321 GO!

Riley Clermont: Origins of This runDisney Announcer and How He Became "The Man of the People"

January 02, 2024 Carissa Galloway and John Pelkey Season 1 Episode 29
321 GO!
Riley Clermont: Origins of This runDisney Announcer and How He Became "The Man of the People"
321 GO! +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Every now and then, a person walks into your life and brings a spark that ignites a sense of joy and camaraderie. Riley Clermont is precisely that kind of person, and today, we're toasting to his spirit and sharing stories from his remarkable journey. From the sun-kissed shores of Coral Gables, Florida, to the tranquil beauty of Western North Carolina, Riley's path has been nothing short of extraordinary. As he opens up about his life's adventures and his deep connection with the runDisney community, you'll understand why he's not just an announcer but a cherished member of the running family.

As performers and theme park enthusiasts, we've all danced to the tune of auditions and costume changes. Riley, our spotlight-stealer, walks us through the maze of entertainment at Universal Studios and Disney, recalling tales from horror makeup shows to stunt spectaculars. Our shared laughter over being sports novices at the ESPN club is testament to the unexpected turns our careers have taken. Yet, it's within these narratives that we discover the essence of our bond—our transformation from independent contractors to the voices that uplift every runner at the starting line, establishing an indelible connection with the community we've grown to love.

Cap off your listening experience with a peek behind the curtain of a runDisney announcer's life. With Riley leading the charge, uncover the meticulous planning, the early wake-up calls, and the joy of post-race relaxation by the pool. We'll regale you with tales of favorite race costumes and the poignant interviews that leave a lasting mark on our hearts. Through Riley's eyes, we celebrate not only the races but the incredible individuals who lace up their shoes and set out to conquer them. Join us for this heartfelt reminiscence, where every mile tells a story and every runner's journey is an inspiration.

Support the show

Let Registered Dietitian Carissa Galloway lead you through a science-backed plan to transform the way you think about your diet.
Visit www.GallowayCourse.com and use the code PODCAST at checkout for a great discount!

Become a 321 Go! supporter. Help us continue to create! HERE

Follow us!
@321GoPodcast
@carissa_gway
@pelkman19

Email us 321GoPodcast@gmail.com

Order Carissa's New Book - Run Walk Eat

Improve sleep, boost recovery and perform at your best with PILLAR’s range of magnesium recovery supplements.
Use code 321GO at www.theFeed.com to get 15% off

Let Sara Akers with RunsOnMagic plan your next runDisney weekend!
IG @runsonmagic or you can go to www.RUNSONMAGIC.com or email her runsonmagictravel@gmail.com Use Promo Code 321GO

Fluffy Fizzies
Get some glitter lips! Use code CARISSAGALLOWAY for 10% off






Speaker 1:

Welcome to 321 Go the Podcast. I'm John Pelkey.

Speaker 2:

And I'm Karissa Galloway, and we're bringing you stories from start to finish to keep the everyday athlete motivated to keep moving towards the next finish.

Speaker 1:

Alright, for those of you who don't know and just stumbled upon this podcast by mistake, first of all, I'm sorry, and Karissa and I well, we're just two of the team of Run Disney announcers in the US and one of our fellow announcers is my one of my closest friends, if not my closest friend, even though you know he moved away and I think that was an attempt to get further away from me. But it's everybody's hail fellow well met Corral man himself, riley Claremont and, frankly, karissa. I think we need to tell people more about the big man.

Speaker 2:

I think we should. And before we do, though, two things I just want to say real quickly. One, I wrote that intro terribly, and you did a wonderful job of it. Two, I like that I wrote in I'm sorry, and you said that as well. So you're a man of the people too, but he is the man of the people, riley Claremont. But what else is there to the layers of the big, lovable man down in the carousel? Today, we present to you a bonus episode, the origin story, if you will, of Riley Claremont. That's my little Marvel nod, because I love the origin stories, and that's what we're going to do. We're going to peel back the layers to find out what makes Riley Riley. So if you're new to 321 Go or one of our beloved veteran listeners, thank you, please subscribe. Take your friends' phones, steal them, subscribe for them. That would be ideal. Share on social media. If you have ideas for an episode, a chat, a history minute, email us at 321GoPodcast at gmailcom and let's do this Joining us today.

Speaker 1:

A member of our One Disney announced team, he is a man of the people, effervescent gadfly, whatever you want to call him. He is an integral part to what we do and really has the opportunity to hear more of your inspirational stories than even Chris and I. My good friend, fellow member of my wedding party, riley Claremont what's up, riles?

Speaker 3:

Hello everybody, Hello guys, Hello Run Disney Family, Great to join you. Thanks for having me on the show.

Speaker 2:

Where are you joining us from? We always ask people where are you?

Speaker 3:

I am between Hendersonville, north Carolina and Mills River, north Carolina, so it's a Hendersonville zip code, but we're so much closer to Mills River and that's where the kid goes to school, so I'll say Mills River, north Carolina, between Hendersonville and Asheville.

Speaker 1:

It's gorgeous and by the kid, riley means my godchild Emery, who I have not seen in forever because Riley and his wife, post-covid, hit the road, just got out of Orlando, said that's it. We're bugging out of here and ended up in beautiful Western North Carolina and we're all envious that you're there, though not envious that you actually have to drive home after a run Disney one and a run.

Speaker 2:

We have to make sure he's safe.

Speaker 3:

Yes, it varies in, you know, I mean that eight and a half hours. I mean by the time I get to Orlando I'm like this, and by the time I get home I'm all frazzled because it's just eight and a half hours, it's a long drive.

