Mum of 3 sets herself a challenge

Follow Jo's journey to fitness

Andover mum of 3, Jo Symons, age 44 has set herself the challenge of completing the Ironman 70.3 in Weymouth on 17th September 2017. She made the decision at the end of last year to try and raise money for local charity Amazing Alice. She has followed an extensive training programme to achieve her goal with the help of Fitness Instructors at Andover Leisure Centre. See her before and after picture below:

The Ironman 70.3 consisted of a 1.2 mile sea swim, 56 mile cycle and a 13 mile run, all with individual cut off times and an overall time limit of 8 hours 30 minutes. Jo has 9 months to train for the event to get her swimming, running and cycling up to speed.

Jo Symons admitted at the beginning of her training “The only problem was that I was a really bad swimmer and did front crawl slowly with my head out of the water. I would never put my face in the water and had to hold my nose to jump in the pool. Along with my technique the training helped me to conquer a massive fear of the sea.”

To become a stronger swimmer Jo utilised Swim Fit Instructor led swimming sessions at Andover Leisure Centre, not only did she improve her technique, fellow swimmers encouraged her along the way. She can now swim 1.2 miles in 52 minutes!

As part of her training she has attended 6-8 exercise classes a week at Andover Leisure Centre, varying from Tabata, Body Attack and Armageddon along with a cardio and strength training programme in the gym.

To practise she has run 2 half marathons and got a personal best of 1 hour 47 minutes, along with a Duathlon and has recently completed the Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim which is 1.4 miles.

Her inspiration to set herself this challenge is the Amazing Alice Charity that has been set up by a family in Andover after they lost their 15 year old daughter to cancer in May this year after a long fight. All of the money raised will help fulfil Alice’s dreams that she had before she died, to help other young cancer sufferers and to pay for more nurses to be trained in helping young people with life limiting illnesses. If you would like to donate to Jo's Challenge page for the Amazing Alice Charity  click here.


Andover Leisure Centre which is operated by Places for People Leisure is still open and the Gym, Studios and Squash Courts are now accessed through the Cafe and Merlin's Kingdom. Studio 4 has been relocated on the ground floor off the Cafe.  There is still lift access to all floors. The temporary swimming pool opens to the public at the end of September 2017 and admission is included as part of an inclusive membership, the full swimming programme will be available soon and Swim Fit sessions will continue in the temporary pool.

Places for People Leisure Fitness Teams can create you an exercise plan, whether it is to lose weight, take on a challenge or just improve your health and fitness. Go on set yourself a goal like Jo.  Why not take advantage of a free 5 day pass. to get going.

Jo before her training.

Jo after completing the Reading Half Marathon

Jo after the Duathlon

Jo after the Bournemouth Pier to Pier