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Review: The Fitness Festival

The Fitness Festival returned to Southsea’s Castle Field on Saturday and the annual event attracted its biggest turnout yet. Event founders SWEAT Southsea partnered with organisations such as Canoe Lake Leisure, Pompey In The Community, The Triathlon Trust and Portsmouth Volleyball Club which ensured a sea of sporting activity all day.

Pompey In The Community had a packed timetable which included walking football and their giant football dart board proved a fun attraction for kids and us big kids. Canoe Lake Leisure teamed up with The LTA to offer pop-up tennis with huge numbers picking up racquets throughout the day. Canoe Lake Leisure, a philanthropic organisation hosts the inaugural Aegon Trophy later this month with some of the world’s leading female players heading to Southsea and the Festival was a good opportunity to spread the word. Portsmouth Volleyball Club enjoyed a day in the sunshine and hoped to attract new players whilst the Triathlon Trust were joined by Paralympic Silver medallist Lauren Steadman.

Lauren was joined on stage by local double Olympian and former world champion swimmer Katy Sexton MBE for an inspirational Q&A. Kids were invited on stage to ask their questions by Event host Emily Robinson who did a great job all day.

My personal highlights included trying Frill, healthy ice cream for the first time. It’s sugar and dairy free and I’ll be getting my hands on more for summer evening treats! I signed up to visit South Coast Wake Park and met Island Feather founder Claudia. I also chatted to the Nuts Over The Atlantic guys. The four-man team rowed continuously from 9am to 5pm, two on, two off with an opportunity to be joined for sprint challenges. The guys are taking on the Atlantic Ocean in December when they’ll row more than 3,000 miles to prove that anything is possible when you put your mind to it! They’re also trying to raise £100,000 for Movember. The guys were so down to earth. They describe themselves as four average guys but I disagree! Hanging out with the SWEAT Southsea team is always nice too and their pitch was busy all day.

I thought the wide range of guests and activities was impressive. Peter Leonard from Portsmouth Cathedral spoke on the link between spirituality and fitness whilst neuroscience researcher James Findon spoke on the role of sport and activity in mental well-being. Bear Grylls’ personal trainer Natalie Summers and Health Coach Natasha J Wood were big hits and it was nice to see such great support for the Believe and Achieve Duathlon medal ceremony. The stage hosted everything from Boogie Bounce, Zumba, John Pounds ‘Movers’ and a Buggy Class with guest trainer Sinead Eaton. This was truly an event for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing this event grow as it’s free and a great initiative in getting people inspired to be more active. Well done SWEAT Southsea!


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