Speaker 3:

Once or twice, but I don't stop long, just simply for fuel. And so, after eight and a half hours of just concentration, especially on 26 and I-95 and then I-4, literally the three worst highways in the country, if not the world, I'm a little fried. But the journey, I get to listen to the podcast, you know, I get to focus, I get to be alone, which is nice. But yeah, it's a small price to pay to still be a part of this great thing.

Speaker 2:

We're about to get started, but I just want to make sure people are aware. Do you wear a diaper for the drive? Because you said you only stop for fuel. So fuel and that, okay. So it's not like the astronaut lady from you know a decade ago.

Speaker 3:

No, no, no even though I'm a man of a certain age, for some reason on the road, you know I don't have that compulsion. You know I can literally can break it down into like, either you know, one or two gas stops.

Speaker 2:

Well, this has started. Well, John, I think.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, absolutely Talking about Riley's regularity to the bathroom.

Speaker 3:

Great great start everybody, hey, welcome, welcome. Talking about cross-dates, I hope you're listening over breakfast.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right. What's the Awareness Month? Is it November, anyway, okay. So we're gonna rewind the wheels of time a little bit, riley, because people know you, as John said, the man of the people, the guy getting the stories, it's in it, it wants to share everything. But let's go back because, at our core, all of us have this role because we started as a performer. We were at some point, you know, a Disney performer. So let's talk about how you got started as a performer.

Speaker 3:

Well, I mean like the whole thing, or yeah, the whole thing.

Speaker 2:

Nope, this is it. This is the origin story.

Speaker 1:

Take us through Coral Gables. I want to hear about Naples. We got to hear about the high school years Give us A different school every year.

Speaker 3:

All of it, I can maybe skip some of that.

Speaker 3:

My dad was a police officer in Coral Gables, florida, which is, you know, a city right in the middle of Miami-Dade County. So he did that for 32 years. So that's part of my background. My mom was a Southern housewife who internalized everything. So on the dad's side I had somebody who would blow up, you know, for a 30-second straight and then five minutes later wonder why everyone was shocked and frightened of him. Come on, what I'm over it, it's all good. And on the other hand I had a Southern woman who would go sullen and just not talk to everybody for four days. So my wife and child again, they're saints because they put up with that dynamic and hopefully I've tamped that down.

Speaker 2:

Is this why you relate to all the Run Disney stories so well, Because you're upbringing. You had to navigate a lot.

Speaker 3:

Man and I told you I laid out the whole school thing the other day. As far as you know, St Teresa's for kindergarten.

Speaker 2:

So we are going to do it.

Speaker 1:

John, I won't go through all that, but yeah like 12 different schools in 12 years.

Speaker 3:

Anyway, performing obviously was a way to fit in and I was the narrator of Bambi in second grade and from that point on I pretty much knew that this is what I want to do, for some strange reason. So flash forward into high school. I was lucky enough to go to a high school that did a lot of plays, even though my graduating class was literally like 98 kids. But our theater director there or he was a history but history teacher but did tons of plays loved that. Dave Hartley and his lovely wife Darlene. She was the chorus teacher. We must have done six productions throughout the, throughout the year. So that led to me going to Flat Rock because my sister Lynn lived up here in Hendersonville and taught school at rugby middle school.

Speaker 3:

Flat Rock Playhouse is the state theater of North Carolina. At that point it was just simply summer stock. Now it's pretty much year round and a great regional theater. They do great work. But I was the youngest apprentice in Flat Rock Playhouse's history. I was 16 when I got accepted Out there. The summer of my junior year, senior year, went a total of eight summers throughout college and so that was really the springboard to everything professionally and theater. I spent some time in playing in a band in Fort Walton Beach, florida, up in the Panhandle, florida. That was two years Then went to New York, did that for a couple of years and then ended up moving out to Nebraska for love, omaha, nebraska.

Speaker 2:

How'd that work out?

Speaker 3:

I didn't. There were a couple of great years but, yeah, way too young for all that and just you know, yeah, not prepared. I was not prepared. So moved back to Orlando because I had friends from Flat Rock that lived in Orlando Mark and Paige Warwick. Paige Posey and Mark Warwick, who worked at Disney she was the company manager at that point at Flat Rock. He ended up moving back to Flat Rock to be with her. I ended up getting a gig at Universal Studios as Claude Hopper in the Wild West stunt show and that moment changed my life because before that I was, it was rock bottom because I literally had to wait tables at Bennigans on iDrive for about a year.

Speaker 2:

I waited tables at Bennigans. Well, I wasn't. I didn't even wait tables, I was a hostess at Bennigans in Tallahassee.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I hadn't heard the bling, and I got that gig because Mark was working there part-time as a manager. Anyway, once I got the gig at Universal, from that point on, from 1992 until today, I'm proud to say that I've done nothing for a living except all the things that you do dancing for grandma, the voiceovers, the theater. Again, orlando is such a great, great place to land. At that point. John will attest to this and Karissa you can attest to it as well, because you know, other than New York, los Angeles, there's no other place where you can make your bread and butter, your rent and get benefits by performing every single day.

