The English Indoor Rowing Championships (EIRC) 2014 took place at the Manchester Velodrome on Sunday, March 2. The event was organised by Rebecca Caygill and run by Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club, as it has been since its founding in 1998.
The following report is written by Andrew Lowe of Hollingworth Lake:
The day saw over 650 competitors from all over the UK, with individual entries, schools, gyms, armed forces and rowing clubs all competing in 24 races, with categories from J11 to 70 years plus. The oldest competitor, Charles Morley aged 81, took up indoor rowing when he was 70 as “running marathons got too much. I couldn’t manage the whole distance any more.” Charles has competed at the EIRC for the last 10 years, winning two golds and two silvers.
This year saw more junior competitors than ever before, reflecting the growing popularity of indoor rowing at school level. Juniors competed in single and relay events within their own age groups. The arena was filled with an amazing atmosphere as 20 to 30 relay teams of four competitors with foot-holders, teachers, coaches, parents, grandparents and anyone else watching shouted and screamed encouragement. Amongst the juniors personal bests were achieved over and over again as the atmosphere and adrenalin inspired everyone to succeed. This was evident in the WJ13 category when Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club made a clean sweep of medals – Hannah Lowe (Gold), Sally Tisdall (Silver) and Molly Archbold (Bronze) all achieving PBs.
As well as plenty of personal bests, there was a new world record in the Women's 55-59 years Hwt category by Gill Prescott of Durham Amateur Rowing Club. Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, she managed to beat the old mark by a single tenth of a second, setting a new time of 7:20.1. Gill, a former winner at both the British and World Indoor Rowing Championships, said “This is the best organised indoor rowing event I have been to, in the best venue. All the help and support given to the contestants makes it a great event to compete in.”
Teams of competitors varied in size and experience, from the three members of The Edinburgh Indoor Rowing Club, recently founded and first time attendees, to the team of more than 45 open water rowers from Scarborough Amateur Rowing Club, who picked up a fine tally of gold, silver and bronze medals. All competitors of all ages made the event a huge success with aches, pains and memories forged into the bodies, minds and hearts of so many, whether medal winners, first time competitors, or just those who enjoyed being part of a great experience.