The Boston Marathon

Ah! Its that time of the year again, when I am forcefully re-reminded of my father's saying.

TL;DR: 3:52:04; fifth overall. Mx IM3 VIII course record by 10 minutes, and pots in that category.

After the traditional last minute breakages (Sarah, dearly departed, slain by the Great Ouse; Big Simon, diverted into a bike ride; Chris Wood, suffering from too much humping) we ended up with the following motley crew, which was like the Ouse but with Dave R in for Simon L, and Anne for Sarah. Simon E nobly fell on his sword and offered to trailer; and Simon L, reprieved from his bike ride, joined the transport crew, completed by Meg. Thanks to the efforts of our support crew the day, excluding the rowing itself, was remarkably painless and pleasant. Decent weather helped, too.

 Bailee (S), Amanda (B), Keith (3), Dave R (4), the Mayor, Dan (5), William (6), Lorraine (7), Anne (2); Will (Cox).

Bailee (S), Amanda (B), Keith (3), Dave R (4), the Mayor, Dan (5), William (6), Lorraine (7), Anne (2); Will (Cox).

We didn't take the mayor along, apparently he'd done it 57 years ago. Not to ruin the suspense but as the photo suggests, we won pots.

Before I go on, between the Great Ouse and Boston a lesser-known event occured in Germany. It was only 12.7 km, which is probably how they managed to sustain 1:30 for the distance :-).

I wrote some wise advice up in advance; you may care to read that if you're interested in generalities.

As for the race: if you look at our GPS trace, you'll see its quite consistent. There's a little period at the start while we wind ourselves up to 24, after which we're fairly constant to 10 km. After about 10 km the route goes from being due E to nearly SE; our split drops about 10 pips, because we come into a slight head wind. The three breaks in 6's for food and drink are clearly visible. We hadn't practised those, and could probably optimise about 30 seconds out of each. Going over the lock was quite efficient; short of actually running with the boat we couldn't have done much better. You can see a slight fade over the course, mitigated over the last 6 km by the approaching end, and another turn of the course back to the E. At the end we wind it up, finishing with a grand 32.

The usual Boston problem is Hands. Keith and Bailee win the bravery award. Anne I think wins the sanity award. I found gloves helpful.

Our time, 3:52:04, was good; fifth overall, fastest VIII, beaten by two quads and two doubles. Nick Thorn and his Nines IV+ were 6th. In 2013 we were 6th in 3:56 if I recall correctly. This year's crew wasn't really faster; 2013 had a respectable headwind. It was a pleasant row: a well sat boat, a good feeling to the rowing, good coxing, and good weather. Will's best call was to remind us of our finishes, and no matter how often he called, it always had a salutary effect, which I think means our finishes persistently slip off. I mean theirs do; mine don't, obviously. We kept to 23-24 without much need to push it up; our average split over the GPS record is 2:21. Our before-the-race estimate of what we needed to do to beat the former record of 4:02 was 2:22 to the lock, and 2:25 thereafter. That would have us pushing off from the lock at 1:02; as it was, we left at 1:00 so were two minutes up already; and despite the slight headwind we kept beating 2:25 splits and so salting down margin every k. At about 30 km we overtook the other Mx VIII, thus guaranteeing us the pots; to be fair they were 7 women and one man and so only technically mixed.

Here are the sweep-oared mixed records - we have no truck with sculling-type folk, of course. Elite, Sen and IM2 are up for grabs next year. As are IM2/3 IV+ records; or indeed, the 2- if anyone would like to accompany me..?

And... that's it. "Traditionally" Boston is the last act of the outgoing committee, and Simon E is now men's captain. Over to you...