Speaker 3:

And I'll never forget the conversations I had with some of my buddies up in New York, saying when are you coming back? How can you work at a theme park? And I'm like brothers and sisters, it is not like it was in the 70s, we're not lip syncing and doing that up with people, stuff. There's improv, there's stunt shows, there's good quality work going on that challenges you every single day. And, lucky enough for John and I, we were caught up in that kind of first generation of theme park performers that was so much more diversified than what was done in the past and then that led to theater, voiceover work, some commercial work, you name it. As John famously says, our resumes are an inch deep and a mile wide, and I take great, great pride in that. I'm also blessed. Last thing started monologue. I'm also blessed to have a wife, Michelle, who was on the management side of things and still is. Sorry, john, when you're married to a performer, and if you're not a performer, that can get rough.

Speaker 3:

And thankfully, michelle never, ever wanted me to force me to grow up, quote unquote.

Speaker 1:

Well, at least Michelle had it. She was a tech, as we affectionately call them, and she worked in production and stuff. So she had an idea. I'm married to an actress. So you know both cancers and actors. So it can get colorful. It can get awfully colorful yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I'm allowed a follow up question here. John has, john has thus written it this way. So you and Johnny both kind of came in the universal door, but we're Disney, we're Team Disney. So as a kid, were you a Disney kid? Did you come to the parks? You weren't too far away, you know. Did you grow up with a little Disney magic? Because, as we know, johnny grew up with very little magic.

Speaker 3:

And we paid the price for that lack of magic in John's life. But, yes, my childhood, despite the fact of what I laid out earlier, as far as the loud pop and the very silence, a Southern woman when I mentioned Bambi in second grade, it was also my birthday that we performed that. So, second grade birthday, no one's saying squat about my birthday, no one's mentioning it and I'm not saying anything. They're giving me love about Bambi, but there's not. They're not giving me any birthday love. So I go to sleep that night going, man, you know, did everybody just forget about my birthday?

Speaker 3:

Well, that morning, the next morning, my sister used to work for Eastern Airlines, if you remember that airline. Back in the day the next morning they woke me up, surprised me at like five o'clock in the morning, got dressed, got on a plane from Naples, that's right. We flew in a plane from Naples to Orlando and, through lens connections with Eastern, hooked us up at the Polynesian. So that was my surprise. So it was, you know, finding out what my application was going to be one night and then the very next morning, going to Disney and this had to be what like 72. So if you saw pictures, my mom put me in slacks and a sports coat. It's ridiculous. Everybody is so dressed up to get on the plane to go to Disney world. I mean, it was such a different world back then. But yes, totally Disney. Watching a wonderful order of Disney every Sunday night, going to the theme park for the first time, that's a seminal memory. So, yes, I'm steeped in the Disney.

Speaker 1:

I, just I'm real, but yeah, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

They could have, like, still gotten you a birthday cake and then surprised you the next day. They didn't need to go so hard.

Speaker 3:

That's the kind of family I grew up in. Right John, you could have said like happy birthday, and then the next day. No, no, no. We're just going to. We're going to make this kid think we've all forgotten them. We're going to make this kid miserable for the night, and then we're going to make him very happy the next morning.

Speaker 2:

Did you forget them?

Speaker 1:

They break you down, then they build you up again. That's how it works. That's your dad's cop. You had that kind of military feel. Break them down, the cop and the coke. So yeah, all that explains so very much.

Speaker 3:

Do you have sympathy for me now? No, no, no, no, none whatsoever.

Speaker 1:

No, I've paid the price of your upbringing as well.

Speaker 3:

So I think I think I threatened to punch John in the nose on stage once.

Speaker 1:

Yep, absolutely, during a horror makeup show. Which leads to my next question. See, this is why we're simpaticos synchronicity, all that sort of stuff, before we jump even further into your run Disney career. And then we are going to get to talking about wine and dine and everything this week, your other gigs and I tried to think about this because Ryles and I have been working together since I believe 1992, right, it's. I believe you came to horror makeup at Universal in 1992. You mentioned Claude at Wild Wild West. I just mentioned horror makeup. Can you remember all of the roles you played, all those?

Speaker 3:

years. Both characters of horror makeup thought Hopper at Wild West on show. I was peck briefly.

Speaker 1:

And I think that's a ghostbusters reference for Ghostbusters.

Speaker 3:

briefly, and I think that's it as far as, like the venue shows. But as you and I both know the amount of special events that thing they used to do at soundstage 33, that was a regular concern for about a year or so. I did that regularly, but other than that it was just doing local theater. I mean, that's where I met Michelle at Theater Downtown. But that's pretty much all I can remember as far as the venue, specific roles and then a ton, thankfully, of special events and stuff.

Speaker 1:

All right. And then your career then from horror makeup on mirrors, mine, we end up a lot of the same places working together. Horror makeup, obviously. We met, started working together. I was at Ghostbusters as a tully and a pack when you were came over and had a cup of coffee as a pack. But then we all sort of move over to Disney, or you and I the ESPN club. We started the ESPN club. Then we start doing stuff at the sports complex and we both end up, oddly, at the Indiana Jones epic stunt spectacular. The move over to Disney. For you, what was that like? Because I know for me it was, it was. It was a bit of a shift from what I was used to. I'd always wanted to work there, but it got used to really the universal experience and for performers, particularly back then, they're very different.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely different. I mean, the main thing was just logistically, because I was going from working doubles, you know, I would work at horror makeup and then drive over and do ESPN club. But then that just started to burn me out. I was giving so many shifts to Joe Candelora hey, joe, shout out to Joe Candelora, I'm sure he's not listening to me. Both places have treated us so well. Especially universal was just. I mean, I've got nothing but good things to say about universal. Despite all that, some of the day to day stuff ESPN club was a different animal because it was such a good gig, we were doing such good work. I just feel like we were never trusted by some of the management.

