‘Jubilation and triumph of runners was my inspiration’

Emma Judd and fitness instructor Dawn Grant. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122280-592)
Emma Judd and fitness instructor Dawn Grant. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122280-592)

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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 trainer Dawn Grant, from Portsmouth-based 24/7 Fitness, puts Emma through her paces, she’ll be writing about her progress each week.

You’d never think standing on Southsea seafront in the pouring rain one cold October morning could change your life.

But with a marriage that had just failed, and the mother of all colds on the way, cheering on my friends at the Great South Run last year actually did do that.

As I watched them pass the finish line, triumph and jubilation etched on their faces, I vowed that when GSR 2012 came around, I would be one of the runners.

I’d love to be able to say my training regime started the next day. It didn’t.

But after a few months of paralysis, watching my waistline expand, I decided that I should really, really make a start.

Regular readers will know that The News teams up with 24/7 Fitness at Gunwharf Quays for our annual Portsmouth’s Biggest Loser challenge, so who better to whip me into shape than those guys?

Enter Dawn Grant, trainer extraordinaire. She’s as tough as nails but can be distracted for a nanosecond with talk of Hugh Jackman.

The first time I met her she gave me a fitness test.

‘Run a mile,’ she said.

‘A mile?’ I gasped.

‘A mile. I want to see how far you can go and how fast you can do it.’

About three years later a red-faced and panting me said: ‘Hurrah! I’ve done it!’

I prepared to stop and have a teeny heart attack on the floor of the gym.

‘No you haven’t,’ she replied. ‘You’ve run one kilometre.’

After woefully failing to even run a mile, I was told to clamber atop a glowing pink ball and attempt not to fall off.

‘This would be easier if I had a glass of wine,’ I said, attempting to cover up my fifth failed attempt at even getting on the thing.

Luckily for me, the next task was attempt to kick Dawn in the face, and it seems as though my predictions of being the next Jean Claude van Damme might come true!

‘You kick really hard,’ Dawn said, peering from behind the black pad she was holding.

‘So would you if you were about to get an ex-husband,’ I gasped, giggled and fell over.

Since that day I’ve been working hard, going to the gym between three and four times a week, and have given up almost everything sinful in my life in order to conform to a strict training diet. But more about that next week.