Globetrotting Whit - the Voice of Laguna Triathlons
Laguna Phuket’s famed triathlons – Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT) and the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship - have many qualities that endear them to triathletes the world over.
There’s the swim course across two bodies of water, in the sea and a freshwater lagoon; the challenging hills on the bike course; and scenic runs against backdrops of a lush resort golf course and tropical waterfronts.
But apart from all this, the one abiding memory all triathletes leave Laguna Phuket with is the voice of Whit Raymond.
This larger-than-life international triathlon personality is an extablished fixture of Laguna Phuket’s triathlons and has once again winged his way to the island to take on commentating duties for both events - LPT on 27 November and the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship on 4 December.
His unique style of energetic commentary, laced with a lifetime’s experience of triathlon and a deep knowledge of its many participants, has coaxed, cajoled and occasionally even threatened thousands of triathletes to make it across the finish line – while keeping the crowds entertained at the same time.
And as well as being the commentary voice heard during the Laguna triathlons, Whit is also Master of Ceremonies at the event after parties, where he enlivens his on-stage announcing with his trademark spontaneous 1970s dance routines.
Whit was an elite amateur triathlete in his own right when he was first invited to commentate at the 1993 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
“I’d only gone to watch and the invitation to commentate came out of the blue the day before the race,” he says.
“I had a blast and decided there and then that I wanted to continue in that role.”
Continue he did – this year’s Laguna Phuket Triathlon will be Whit’s 16th, having started at the second event in 1996, and by the end of this year he’ll have worked at 17 triathlons as well as II other events – marathons (including the Laguna Phuket International Marathon), cycling events and a winter biathlon – in Thailand, Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, the UK and the USA.
“I’ve never stopped to think about how many events I’ve worked in total, but it must be more than 500 by now,” says Whit.
Now established as commentator-of-choice for such prestigious events as the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championships, Whit is equally thrilled to return to Phuket each year.
“I’ve been delighted to see LPT grow so much over the years - and with the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship last year Laguna Phuket is now a mecca for international triathlon,” he says.
“Thailand is a magical place and the people are lovely, courteous and hospitable – I never get tired of visiting.
“The Laguna triathlons are always well organised by people who have a passion for the sport and make sure it’s a fun experience.
“Also, the fact that LPT and Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship come at the end of the triathlon season means triathletes are ready to let down their hair, race hard and party even harder!”
Debbie Dionysius, Laguna Phuket Triathlon Event Director, says: “Whit is ‘The Personality’ of our events, creating an enjoyable and entertaining experience for both competitors and spectators alike.
“He’s a huge asset to our events and they simply wouldn’t be the same without him!”