Speaker 2:

That's still true, you're still not trusted by the management, I'm just kidding.

Speaker 3:

No, no, look, the story of our lives is always going to be. Basically, why the writer's guild and why SAG and after went on strike, is that there's always going to be that fight between the money people and the creatives. If we could just look, you know, all work together and say, baby, you know, we were on an open mic at the ESPN club which shows every single day. I don't think we ever once, and with no script, completely improv every single day. I don't think we ever got a single complaint as far as going up to that Disney line and never crossing it. That was our skill set. For some reason, we could never convince some of the managers there that, look, we've got your best interest at heart. We care as much about the bottom line of this company as you do, because if you're not making money, we're not making money anyway.

Speaker 3:

So that was. There was just a little bit of a culture shift as far as how the performers were viewed, and I think maybe we were under extra suspicion because at that point, john, we were outside, we weren't cast members, we were independent contractors, and that led to a whole slew of things that we could devote a three hour show to. But we won't. And I guess there was a one year where we would get a paycheck every three months.

Speaker 1:

There really is. We did have trouble getting paid for a while, it was pretty wild. But yeah, and I think I also think and you know this, I enjoy working for the Disney Company. But there weren't a lot of people then and I think there's probably not a lot of people now who really really understand sports and the and the and how much impact sports have on people's lives, and I think that's why we were, we were thought of. You know, there's such a history of Disney and what it is that adding that into it for a lot of people was uncomfortable and they just didn't get it.

Speaker 3:

Well, I think I can go this far to say this without offending anyone. We would make a point I would make a point personally that every new manager we got that I would always make a point in that initial conversation to say hey, by the way, all of us here you, mark myself we're all theater, we're all musical theater kids. We would much rather I would much rather be on stage right now doing Fiddler Oklahoma or something like that, than talking sports, god knows, because I just wanted those folks. I think there were a lot of folks in management that viewed us as jocks, as that. You know as, as you know, all these guys were probably my bullies back in high school.

Speaker 1:

Clearly they didn't know about either your clearly they didn't know about either your nor my high school football resume. They would not have thought of us as jocks in any way.

Speaker 3:

Yes, I played football but, like I said, anytime that I had the opportunity to do a play over football, I would absolutely do that 100%.

Speaker 2:

All right. Well, so I have a question and it's kind of like an explanation, but we want to make it specific to you, riley, because a lot of people ask us well, how did you guys get involved in Run Disney and it's all for us, and even Tracy a little bit the same way because you guys were at ESPN Club. I was, you know, I was originally staffed at ESPN Wide World of Sports and so when they were looking to expand the bench of race announcers, that was the bench they went to. Who are our sports hosts? Who are our sports announcers? For you, you know, you were primarily ESPN Club. Then you started to come over to Wide World of Sports, so how did you eventually get into Run Disney? What were those early years like for you?

Speaker 3:

I was initially brought in, I think, just to do, you know, the half or the marathon. I wouldn't come in at all for the five-care, the 10K, but I was brought in and I remember I would wear my ESPN hat, my ESPN bomber jacket because, you know, that's what I was told I was representing. Was, you know, out in the way way? You know, never anywhere near the stage, way, way, way out in the boondocks doing interviews, you know, and we didn't even start telling stories way, way back then. It was just simply hey, what's your goal? Blah, blah, blah, heavy trained, I mean real, real quick hits. I remember they would start, they started to try to give me wardrobe, and God loves.

Speaker 2:

You said no, you said no to a hat. No, no, no, no.

Speaker 3:

I knew this because well, because on one hand, I kind of resented being asked to put on the costume when I'm not really part of the team. The other thing was just from a practical standpoint. I was literally being shot chest up. So all of the stuff that they would ever give me to put on is like none of this is going to show up. I am way down at you know, corral J, it's freezing cold. I'm just going to wear, you know what I'm wearing?

Speaker 2:

So you're saying you weren't a team player back then?

Speaker 3:

I guess I wasn't. I guess I wasn't, but in my mind at least I'm okay Sweet.

Speaker 2:

Seneca, just bringing you the magic, and you, I'm only going to be shot from here up. I just I don't.

Speaker 3:

I just you know Well in our defense wardrobe has been considerably upgraded over the last few seasons and we salute them. We give them so much love and they deserve every bit of it. Back in the day, you know, wardrobe is a little different story, so I would look at some of the stuff and go, no, no, I'm not going to wear that.

Speaker 2:

All right, so I've got two notes, two notes on the early years. Didn't you and I might be wrong here weren't you involved in being at the baseball stadium first, or when did that part Can? Can you paint us that picture?

Speaker 3:

We'd start out and again, you know now, thankfully we're, you know, we're picked up at the hotel, driven over in a van, all that kind of stuff. It's very fancy, but back in the day I would have to drive myself and follow their you know their directions and as we laughed about this weekend, we would get the note oh yeah, just sweet talk your way past the Florida Highway Patrol, and there's probably some people that can sweet talk your way past. Fat.

Speaker 1:

That is true, yeah.

Speaker 3:

With this mug. No, no, I'm not.

Speaker 1:

And pointing out to people that none of us I don't think Chris was, none of us were cast members, so we didn't even have a Disney ID. Still, just still don't.

