Golden girl Jessica Ennis gave five Luton lads a taste of what it takes to be an athlete with a personal training session at Stockwood Athletics Track on Thursday.
The Olympian swapped her sneakers for a stopwatch and put competition winner Tim West and his friends through their paces with her own training programme.
The boys gave the circuits session their best shot, but admitted they found it much harder than they had expected.
Jess said: “I did feel a bit sorry for them as I know what it’s like so I had a bit more sympathy than normal. Some of them did struggle a bit but they did it all and I think they enjoyed it. It’s similar to what I would do for training so it’s good to give them a taste of it.”
The lads were rewarded for their hard work with a lunch at Luton Hoo with Tim’s family and Jess.
Tim, 28, who entered the Aviva Back The Team competition on Facebook said: “I’m absolutely exhausted. I don’t know how Jess does it. I think we did a very light session compared to what Jess does. When I finally get my breath back I’ll appreciate having done it.”
A sympathetic Jess said: “I always struggle [with training] when it’s cold and you have to do the circuits and things like that, I do moan through it all. You have to be able to motivate yourself in different ways. When you’ve got a big championship to work towards like the Olympics that is a motivator in itself, but you also need to have a good coach. I always thought I wouldn’t want to be a coach but it was really good to be on the other side of it, to have the stopwatch and watch them.”
Since her Olympic success heptathlete Jess has become one of Britain’s biggest stars, and she said it’s important to her to try and inspire young people to take up sport.
She said: “It’s nice that sport has been such a massive thing this year, and people can look up to sports people and do something similar. I don’t see myself as a celebrity. I’m a sports person who has worked hard to achieve my goals, and the best thing was winning that gold medal. All the things afterwards are nice little extras.”