Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go on, Run Away with This Man

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go on, Run Away with This Man

Article excerpt

Byline: KATHY PHILLIPS

Vogue's Kathy Phillips is in her trainers and ready for an early start

EVERY morning at six o'clock you'll find Dave Baptiste waiting in Hyde Park, ready to take on his first client of the day.

Unless it's absolutely chucking it down, he'll be there on the dot, tracksuited up with his rucksack full of weights, boxing gloves, mitts, skipping rope, heart-rate monitor, tissues, glucose tablets and Elastoplasts.

I've never been at Queen's Gate as early as 6am, but like Dave's other regulars, who come to him via word of mouth in the film, TV and fashion business, I have done an 8am run round the park with him on many occasions.

Dave is a former international track athlete, so his background is simply that of healthy athletic training. He takes on both men and women ("some in terrible shape", he says) and reckons he can get them looking and feeling great - loss of several stone, fit and muscletoned - in around 12 weeks of dedication.

And I can tell you that, on a good day, there is nothing more uplifting than running through Hyde Park, watching the ducks on the Serpentine, seeing the trees change by the season and enjoying the landscaping, as well as meeting the regular dog-walkers, exercising celebrities and local fresh-air addicts.

The truth is, though, that I'm a terrible candidate for Dave's technique because I hate running with a passion and insist that I'll only do walking (with 2lb weights). And I'm always interrupting his demands for pushups (I hate those even more than jogging) with requests for gossip about whom he's seen in the park, why he advocates carbohydrate for breakfast and bananas and cashews for snacks, and the reason he instructs his clients never to run on concrete ("Sure to be the way Nicole Kidman did her knees in," he says).

I am gripped to hear that September and October is the time when he sees "all the designer gear". "You get new enthusiasts then in their Dolce and Gabbana track outfits with lots of hair and makeup," says Dave, "but they will have given up by the time it gets to the meat and potatoes of winter. …

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