Speaker 3:

No, nothing, just sweet talking them about this, anyway. So I would get there, I would go do my hit, couple of hits, you know, go back to my car, try, and, you know, somehow find a way to get from that point over to Champion Stadium or the ESPN Club, wide World of Sports. So all the traffic, all that nonsense, and then I would be in the stadium. And that's how I think Tracy and I met was one time we were paired together because we would sit there and talk about the athletes running through the stadium. There would be bands there, so that would be a lot of fun, but that's how it started. And then I would go over and do the Sunday football show at the ESPN Club. So I was triple dipping. It was great, but it was very, very exhausting and I'm much, much happier now being an official part of the Run Disney team.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, and the next question that I wrote is really really poorly written, so I'll throw that out there, and so you can. You can hold that against me. Read it exactly as it's written.

Speaker 2:

I'm just kidding. Read it as it's written, don't try to make it better, even though yesterday, when we were taping, john, I wrote the word the two times and you did not say the word the two times. Well done.

Speaker 1:

You know, I did actually see that I'd like to shout out to the band, the favorite band of mine, way back in the day. I thought it was some sort of sneaky reference. I thought it was a. What do they call that? I thought it was a when they hide, like a little clue, easter egg Easter egg.

Speaker 1:

Sure, there you go. Thank you for that and, by the way, you're that's continuing because you typed in a follow up I have on as opposed to I have one. So you're typing skills, carissa, I've deteriorated since the wine and dine and you may need to look at daylight savings.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I don't know about you, but my kids waking up too early, down with daylight savings, yeah both got up this morning early and then the kid was up at 6am.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I don't like daylight savings time. I went to bed at 945 last night. Yeah, I went to bed at 945.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I'm so tired it must be 1130 and 945. So that's, that's my alright.

Speaker 3:

Here's my bad question a few days to readjust to a normal clock, and then you throw a daylight savings time in the middle of that and it's a nightmare. I don't know how we do it. We are literally we have the toughest gigs on earth.

Speaker 1:

Nobody has it worse than us, I think I think it's true, we can point that out, all right.

Speaker 1:

So my question was about you know, from those early years to what it's become today. I was asking did you have any idea? Well, that's a stupid question because of course we all did. We didn't have any idea. But when you look back at that and I had that same experience that you did with driving in and talking through, you know, there were, there were years when there was another host on stage with Carissa and I would, I'd have to fight my way off property to try to get home. You know, and I'm getting home at like 9 o'clock in the morning and just exhausted, and then knowing I had to get up and drive in at like 1130 the next, the next night, and everybody at home is like, oh yeah, great, quit your wine and Johnny, but yeah.

Speaker 1:

But you look at what it is today and you're right. We have a, we have a structure that we use right now, which, again, there's a lot of improv, but we really do have something to hang our hat on as far as knowing where we're going next, which we didn't often do back in the past. Again, I don't want to ask you if you knew it could be something like this. But when you look at it today, how amazed are you again, because we've talked about sports didn't always get a lot of support in and around the Disney. Look at today at what it's become and just marvel in it for a moment.

Speaker 3:

I do marvel at it, I revel in it, and, again, I'm just so, so, so joyous that I'm, you know any part of it, and I think I speak for all of us. We'll put out this caveat right off the bat that we understand that if there's a crowd of 20,000 people or between 15 and 20,000 people, that maybe 5,000, if that are listening or paying attention or at least that's what I always have in my mind that we are a very, very small part of it. We are very, very humble about our role to play within the Walt Disney, within the Run Disney family. Having said that, though, the thing that amazes me and makes me feel so good about our situation is that you could literally chart from back in the day the reactions that we get, the contact that we get, the people that now reach out to me on social media. That is the biggest difference that I see, and I think that is foundational from the point that you know yes, management has embraced it Run Disney now is a well-oiled machine. The things that they have to do logistically are just amazing, and we're all in awe of them, and we can get more into that as we talk about the wine and dine, but this past wine and dine, I think you'd agree with me. I mean it was basically flawless. I mean such a good time right from the jump, the vibe and the chemistry between us that translates to the crowd, the way that the crowd brings that love, that energy back to us.

Speaker 3:

I am always stunned and amazed when we're slapping high fives and giving out sweaty hugs at the finish line, the amount of people that run by and say thank you, and every time I'm like man, no, thank you, because it is all about you. And I think that's something that we've learned. I think that's something that Run Disney as an entity, as an organization, has learned is that it is about the athlete. It is about the athlete. It is about the athlete and all the color and the fun and the entertainment and the character stops. All of that is secondary to the athlete. If they are the most important, they're the ones that have to be featured, because without them, you know, nothing else exists. Did I hit on anything with all that?

Speaker 2:

Well, we'll see. We'll see what they say. I think so, and John and I have talked about this, and you even talked about it a little bit, you know, because what was it like when you started? And it was like, oh whoa, you're going to announce a marathon, you get overtime. Oh, we overtime. And then you were saying I was doing three, you know, triple shift, I was double dipping and I think at some point for me, earlier than you guys, it made a turn and it wasn't like this is oh good, I'm going to make money that week. And it was like I get to do this, I get to be a part of it.

Speaker 2:

I can't wait to see the people. I can't wait for the feelings, because you know the emotions that the people give. We feel them too, and we know it's very rare in life that you get to experience the joy and excitement. That's essentially what sports is. You're sitting down, you don't know what's going to transpire from a race or a game, but all you're hoping is to get to feel something, that kind of joy that you can't see coming, and that's kind of, I think, what we get. So did I hit on what you were trying to hit on? Have we all hit on the same thing?

