What do England’s World Cup rugby team players, an 83 yearold grandmother, a three-year-old boy and a middle-aged estate agent have in common?
As it turns out, they all share the same training device.
TNAR, a hydro buoyancy suit padded with flotation panels elevates its user in the perfect upright position and enables them to run and move freely under water without touching the bottom.
“DeepWater Running” is the creation of former Liverpool trainee footballer Terry Nelson and has been praised for its positive effects among people with mobility difficulties.
After trying it for herself, Tracey Maddock, 52, a Preston-based personal trainer decided she wanted to bring it to the people who need it most: adults and children with disabilities, people with weight issues or those recovering from injuries.
In Tracey’s class at Penwortham Leisure Centre, you can see her cheering and motivating a group of eight women, all suited up, submerged neck-deep in the pool, flashing only a determined look of effort on their faces.
They all have their own goals to score.
Ali Sumner, a 44-year-old barber from Preston is training to run in Race for Life: “I decided to raise some money for charity and I signed up for Race for Life eight weeks ago.
“I’ve got a dodgy hip, my ankle’s gone, you name it, everything’s gone.
“But I come here and I feel fantastic.
“I’m toning, I’m loving the results on my body and tomorrow morning when I wake I will be able to walk.
“When I was running, I couldn’t get out of bed.
“So I get the same benefits and it’s perfect for me.
“Rather than running every day, pounding the pavement, this is fantastic,” she said.
Tracey, who specialises in training women over 40, tried Terry Nelson’s Aqua Running suit two and a half years ago and she was instantly sold.
“Like everybody else, I thought it was an American invention,” she said.
“I was really curious, so I tried it for myself.
“As soon as I got out of the water, I just said ‘I need to be part of this’.”
After completing her training in January, Tracey is the only instructor in the North West owning a licence for the innovative invention and she now covers the Preston and Fylde area.
Her range of loyal clients includes an 83-year-old grandmother, a three-year-old with his own bright yellow aquatic suit, as well as a wheelchairuser whose “confidence is flying” after losing weight through her aqua running sessions.
“It was developed for top athletes, but we work with everybody,” Tracey says.
“Everybody can train. Why should anyone hold back from training because they’ve got a disability?
“Here, it doesn’t matter. When they get into the water, everybody is the same.”
Allisson Lilley is an ocupational therapist and mum of two who has been attending the training sessions for eight weeks.
“For her, the opportunity to fit three physical disciplines in one hour is the main advantage: “Through my profession, I understand exercise and I can really see how it can be of benefit.”
“Having not done any exercise for quite a while, I was a bit worried about getting back into it. But Tracey is really motivational and she keeps you going.
“You are doing three disciplines at once – core training, resistance training and cardio, all in one hit.
“It’s perfect for me, I’ve got two young kids and it’s really good to get it done in one go.
“I’ve definitely felt my stamina has generally improved. I’ve also got Fibromyalgia, so my joints are really painful so I would struggle with exercise on land.”
The suits have recently caught the attention of the Canadian company Martyn Element Investments who are planning to invest into its manufacturing and distribution on a large national scale.
For top teams such as Real Madrid, Man United and The British Lions, underwater TNAR training is already common practice.
“It won’t be long before it’s everywhere.
“It’s gonna be massive,” says Tracey.
She is dreaming of eventually turning it into a family business.
The passion of giving back to her community also pushed her to start planning a charity sports event for August, with all the earnings to be donated to Women’s Aid.
“It’s something I enjoy doing, I love working with people and love seeing the benefits they get from it,” she said.