‘He might have worked for Pompey, but I thought he was just delusional’

Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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When News reporter Emma Judd signed up for this year’s Great South Run, she knew she’d need some help. As personal trainers Dawn Grant and Max Eacott, from Portsmouth-based 24/7 Fitness, put her through her paces, she’ll be writing about her progress each week.

‘There’s a marathon in those legs,’ said the man kneading my thighs like a particularly stubborn bread mixture.

‘You what?’ I replied.

His next comment was: ‘Have you ever considered doing a triathlon?’

Now this is a man who was responsible for getting Portsmouth Football Club’s FA Cup team on form in 2010, by making sure their bodies were in tip top condition.

But I have to say, when Paul Hickman told me I had a marathon in my legs, I thought he was delusional.

But then this is a man who has done an Ironman, twice.

He is a triathlete and literally wrote a book about it.

He is also a man who, in an hour, can make me walk properly, run faster, and have a spring in my step that Dawn and Max attempted to rid me of by twice-weekly torture.

Paul knows a thing or two about determination, and he’s of the mind that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, as long as people like him are on hand to keep them healthy.

Since he left Pompey, he’s set up Tri-Sport Massage, which he runs out of 24/7 Gym in both Gunwharf and Fareham.

I know whose door I’ll be knocking on when I’m hobbling around the day after the Great South Run.

In fact, I’ll be going there before hand just to make sure those legs of mine can make it the 10-mile distance.

Not long now!