Speaker 3:

I feel. I feel so. You know I don't mean to be a Pollyanna and be all corny, but by God, it's just the truth. And by the way that's, I noticed I slipped into that this weekend a lot. I said by God, a lot, and I don't know where that came from and I don't think it came from North Carolina. I hope not. Anyway, yes, it's gone from something where it's like hey, I'm proud to be a part of this and I'm being compensated at a level where I feel really good about that. That continues.

Speaker 3:

So, at the foundation of everything just being a gig, I feel like we're well treated, well compensated, and who can ask for more than that?

Speaker 3:

What puts it over the top is as far as just this life altering, life changing thing for us is what you just laid out, chris, and I'm sure you said the same thing, john, when I listened to your episode with DW on the way home on I-95, cc Turner texted that he was in tears on I-75 and I said same on I-95. And the fact that there are two members of the Run Disney family on interstates listening to DW and you guys and literally tearing up because it's so moving, and that is a metaphor for the entire experience. When you see the transformations of some of these folks physically, from how they looked five or 10 years ago to how they look and how they're living now, that's amazing when you're able to share their stories. The woman who ran seven days removed from a double mastectomy well, she couldn't run, she walked but she showed up and she did the whole weekend, did the whole weekend. The older lady who was running, I believe, the 10K and then the very next day she was going in for hip replacement.

Speaker 2:

It was the half. It was the half, yeah, because I took a picture with her and she had a little Winnie the Pooh crop top on. Yes, right, she was so happy to be getting that new hip.

Speaker 1:

Nobody's asking me what my favorite moment is of the weekend. Maybe we'll get to that, but that was so because I just thought, oh my God, she's taking the old hip out for one last. It's like she had a convertible and now she had to buy a minivan and it's like you know what, I'm going to take that old convertible out for one more half marathon. And I saw her at the finish line and she looked happy, smiling, and the next day, monday, she's going in to have hip replacement. So I'm constantly amazed at the human spirit.

Speaker 3:

And the warm turn for me, and I forget how many years ago it was, but it happened very organically and I remember feeling I felt a little on the spot like am I doing something wrong? Because it was like two or three pretty epically harrowing stories in a row and we had not started really doing that. And I think the third one in a row was a woman. I can see her face and I forget the specifics of her story, but she had just lost someone. She'd lost a close friend that she was supposed to do the race with and at one point she was just overcome and she literally I'll never forget, and she didn't just hug me, her face and head, hit my chest, she needed me to stay on her feet because she was getting so upset. And that was such a pure humane, human moment. And when I came off the feeling wasn't you know, I didn't get this pushback that I have expected of, like Riley Riley, we can't have any more of this. This is supposed to be fun. This is supposed to be uplifting. We're supposed to be getting people up. There wasn't any of that. Everyone was moved and I will give jumping ahead.

Speaker 3:

I'll give our older show director, matthew Hamill, credit for the fact that when we came back from COVID again, I was prepared for hey, let's not talk about it, you know, let's pretend it didn't happen. Let's just, you know, rejoin this thing in a fun way. We don't want to remind everyone of the catharsis that we've all just been through. Matthew, to his credit, was like no Feature, it, let's talk about it. From that point on again, I think we've been leading up to it. But when Matthew gave us carte blanche to share the stories, like I like to say, whether they're happy or harrowing or something in between, you can talk about it all and it doesn't matter as long as it's real and authentic, that, to me, is the best thing about my experience with Run Disney is that we get to be real and honest and authentic about the experiences that the athletes are having.

Speaker 2:

You do a great job of that, just a fantastic job, because it's not well. Again, this is not an easy job to be out there in the crowd. John and I had both done it before. We kind of got the structure we've been in for a while and it's definitely not an easy job. But I want to talk a little bit about your routines. People ask us a lot what's our weekend routine, our morning routine? So for you on a race weekend, what's your race morning routine? And then post-race routine, like I used to.

Speaker 3:

I set the alarm for an hour before we're supposed to get up.

Speaker 2:

So 12, 30. Boggling mind, boggling to me.

Speaker 3:

I don't know. I just like I don't want to be rushed, so I'll take a shower, get off. He does the folks he doesn't like to be rushed, just so you know.

Speaker 2:

And last minute changes, don't do it.

Speaker 3:

No, no, or I have to go back and get my phone. Anyway, we can talk about that. And again, thank you, chris and John, for being so patient, but that's pretty much it.

Speaker 3:

So just get dressed, get ready, go out, wait for the van and then do the gig. And then post-race, it's back to the room and basically collapsing for a while I'll go grab something to eat. I like to sit out by the pool. I don't get in the pool yet. Maybe I'll do that in future dates as I continue to lose more weight myself. But I'll sit out there and read for a while, just get some sunshine, some natural light. But then I just go back to the room and watch in sports or watching a movie, and then I usually crash again or get in bed. You know, probably no later than seven Are you eating?

Speaker 2:

That's pretty much it. Do you eat.

Speaker 1:

Do you eat food, of course, Well, let me ask you this question, because people always ask us this and we've talked about the time management thing Do you generally find it better to catch a nap or to fight through and get yourself to around 7 o'clock so you'll drop? Because part of the problem with going to bed at 7 o'clock if you've had a two-hour nap, is now your body's like well, I don't need to sleep. I've kind of managed that I can do the nap and move on. Do you choose to do? I don't know if this is even interesting to anybody, but honestly, it is the single most difficult part Whatever happens.

