A final stretch of a 10K, a triathlon or any long distance race is physically and emotionally taxing on an individual. What keeps that drive going and pushes someone to reach the finish line is usually a mix of talent, stamina, pride and the energy that surrounds them. That energy is different at every race, and it can be hard to replicate.
From the early starting hours, tents lined with sponsors and seas of number-bibbed athletes, racing events are a huge production. There’s one piece of races that isn’t often seen but always heard — the race day emcee.
Behind that voice are thousands of feet of extension cords, countless speakers, a tent and a man or woman with a mic. But it’s usually not just anyone with a microphone.
“You can hire your Uncle Joe,” Logan Delaware, owner and founder of Big Mouth Announcing, says. “But then you’re just gonna get your Uncle Joe.”
Delaware has been emceeing professionally for 13 years. He now does voice-over work, commercials, galas, sporting events and races all over Austin. If it needs a voice, he’s probably worked it. But in the beginning, before he was the voice of the fitness event community, he was just a guy with a nine-to-five IT job who competed and volunteered at races on the weekends.
“He’s become the MacGyver of announcing,” says Kate Doyle, Delaware’s wife and business partner. “He’s worked every aspect of race production — from slinging fences, coaching, competing and now to delivering the information and entertainment.”
It all started in 2003, when Delaware was working for RunFAR, a timing and race production company. He was “slinging fence” and doing the heavy lifting when Raul Najera, the CEO of RunFAR, asked him to take over on the mic while he needed a break to use the restroom. Three hours passed and Najera never returned after he had gotten sidetracked with other event details.
Alone, Delaware only had a race program, a mic and some essential caffeine.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “I just figured I would start cracking jokes and heckling the people I knew in the race — and it worked.”
After that, it wasn’t long before he was doing 25-30 events a year.
Known for his ability to connect with the crowd and the athletes, all of the business came to him by word-of-mouth. He became busy enough that friends started telling him it was time to make it a full-time gig. Thus, Big Mouth Announcing was born.
“We started really small, working with just a few speakers and borrowing what else we might have needed,” Delaware says. “Now, we own all of our own equipment, a few vans and have a team of four announcers.”
The business continues to grow, especially with the addition of Ben Williams and Erin Truslow, the two other contracted announcers on the team. This past Thanksgiving, the team worked three turkey trots simultaneously. Delaware announcing at one and Doyle at another, they opted to change their tradition to spend their holiday together on that following Friday.
Ask Delaware what it takes to become a fan-favorite emcee, and he’ll just smile and say, “M&Ms and soda water are a great place to start.”
Those who have heard his voice know it’s much more than candy or caffeine that makes his business so successful. Not only does Big Mouth Announcing do all of their own set up, sound check and takedown, but they do it all with a perfectionist’s mindset so that their announcing will go as smoothly as possible.
“The attention and detail he places in moments like the kids’ races truly sets him apart.” Doyle says. “He knows how to scale to the type of crowd at hand.”
Doing it for so long, Delaware understands the ins-and-outs of staying on time with information, keeping people moving and watching what he says. While “Uncle Joe” may be unfiltered, Big Mouth Announcing knows how to play the game.
Announcing is an art, and what comes out of the perfect setup is that the talent truly shows through.
“Logan sets the tone of a race immediately,” Doyle says. “He’s confident and his energy is infectious. He just makes you feel good.”
Having been involved in the racing community in some way, shape or form since long before someone ever handed him a mic, Delaware is also able to share in that experience of the event through telling jokes and stories.
“I get to get paid to tell jokes and meet amazing people.” he says.
It’s a lot more than well-timed dad jokes. Delaware shares uplifting commentary that he references from his days as a running coach, relatable anecdotes from his own life experiences and inspiring stories about real people. He often shares the story of a time he chose not to finish a race in 2009. He tells this story to remind those competing and those spectating that there’s something special about knowing yourself well enough to know what you can or can’t do, as well as remind them all that it’s okay to have fun, and it’s okay to not perform to perfection every time.
“The next time you run a race, if you have to walk off early, you run just a little bit harder,” he says. “You have something to prove, and you always do.”
Over his 13 years in the Austin fitness community, he’s seen athletes grow in their abilities, overcome obstacles or even just celebrate new milestones — and he takes the time to share these bits of their lives with the crowd. It’s in these stories, encouraging words and understanding momentos that Big Mouth Announcing creates an energy fitting for that final stretch of a raceway.
“I think what athletes don’t realize is that every time they race, they are adding to Logan’s story,” Doyle says. “To know he potentially made someone’s race a little bit better is the most valuable gift he can receive.”