Charity rowing team clock up first marathon distance

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The six, all from the Ribble Valley, sat side by side on six Concept2 rowing machines at Oakhill Academy gym, Whalley, and pulled and sweated for around three hours to clock up 26 miles each.

They are preparing to join six armed forces personnel to race against another 12-strong charity team 500 miles from the Thames to the Seine in May, in aid of Help for Heroes and Ickle Pickles sick children’s charity.

The six-day event, billed as “The Real Boat Race”, has been described as the Everest of endurance rowing.

Team member Alex Trickett, from Whalley, said: “A rowing marathon is a hard, steady slog rather than a sprint. This was our first big individual test of endurance, and it was quite an eye-opener for us all.”

Mr Trickett added that marathon rowers can hit the notorious “wall” just like runners.

“When that happens, the other team members help by encouraging each other. The teamwork element is very important.”

The other team members are Ady Parkinson, Will Smith, Suzanne Liddle, Phil Moss and Edward Snowden. All have committed themselves to rowing at least 800km – 500 miles – and potentially up to 500 more in training before May.

The training plan has been devised for them at Oakhill by freelance British Rowing coach Eric Kent.

The team undertake three intensive rowing machine sessions of up to an hour-and-a-half each week, and one easier-paced recovery row. Typically each crew member will row up to 70km a week.

Soon they will row for 12 hours, two hours on and two hours off, simulating the conditions of the race itself. The Oakhill team are also undergoing a programme of Pilates to strengthen muscles, and a series of rows on the water in the actual 30-foot race boats in Portsmouth and Ramsgate.

Subsequent water training sessions will include a 24-hour row from Ramsgate up the River Thames in March and finally a 36-hour row in April, their final test before the race.

Would-be sponsors can contact alex.trickett@me.com and the website for the team’s JustGiving page, which contains links to their individual pages, is:

www.justgiving.com/teams/therealboatrace