The best WhittleFit blog posts of 2019

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We're 5 days into 2020, but how fast did 2019 go??? Our WhittleFit athletes and coaches had a great year in 2019, here are my favourite blog posts from the last 12 months! 

  1. Ironman 70.3 Marbella race report: Andrew Fraser-Cole
  2. 6633 Arctic Ultra....setting the scene
  3. Ironman Wales race report: Jamie Radmore
  4. Ironman Tallinn race report: Craig Patterson
  5. 6633 Arctic Ultra....the aftermath
  6. Ironman Wales race report: Craig Burrows

You may notice that the majority of my favourite blog posts from 2019 are race reports and posts from my 6633 Arctic Ultra race. This is mainly because I love reading athletes feedback from race day, finding out when went right & what went wrong (and how we can get better, together); and because 2019 will always be my Arctic year (it had a profound effect on me).  

Here's to an amazing year! We have some amazing people racing with us this year and racing in some awesome locations! Hope to see you on the race circuit this year! 

6633 Arctic Ultra essential items to get you through the race!

Screen Shot 2019 12 24 at 09.30.03With the 6633 Arctic Ultra just around the corner, I thought I’d put together a list of my top-5 essential items, these are the items that I found really helped to get me through the race to be one of the few finishers of the 2019 race.

  1. Pulk bag: The Kakau pulk bag from Aiguille Alpine Equipment sits on your pulk poles, just behind your waist straps. This made access to all your vital pieces of equipment so much easier as you could spin round and grab your items within seconds, which proved to be a lifesaver many times during the race.
  2. Patagonia Micro Puff Gilet: The Micro Puff range is amazing and this super lightweight gilet was worn above my mid layers and below my outer Arcteryx jacket. It provided an amazing level of warmth, particularly for its size and weight. This was definitely my best clothing purchase for the 6633 Arctic Ultra.
  3. Dermatone: Skin care is vital during the 6633 Arctic Ultra and I came across this product via our medical team who swore by it. There are several products in the range but the Frostbite Protector is one we used as it provides superior protection against frostbite, wind burn and UVA and UVB rays.
  4. Firepot meals: The Firepot dehydrated meals, made in Dorset, are the tastiest expedition meals I tested before leaving for the Yukon. Hands down the best quality expedition food on the market.
  5. Stanley coffee flask: I used a small Stanley flask for coffee and hot chocolate during the race. Having it close at hand, attached to my harness, made sure I drank more fluids and acted as a little treat (especially the hot chocolate) without having to stop and break open the pulk bag and big flask again and again.
Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra essential items to get you through the race!

Long Course Weekend Mallorca 2019 race report: coach Mark

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A group of of us decided that we’d enter Long Course Weekend in Mallorca as an end of season race, which would be a nice bookend to the season and also give us an opportunity for a brief holiday as the race was in the UK half term holidays.

Since I raced in the Arctic my body hasn’t allowed me to train as I would have liked, everything has been very slow and most training session have felt really difficult. I’ve done a couple of small races, but mainly for motivation to train and they’ve all been to race with mates, which has been a blast!

The beauty of the Long Course Weekend races is that you can mix and match different distances of the swim, bike and run, so I decided I’d do the Half distances (1.9km swim, 90km bike and half marathon run) as this would provide the perfect motivation to get the body moving and get in a half-decent training block. In fact, I managed to get in a solid 9 weeks of training, which had me arriving on the island knowing that I was in OK shape to get round the half distances and in good enough shape to actually enjoy the event.

Swim: The swim was on Saturday morning and the weather, and sea conditions, were amazing; it was picture perfect. We got down to the beach in plenty of time, so there was no last-minute rushing around. Craig, Charlie and I managed to get in a little practice swim and the water was just how it looked from the beach; crystal clear and warm.

We moved over towards the swim start and positioned ourselves accordingly. I’m not the fastest swimmer out there, but I’m more than happy to have a bit of biff at the start of the swim, so I put myself on the 2nd row with the idea of getting out quick (it was a beach start) and then hoping I’d be able to jump on some feet to get round the 1.9km swim in a reasonable time.

Read more: Long Course Weekend Mallorca 2019 race report: coach Mark

Ironman Wales 2019 race report: Craig Burrows

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I sat down with coach, Mark (Whittle), back in September 2018 to discuss goals and I asked him if he thought I could ‘compete’ for a Kona slot at Ironman Wales in 2019? Both an ambitious and ambiguous goal I agree. I mean, define compete. We knew there would be 4 slots and the likelihood of all slots being taken by thetop 4 would be unlucky. 5th should do it, 6th would have a strong chance, 7th onward would be slim. It was going to be a big year of work.

Coming off the back of an unexpected 6th place at Long Course Weekend Wales, I began the summer training block on a bit of a high. Despite the marathon and bike split doing a good job of masking the swim time, I was hopeful that the 12-month investment into a Masters Swim squad would translate to a good Ironman Wales swim come September 15th. Fingers crossed.

Swim: 1:10:08

I told Loz on numerous occasions in the weeks leading into the race that if I swim 65min then I think I will qualify for Kona but if I swim 70min then it would be game over. This self-inflicted pressure was probably why my anxiety increased exponentially on the morning of the race. I was very close to missing transition cut off, I almost had a wetsuit malfunction and I very nearly forgot to put my pink bag on the hook. A shambles of a human, I needed an Ironman miracle…...or a Valium.

Read more: Ironman Wales 2019 race report: Craig Burrows

Ironman Wales race report: Jamie Radmore


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Race week build up: Normally on race week I don't get any nerves or think about the race too much but for some reason felt like the longest week of my lifewaiting for Sunday to come around!! Registered on Friday afternoon before the briefing so I could chill out before racking on Saturday. As soon as I walked my bike into transition and dropped off my bike/ run bags all the nerves seem to disappear and I felt super chilled and ready to race the next day.

Race day morning: Slept really well on the Saturday night and woke up to my alarm at 4am feeling refreshed and ready to go. Had a quick shower before getting my tri-suit and wetsuit on halfway ready to go. Sat outside and had my porridge and toast for breakfast and one final chill before the chaos began.

Swim: Struggled to get up to the right swim time as the pens were rammed with people and couldn’t get up to 1hr 10 that I wanted to. Ended up just back from the 1hr 20 sign and decided to wait it out as it might stop me from going out too hard.

The first lap felt pretty good and relaxed which is what I was hoping for. The second lap I decided to take it easy and keep it the same pace to save myself for the rest of the day because a couple of minutes on the swim wouldn't make much difference to my overall timings. Coming back past the second buoy by the lifeboat hut there seemed to be a strong current which made it difficult to get around but once there flew I into the beach and up to the zig zags.

T1: The run up to T1 seemed to go pretty smoothly because I found my pink bag really quickly and headed up to T1 feeling fresh and ready to get onto my bike.In T1, I decided to only wear my jersey on the bike rather than the gilet and arm warmers that I’d planned. Managed to eat a small Wispa bar and energy bar before heading out to collect my bike.

Read more: Ironman Wales race report: Jamie Radmore