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Lakeland rowers going for world endurance record PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Friday, 26 February 2021

pratt lakeland rower.pngFour Lakeland Rowing Club members are starting-off this week-end on a world endurance record attempt.

Julia McCumiskey, of Keswick, Stefan Escreet, of Bassenthwaite, and Helen Tucker and Alex Morgan, both of Cockermouth, are among over 100 indoor rowers from all over the world attempting the record.

It’s being organised by US indoor rower Bryan Fuller, to achieve the longest ever continuous row of over 40 million metres, equivalent to rowing around the equator.

They are all taking part in a non-stop relay of half-hour sessions to support the work of global medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders during the pandemic.

The previous record of 10 million metres was set across 34 days of non-stop rowing last year by members of the same group.

Lakeland members Helen, Alex and David Pratt (pictured above) along with Windermere rower Jane Wall-Budden contributed almost half-a-million metres to the staggering total, a distance that would have taken them all the way from Carlisle to Watford, on the outskirts of London.

Alex said: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because we were rowing flat-out the whole way, trying to rack up the metres as quickly as possible, but it was also great fun.

“It was all organised over Zoom, and you never knew who you would meet when you logged on to start your session. One day I took over from someone in Wales; the next it was someoner owing through the night in the heart of the US.”

The marathon was the brainchild of Fuller, owner of Power Rowing, an exercise studio in Boston, Massachusetts, in the US.

The former serviceman, who holds the title of fastest American ever to row the Atlantic, organised the world record bid as a way to maintain fitness during lockdown while helping a cause close to his heart.

Helen said: “Raising money for a cause that we need more than ever in our modern world was great motivation for getting in, and staying in, shape.”

Meanwhile the Lakeland club has reported on their website that they won three medals at the World Rowing Virtual Indoor Championships this week.rowing medals.png

Celia Whittam, Samantha Ayers and Nick Cowan were among the rowers representing Great Britain in the championships, contested online, racing in real time against competitors on rowing machines in homes and gyms around the world.

Samantha and Nick are shown alongside with their medals which arrived in the post.

The trio qualified for the worldchampionships after medalling at December’s British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC).

Celia, from Troutbeck, took silver in the women’s age 60+ 500m category in 1 min 48.7 secs, almost two seconds faster than her time to win the same medal at BRIC.

Samantha, from Eaglesfield, won bronze in the women’s lightweight age 50-54 2,000m race in a personal best time of 7 mins 34.9 secs.

The owner of exercise company BodyFit Cumbria, who learned to row just three years ago, shaved nearly ten seconds off her BRIC silver medal time.

Samantha also took fourth place in the women’s lightweight 50-54 500m final in 1 min 44.2 secs.

Nick Cowan, also from Eaglesfield, won bronze in the men’s 60-64 2000m race with a time of 6 mins 45.9 secs, almost seven seconds ahead of his BRIC bronze medal time.

Celia said, “After I was placedse cond at BRIC, I was encouraged by a few club members to go further. The Covid restrictions made the world competition a virtual event, enabling me to compete at a level I hadn’t previously considered.

“I started training in January with a couple of short sessions on the rower each week, though most of my fitness training was getting out each day making use of the mountains and quiet roads, while continuing Zoom lessons in ballet and Pilates.

“Race day started with re-arranging the kitchen to get the rowing machine and equipment set up to meet the criteria.”

Her son Paul looked after the technology, which included a live video feed.

Celia added: “The race went well, though the excitement of the event and what I had achieved didn’t register until after, when I was viewing the video footage and commentary. I was pleased with my time and even more pleased with silver medal position.”

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