Speaker 3:

You know whatever happens organically, in other words, I go back to the room, get a little bit of nosh, you know, lay in bed, you know put on the news or put on sports or whatever, and if I naturally fall asleep then I'm good with that and then I'll wake up. Usually my body clock is, you know, down for maybe an hour hour and 15 minutes back up and then do some stuff during the day, but then I always like to put myself back in bed, you know whether I'm sleeping or not, you know by 6.37 o'clock so that I can drift off, if that's what happens, and usually by 7.30 or 8 o'clock if I'm not asleep. That's when I turn everything off and put on the sound machine and then just force myself to at least doze and I'm sure you guys have had plenty of nights like that or you don't sleep, you just doze for a few hours and then it's time to get up.

Speaker 2:

And then you have the one night where you like wake up. Oh God, what is it? Where are we? What time is it? What have I done? What am I supposed to be doing?

Speaker 3:

You know at least the comfort I have, and also what I've noticed the last few times is that that first night I get a little heartache about being away from Emory and Michelle, but especially Emory. And now that Emory can text I think I showed you a couple of things where she's sending me this little gif of a stitch, just in tears, and she's like please come home, daddy, and of course it just breaks my heart.

Speaker 2:

So you say gif.

Speaker 3:

So I have to deal with that burden as well.

Speaker 2:

So you go with gif. Right, You're going with gif. It's not a gif.

Speaker 1:

It's a gif. It's a gif in your, in your? I don't know. I was officially gif, I well.

Speaker 2:

I'm not J. I thought it was a gif. I'll go with the consistency. No, I don't know either.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm a rule follower, so I just want to know. I want to know what I'm supposed to say. And I'm already so bad about like social media and everything people make fun of me that I still have an AOL email address. What is mine. Spend mine for a while. I have another one, but it's not mine for a while, doesn't Riley, though?

Speaker 3:

No, no, no, I've got Gmail. I still. I'm still rocking Dell Genius because that's a tribute.

Speaker 2:

Well, now everyone can email you. Riley, you've just given out your email to the world.

Speaker 3:

The Dellica Genius. There's a number attached to it. Ok, that's right. Dell Genius was I want to say maybe it is gif, John.

Speaker 1:

I think you might. Ok, I've heard both and I don't know. And you know, and Riley's much. He's got a young daughter. He's much more up on these sort of things than me and I just want to make sure I'm not making a mistake. And we talked a little about your driving back and forth to you. I think you do something really really smart on your Monday is that you leave like really early generally Because people who don't know driving home you have to massage, getting through areas like Jacksonville when you're not hitting them during rush hour.

Speaker 3:

Well, I hit Jacksonville during rush hour Monday and for some reason Waze always takes me on the 295 beltway, you know, and for some reason it said no state goes straight. And I did and it wasn't terrible.

Speaker 1:

But I should have gotten off on 295.

Speaker 3:

No Monday morning I usually this past time, as an example, I think I woke up at 445. And I'm like I'm up, let's go. And so I was on the road by 530. And then I'm home by 2 o'clock. I can pick in ramp at school. The first time I did that, I made a special point of getting back to North Carolina in time to pick in ramp at school, and she was in kindergarten at the time and I'll never forget it and I'll never let her forget it, because she saw me and she walked right past me Like she was taking it out on me that I'd been gone. So there I am, just, exhausted, waiting for this tearful oh man. When she sees me she's going to be like Daddy, and it was completely the opposite. She just looked at me with just fury and indifference and just walked past me to the car and that's when you realize the last few times she's been much more you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's when you realize she has a little of your mom's DNA. She was that seven woman holding you. She was holding a grudge because you had upset her. So there you go. It's all about the DNA, folks, trust me, it's all about the DNA. All right, let's move on to costumes, because it is the question we brought it up with you. There was a period of time where you were not a team player and you would not wear the costumes.

Speaker 2:

He pushed them away.

Speaker 1:

That's right. Too shunned to push away the costumes, but now we've all embraced it because the costuming of it has become really like a big part of what we do. Do you have a favorite or a most memorable? Maybe not because of your favorite, maybe because it's difficult to put together. Was there something, a costume you remember that you loved? I always say my onesie was my favorite because it was the easy I could put it on. Sometimes you have several set pieces and it takes a while that one's zip the puppy up. Let's go. Do you have a favorite?

Speaker 3:

You know, lately, since we've been back after COVID, it's hard to pick a favorite because they've all been so good, they've all been so well made.

Speaker 3:

The attention to detail is just stunning to me, the work that they do. I think there's somebody who's always in charge of hats They've become spectacular, the thing that always leaps out and it's back to a different era, back when you guys were on stage with a different person, but the Mulan, where we were all dressed as the why can't I think of the Shogun Warriors? That sticks out. We had the shoulder pads and I mean it was just very, it was so well done. I mean that was a real step ahead from the era of wardrobe back then. And that always is the first one that leaps out, as I never, I'll never forget the Mulan wardrobe because I thought we all looked so cool. So that's the one that sticks out. But, like I said, everything since we've been back, since COVID, I mean Buzz Lightyear, mike was out, I mean all of them. It's just, you know, it's hard to have a favorite because they're all so good.

Speaker 2:

I have a favorite of yours. Do you know what I'm going to say?

Speaker 3:

No, no, no Sam.

Speaker 2:

Eagle, oh, I got you.

Speaker 3:

I felt you embodied it. I mean, it was you Like you were saying it like It'll be a moral race. I know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was amazing.

Speaker 3:

I really It'll be a moral nothing race, as it should be for America. Oh, it's a good one. Yeah, that was so much fun. I'm so glad you brought that up. And then that was yeah, and that wardrobe was, like you know, moss to a flame. In other words, I had people approaching me who wanted to talk on camera for the first time in a long time, simply because they wanted to get a picture with Sam Eagle. Yeah, that was spectacular.

