From 17.5 stone to Iron Man and ultra-running for inspirational David

By James Driver-Fisher | Staffordshire | News | Published:

From desk dweller to ultra runner – from getting out of breath chasing after his son, to completing the 62-mile South Coast Challenge.

Before and after shots of David Whitehouse following two months of training

To say David Whitehouse has turned his life and fitness around would be a huge understatement.

Because in six months the businessman shed five stone, completed an Iron Man and even raised more £1,000 for underprivileged children in Cambodia.

And his stunning efforts have seen David, aged 37, named Freedom Leisure Burntwood’s inspirational member of the year.

Just two years ago, David weighed 17-and-a-half stone and could not run a single mile but after being told by the doctors he had high cholesterol and blood pressure, he realised something needed to change.

In January 2018, he started his fitness journey by signing up for the Staffordshire Iron Man triathlon and, with the help of the gym team and facilities at Freedom Leisure Burntwood, he trained hard and began losing the weight.

WATCH David in action:

100k Ultra Marathon - The South Coast Challenge 2019

David, a married father-of-two, then completed his first ever Ironman 70.3 race, which included 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a half marathon, all in six hours and 20 minutes.


“When I first set out to do the Iron Man, it sounded impossible to me – maybe not to some people but at the time it certainly was to me,” said David.

“So when I achieved it I was ready for something else. Then I read about ultra marathons."

Ultra running is certainly not for the faint hearted and David, from Burntwood, knew he would again need to up increase his training.

“All the staff at Freedom Leisure were very supportive and always gave me tips or asked how I was getting on," he said.


"I did a lot of research into training plans, and it’s not just a case of learning to run far, you have to factor in what to eat and when, injuries, physio work and equipment to carry on route.”

After clocking up a total of 700 miles during training, David was ready for the 62-mile South Coast Challenge.

The race spans across the UK’s south coast and sees runners battle the steep cliffs of Beachy Head, as well as covering off-road trails and fields, with an overall elevation 6,500 feet.

Standing on the start line at 6.45am, on August 31, David set off and completed the run in 90th place, out of the 500 people who ran the route within 24 hours.

“When I reached the finish line I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment and relief, along with some pain in my legs and feet, but I’ve grown used to that," he said.

Following the race, David returned for a health check and has been told his cholesterol is very good, with low glucose levels and the resting heart equivalent of an Olympic athlete.

He has also raised more than £900 in sponsorship for his daughter’s school's chosen charity, helping underprivileged children in Cambodia gain access to important educational equipment and learning.

“Everyone keeps asking me what’s next." added David.

"To be honest. I am comfortable that I can now maintain my fitness levels without setting any new crazy goals, at least for now anyway – but who knows."

David's journey towards completing his first Iron Man and then ultra marathon can be viewed via his You Tube channel,

James Driver-Fisher

By James Driver-Fisher

Motorsport journalist and entertainment and food reviewer for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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