Kodomo shares a Q&A with performance Director Prof Greg Whyte OBE
You may not have heard of Greg Whyte but you’ll certainly know of his work. In 2014, he was was awarded an OBE for his services to Sport, Sport Science & Charity, and was voted as one of the Top 10 Science Communicators in the UK by the British Science Council. Greg is an Olympian in modern pentathlon, and is a European and World Championship medalist. Greg is the preeminent authority on Exercise Physiology and Sports and Exercise Performance in the UK. An internationally recognised expert in the field, Greg has extensive professional experience assessing, treating and improving the performance of patients, sporting enthusiasts and athletes ranging from cancer sufferers to celebrities attempting their first mountain summit to Gold medal seeking Olympians. Greg is well-known for his involvement in Comic Relief and since 2006 Greg has applied his sports science work to assist various celebrities in completing some of the toughest challenges. Greg has trained, motivated and successfully coached the comedian David Walliams to swim across the English Channel, the Gibraltar Straits and the Thames; James Cracknell to run, cycle and swim to Africa; a team of 9 celebrities including Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles and Gary Barlow to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro; Eddie Izzard to run a remarkable 43 marathons in 50 days; Christine Bleakley to water-ski across the English Channel. In 2014, Greg successfully trained Davina McCall in her ‘Beyond Breaking Point’ 506 mile ultra-triathlon.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
My first foreign travel was a french exchange as a 14 year old. Spending 2 weeks with a family that spoke no English at a time when my French left a lot to be desired made for a daunting trip, but one that I will always remember.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
One of my favourite holidays was last year when we went camping on the southern edge of Lake Annecy in France with two other families. The weather was incredible for the entire trip, allowing the children to spend all their time outdoors and giving us the opportunity to be incredibly active doing the things we love, including open water swimming; Lake Annecy is my favourite lake on the planet and the location of one of my training camps with David Walliams prior to his Thames swim – he loves Annecy too!
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
When my eldest was only 16 months old we went to the British Virgin Islands on a filming trip with This Morning television as I was there training 4 wonderful women to swim the English Channel. We flew long haul into Barbados and then took an internal flight in a tiny propeller plane; it was a long trip but it went incredibly well and the BVI is an incredible spot. Since that time we have never worried about travelling anywhere with the children, including Australia.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally?
It’s no problem. To be honest, travelling to a seasoned traveller can be a bit tedious; children inject a wonderful excitement into travel, which is infectious and helps the time fly by (no pun intended). Travelling by car on long journeys can be a bit more challenging but my wife is fantastic at getting all organised with lots for the children to do in the car and, if planned well, stopping off along the way makes all the difference.
Q: Do you ever travel with your children for work?
Yes. If I’m travelling for a long period during school holidays we will try to arrange for the children to join me. Our most recent venture was to Perth in Australia where we added a two week holiday onto the back of a business trip. It’s a fantastic bonus which allows me to spend time with the family.
Q: And your worst?
To be honest we’ve never had a bad trip with the children. Because I travel so much, it is always great to spend time with the children and have fun doing adventurous things together. We are always very active which we all love; what can be bad about that?
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
A tablet. The multi-function electronic genius provides endless entertainment during travel and for those chill out times. The bonus is we can use it too!
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
Planning, planning, planning – don’t leave anything to chance and don’t expect to be able to buy things on the move; you’ll ruin your holiday trying to find that one product that you should have packed. Happy children make happy parents, so making sure you have catered for every eventuality for children will reduce stress and help the holiday go smoothly. And remember, it’s your holiday too. Planning ahead and creating opportunities for the children to be part of activities gives them a holiday from you and allows you the time to relax (or go for an open water swim session!) Don’t farm the children out all day everyday; most of the fun of a holiday is sharing it with the children. The most important top tip for men is to have an incredible wife who can deliver on all my top tips; I can’t take all the credit!
Read Professor Greg Whyte OBE interview here
Kodomo, Kodomo Q&A, [2/01/2015]