Speaker 2:

Sam Eagle was good. He could be welcome back at any time. All right, you do spend more time talking with the athletes and doing interviews. You and Tracy are both, you know, with the people in the corrals. That's what we say. So for people that are wondering, how do you choose who to interview? How does that process work?

Speaker 3:

When I first walked out there, I literally yell, because I'm usually at corral C and I'm literally yelling, you know. Does anybody have a cause, a charity that they want to bring attention to? Does anybody have a reason, a reason, personal or otherwise, that they'd like to share with their Run Disney family? You know pretty much the same spiel I give, you know, every Run Disney race, which is you've got a story to tell. We want to tell them that early in the morning, sometimes it'll just be people, you know, hanging out by the corral on the bicycle racks and if they're dressed, you know, in a certain wardrobe that I want to feature, I'll pick them. If they make the mistake of making eye contact with me, I will go to them if nobody else has approached me.

Speaker 3:

But I've been very, very heartened, the amount of people who want to share their story, who come to me, seek me out, and this is a little bit divergent from what we're talking about. But because we're out there, you know, I have been able to hear Single-handedly the difference in response, especially to you guys, from way back in the day, when it would be like here comes John and Carissa, you know, crickets, ooh Well, no, no, no, it was never as bad as that, but there was, if there was Where's the other guy?

Speaker 3:

Just kidding, Well no, you know, I mean very, very little of that back in the day. But there was that, you know, because it was just. It was a different product. You know, maybe we were, we had a different energy and it wasn't. It just wasn't that big a deal. So when we talk about the fact that, you know I know you guys are barely paying attention there was a little bit of that vibe For the last, you know, pre-covid and especially since COVID, when you guys are introduced there is a pause, there is a palpable reaction that makes myself feel much more welcome at home.

Speaker 3:

I know that it has the same impact on Tracy, where you just feel like, okay, you know, some of these folks are actually digging what we're doing, we're not just a distraction, we're actually maybe helping them get through their morning and get prepared for the race. And Carissa, you know this, and John as well Anytime Jeff Galloway shows up, there is a physical reaction. You can feel it. It's not just something that I'm concocting or conjuring, it's something that's real and I feel it and hopefully it translates all the way to the stage. But whenever he shows his mug on camera and starts talking, there is a feeling of warmth and I think the whole run Disney family vibe kind of sprang out of that.

Speaker 2:

He's, he's, he's, he's our patriarch, he's our run Disney. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Attention must be paid, and it is actually when Jeff gives up.

Speaker 2:

Do you have maybe one or two favorite sort of interview interactions that you could share? I know there's a lot and it's always it's always hard to remember, but do you have some that stand out? And if they're from this weekend we'll save them, we'll get to the from the wine and dye weekend. But do you have any ones that, like you know, you tell it a story in North Carolina?

Speaker 3:

One that the first thing that pops into my mind, and I forget what the guy's name was and I'm sure I haven't, but anyway, folks, on my iPhone and notes and I've shown people this I mean I have just reams of just names and names, because I'm just terrible with names, names and something that would identify this person. So I'm sure if I took the time to look at that I could find his name. Anyway, this gentleman, because we've talked about we spend so much time focusing on the first timers and there are a ton of people who did it the first time. It didn't work out for them and for this gentleman specifically, he did the half and got swept and he was so humiliated, which I was like what do you? Don't be humiliated? You attempted it, you showed up. It didn't work out the way you wanted it to, but there's no reason for you to take that on yourself. But he did and he showed up the next year, the year I talked to him and he was like last year I got swept. This year, by God, that's not going to happen. And I remember all of us seeing him at the finish line and I was lucky enough to be out there and remembered his name and talked him across the finish line.

Speaker 3:

As far as you know, this was a gentleman who tried it last year, got swept, you know, felt bad about it. He's carried that with him this entire year and now look at him, he just crossed the finish line. He got that off his back. He has redefined who he is, not only for himself, for his family, but the entire run Disney family and the fact that we get to spend any time sharing, celebrating those moments. You know, I don't think any of us would do it for free, but there's that feeling in the back of your head where you're like. You know what we, when we, when I say that it's an honor and a privilege to be a part of this whole thing because of the athletes and because of their stories. That's what we're talking about and we mean it 100%.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. Just just because you're welcome to it doesn't mean your job has to suck. I mean that's kind of thing Our job does not.

Speaker 3:

But that's a personal connection. You know who has that in their professional life, where they're compensated well, they're treated well. And also the gig, the heart of the gig, is getting to share and experience these moments with the athletes, every single race, every single month, every single year.

Speaker 2:

You're absolutely right, riley. We do have one of the best jobs out there and I know John and I are both glad that we get to do it with you. And if you guys are listening, when this comes out, we are going to get to do it for some of you for mornings in a row of the 2024 dopey challenge. So thank you, riley, for joining us, thank you guys for listening and if you are listening to this live, january 3rd is the last day to sign up for healthier you and get a 20 minute nutrition consult video consult with me, your favorite registered dietitian. So go to gallowaycoursecom to sign up. And, of course, our January class of Healthier you will be signing up all month long. So make sure you join if you want to take control of your nutrition this year. Go to gallowaycoursecom to find out. Thank you guys for listening and we'll see you real soon.

The Origin Story of Riley Claremont
Career Transitions and Working at Disney
The Evolution of Run Disney
Daily Routines, Sleep, and Costumes
Favorite Costumes and Athlete Interviews