I could’ve sat all afternoon and listened to Mike’s captivating voice and his unique stories! Phenomenal stories collected from years of being a high school track and field and cross country coach at Columbus Junction, as well as the lead announcer for 16 years at the Drake Relays, and having a massive Iowa running culture presence. In fact, Mike told me about his evolution from his time as a runner at Columbus Junction running under Coach Purdy and the irony of how he eventually came to coaching alongside Purdy and evolving into now having 16 years of being our Iowa Drake Relays announcer. What might impress you the most is that Mike still remains a humble and gracious man, who still has a huge heart and undying passion for all things running. Not only does it seem that he’s dedicated his life up to this point to keeping the fire burning for other runners, but hasn’t come up shy for new ways to pay it forward.
Mike’s stories are genuine and telltale supportive of his humble upbringing and the driving principles that his parents and own coaches drove into him. Principles of “hard work” and just being “good people”. The same principles that he describes during several stories of his own personal heroes found thru the relationships he’s developed with runners and the admiration that he finds and inspires to pay forward.
A few stories of hard working good people that include a self-trained runner and neighbor of Mike’s who is now aspiring to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon, and even an Olympic champion who returned to the Parapan Olympic games to selflessly help a blind 56-year-old woman go after goals of breaking seven minutes in the 1500 meter race. These collections of memories and stories have fulfilled Mike over the years with inspiration and motivation for his announcing. He claims that the “feel good” stories are the ones that stoke his passion.
“It was such a feel good moment, above and beyond track and field!”
The Next Level Iowa
Proof of these principles is displayed with Mike and Jim Kirby’s co-creation and collaboration of the website The Next Level Iowa, which supports Iowa prep athletes. Encompassed within our podcast recording session, Mike speaks towards some of the hugely impressive Iowa runners that have progressed onto the pro circuit such as Shelby Houlihan, Jenny Simpson, and a recent Next Level Iowa Podcast with Brogan Austin, to name just a few.
You might like to read about a few of our Iowa elites on their website. Mike believes that you don’t necessarily have to be a track and field fan to be able to come away with inspiration from his podcast session and runner highlight articles.
Track Guy USA
After about three years of convincing and some assistance from his sons, Mike now has skyrocketed t-shirt sales under the website and alias TrackGuyUSA. He and his sons use the proceeds from the Iowa based graphic designers and t shirt printers as a method of giving back to Iowa’s youth running programs.
In fact, he’s already planning a shoe give away to two needing recipients at an upcoming Olympic Track & Field Panel Discussion being held at Big Grove Brewery on January 9th, 2019. Of course, Mike will be the MC and host of the discussion and plans to help Eric Sowinski and Randy Wilson share their individual journeys and stories of being Olympic hopefuls.
Mike says the support that has already been pouring into his Track Guy USA mission has been humbling. I’ve even seen a few of our local Iowa running stores posting boxes of his t-shirts to be sold in stores. And I gotta say, it’s not hard to get behind principles that enable youth runners from any walks of life, to just be able to participate in the sport of running. Way to go Track Guy!!
RMC Podcast with Mike Jay
I was so ecstatic at the opportunity to be able to sit down with Mike for my podcast! Afterward, I had thought of a hundred and one more questions I had for him, and still eager to hear more of his anecdotal and inspiring experiences. He’s traveled the world with his announcing and met all kinds of amazing runners. From the high school athletes competing at the State meet to elite and pro athletes competing on national and international scales. He’s a huge-hearted and genuine man that has filled his brain with athlete’s stats and individual accomplishments but has also gotten to know many athletes on a subsurface and more personal level.
Mike Jay is someone to aspire to. Notes to self include; be a hard worker, stay humble, give back, and just be a good person!!
RMC Podcast and Mike Jay’s Episode can be found on Apple iTunes Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google podcasts and several other platforms, which can be found on the RMC Podcast & Music Playlist page linked via the tab at the top of this page.
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