A SUPER-FIT St Helens pensioner completed a staggering 5,000 sit ups in just over an hour as part of an incredible charity challenge.
Harry Jackson, 68, stunned onlookers at the Central Sports gym on Duke Street last Friday (November 18) when he toned up his washboard stomach by speeding through 5,000 sit ups in just one hour and six minutes.
The grandfather-of-two, who has made the final shortlist for the chance to carry the Olympic torch through St Helens next summer, took on the eleventh-hour challenge in aid of Children In Need.
He told the Reporter: “At first I was only aiming for 1,000 sit ups, but I decided to keep going when I reached that total inside 15 minutes. I’d always wanted to do something for Children In Need, but going past 2,000 was unknown territory for me.
“I had two adjudicators with me throughout the challenge - one keeping an eye on the time and one counting each sit up. Nobody else in the gym realised what I was doing though. They just got on with their own training!
“Everyone was congratulating me by the end though, which was nice. Surprisingly, it was my shoulders, neck and knees that were sore by the end of the challenge too, not my abdominal muscles.”
Harry, who trains for nine hours a week at the Central Sports gym and at Parr Stocks Fire Station and Parr Fitness Centre, first started taking on fund-raising fitness challenges in the mid 1960s.
At the age of 32 he broke the British and European record for non-stop skipping and, 10 years later, he broke the world record for consecutive parallel bar dips.
Also a former boxer and boxing coach, he made the final of the UK’s Fittest Grandparent contest after being nominated by his granddaughter, Rheanna, 11, two years ago.
A retired nurse, he now works part-time for the local healthy living team, promoting the benefits of exercise, strength-building, massage and conditioning in the rehabilitation of stroke victims.
Harry, of Moss Bank, added: “I’ve been training since I took up judo and jujitsu when I was 12-years-old - I don’t know anything else.
“I just enjoy the rejuvenating effects of exercise, as well as the camaraderie you build with other gym members.”