September 22, 2008

Record Smashed at Boston

My crew managed to set a new course record of 3hrs 47min 10sec for Vet E 4x at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I am on the right in this picture.

The final stroke after 31 miles

We were a couple of minutes behind our target of 3:45 but there was a slight head wind and more importantly we had to stop about 10 times and back down (reverse) to clear weed from our rudder. We were not the only crew that had trouble with weed this year. One girl told me how she had to lie prone on the stern canvas (we don't use canvas these days but the term has stuck) of her quad to remove weed and another lad said he went for a swim to clear his boat's rudder.

Taking the weight off my bum

Our achievement is all the more remarkable because Brian Chapman who sculled in the 2 seat has been rebuilt following a motorcycle accident a few years ago and John McMahon, who was sculling at 3, had a heart attack two years ago and has been replumbed since! Some people retire within themselves after a heart attack and wrap themselves in cotton wool. Far better, in my humble opinion, to follow your doctor's advice on diet and to get even more exercise than before in order to build up the strength of your heart. After all it is only a muscle.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 10:47 AM

September 18, 2008

Boston Marathon

I'm competing for my club, Grosvenor Rowing Club, in the Boston Marathon on Sunday next. No, not the running race in Massachusetts. It's a 31mile (49.2km) rowing race from Lincoln along the River Witham to Boston on the east coast of England. There are 215 crews entered altogether and the first crew will depart Lincoln at 9am. They start at 1 minute intervals.

I'll be steering my crew, a quadruple scull from bow, with my foot as I'll need both my hands for sculling, and we set off at 10.40. We're hoping to set a new course record for Veteran E quads (over 55 average age) and are aiming to cover the course in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. A lot depends upon conditions, particularly wind.

Training had been going well until the day after I went away for a week's holiday when a scratch crew went out in the boat we'd been using and crashed into a coxless four from Royal Chester Rowing Club. The bowman, who was steering was so hurt that he couldn't row or even sit in the boat and an ambulance had to be called. He was whisked off to hospital. Fortunately it turned out to be soft tissue damage only and he is all right now.

The boat, however, was a different matter and had to be taken to a boat hospital for repairs so we lost quite a bit of training time. We just got the boat back on Saturday and have settled back into the groove again so we're raring to go.

If you want to give us a cheer, we're crew 101. ETA Boston is 14.25, which will put us about half an hour inside the record time for our age and boat class.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 12:07 PM