ever wondered about the energetic, encouraging and booming voices that greet you as you cross the start line and are the first ones to congratulate you when you cross the finish line? Those voices at the Williams Route 66 Marathon belong to three of the industry’s top race announcers who will meet in Tulsa again this year to entertain, encourage and inspire you across the finish line.
Local Tulsa icon Jack Wing has been announcing races for more than 30 years in Oklahoma. He served as executive director of the Tulsa Run for 12 years, and director of Race for the Cure for 15 years. He has also served as vice chair for the USATF masters long distance running committee and chair for the USATF Oklahoma committee for 10 years.
Wing’s return to the marathon this year is especially significant after his battle with cancer kept him from being able to fully participant in last year’s race. In November of 2009, Wing was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. After undergoing chemotherapy treatments and a stem cell transplant, the cancer is in remission and Wing looks to make a full recovery.
“It so great to be back, and to be working with Whit and Mark is a blessing,” said Wing. “[Happy] to be back with all of my friends in this great running event.”
Whit Raymond made his announcing debut in 1993 at the Ford Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Since then he has traveled across the world from his home in Napa Valley to announce races.
The event commentator and TV voice talent is also a decorated athlete, competing and placing second in his first triathlon in 1986. During his elite athlete amateur status he won numerous triathlon, duathlon, and running races outright and became a well-known entity in the multi-sport arena in the U.S. and Japan.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to America’s heartland and working with Tulsa’s own Jack Wing as well as Mark Bravo,” said Raymond. “Tulsa has a wonderful hometown feel with a rich Native American heritage and tradition. Chris and the board have done a wonderful job of incorporating Tulsa’s unique culture into the marathon events. I love the energy and excitement of the Route 66 Marathon and look forward to being part of it again.”
Coach, author and mentor, Mark Bravo is another staple in the Oklahoma running community commentating at events like the Dallas WhiteRock Marathon, Little Rock Marathon and Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Bravo returned to running in April 2008 after undergoing two hip surgeries, the latter which included a full hip replacement.
He recently published “Momentum: 77 Observations Toward a Life Well Lived,” which recounts the stories of navigating life from Olympic gold medalists to “ordinary” heroes.
“The Route 66 Marathon has a feel unlike any other I attend, and its great spirit of inclusion, with something for everybody, makes it an annual “must” for me to attend,” said Bravo. “I’m honored to be invited back, and share the announcing privileges with such tremendous guys and announcing legends as Jack and Whit.”