Tuesday, 29 November 2016 12:23 Written by Administrator Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 11:55


As well as being a training staple of rowers, indoor rowing has become a sport in itself among gym-goers around the world, and there are World and British records for various combinations of ages, distances and team compositions (see for a comprehensive list). On Sunday 27th November, Nottingham Rowing Club members with a few friends not only shattered the ultra-distance (100,000 metres) record for a large mixed team of over 50-year olds, but also narrowly broke the corresponding record of the 40-year olds as well - showing that there's life in them yet!

On the morning of Sunday 27th November the team of 17 (10 men and 7 women) assembled at NRC, and at 11:39 the record attempt got underway, with Andy Townsend leading the team out in at atmosphere tense with trepidation. Each team member in turn pulled 15 strokes before handing over smartly to the next in line, with the idea being to pull flat out and cover some 150 metres, then rest for about five and a half minutes before doing it again – about 50 times in total. With 10000 m gone it became clear that if they could keep up the pace that was being set, then not only would the 50-59 record be thoroughly broken but the record for 40-49 year olds was achievable too. By half way that record was beginning to look more of a close-run thing as fatigue inexorably set in, but by pushing hard at the end the team completed the challenge in 5h 22’ 22” – with NRC Club President Tony Lorrimer bringing it home. The time bettered the existing 50-59 record by over three hours, and the 40-49 record by just 14”. All-in-all a very satisfying result for “the oldies” - as one of the younger club members was heard to refer to them!

The team members were: Chris Beesley, Helen Bloor, Andy Brown, Rachael Brown, Jo Canton, Iain Hill, John Kenyon, Tony Lorrimer, Shane MacSweeney, Gurli Medcalfe, Aileen Rhodes-Jones, Sarah Royles, Peter Stasiuk, Jill Titterton, Andy Townsend, Mike Walker and Paul Williamson.

Equally important to the successful bid was the superb support from our enthusiastic helpers: Clare Angus, who spent 5 hours holding the seat still during the changeovers (the view wasn't great), and Tom Astill, Jojo Bowman, Albert Bracun, Adam Childs, Stephen Ferguson, Fergus Robertson, Lou Townrow and Suze Wynne, who spent their time hanging on to the feet of the rowers (not a pleasant job).

'Guess The Time' was won by Steve Cuthbert from NRC with a prediction of 5h 23' 20" - interestingly, only three people predicted shorter times than Steve, but 175 predicted a longer time (ye of little faith - we know who you are!).

UPDATE: on submitting the result for verification, we were informed that a team from the USA had already broken the existing record ... but that we were an hour faster than them! They held the record for only eight days.

For a video of the start of the record attempt see:


Below: All done! A happy team with their helpers.