Husband and wife team break indoor rowing World Record

On Saturday, 18 May, the husband and wife team of Rod Chinn and Carol Woodward broke the 100k mixed tandem World Record for the 60-69 Lightweight category (and it was faster than the 60-69 heavyweight and 50-59 lightweight records!)

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Carol and Rod at the 'Row for It!' event

Coming from a running background before injury led them to indoor rowing in 2007, the couple are no strangers to success on the rowing machine.

Since 2007, Carol has won nine golds at the British Rowing Indoor Championships and broken various British and World records while Rod has broken eight age category records as a lightweight, most recently setting a new championship record at the 2018 British Rowing Indoor Championships. The couple also recently competed at the World Rowing Indoor Championships in Long Beach, California, with Rod taking a silver and Carol taking a gold (her fourth win in the event) in their respective 60-69 lightweight categories.

Their latest challenge, however, took place at the ”Row for It” event at the Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull, raising funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. We caught up with Rod as he reflected on the motivating factors, training and results of the record-breaking challenge.

In Rod’s own words, “it got pretty tough!”

“The motivation for this challenge was provided by two things – the first was knowing Anne Atkins and what a great job she does for raising money for such a worthwhile cause as the Brain Tumour Charity.

The second motivating factor was discovering that there was no record in place for our age and weight category (60-69 lightweight), meaning we only had to finish to set one! We soon realised, however, that ”just finishing to set one” would not really be enough for us, so we targeted breaking the heavyweight record for our age group of just over 7 hours. We then progressed to the target of breaking 7 hours as well, and then we saw that the 50-59 lightweight record was 6:54 so decided ultimately to target that!

We trained hard with regular one hour rows, sometimes twice a day, and with rows of up to two hours at times. I also rowed a full marathon three weeks before the challenge and Carol followed the well-known marathon training plan by top coach Eddie Fletcher.

Fortunately, it went well on the day and we managed to beat all of our targets – so proud to have set a worthwhile record and not just taken it easy!”

Carol and Rod finished in a time of 6:51:16.2, setting a new mark for the 60-69 lightweight category, which also broke the 60-69 heavyweight record and the 50-59 lightweight record. They did so by averaging a 500m split of 2:03.3 (at a stroke rate of 30spm), working in alternating 500m stints. In Rod’s own words, “it got pretty tough and we did doubt whether we’d do it – especially around the halfway point – but we picked it up in the latter stages and were delighted to have achieved all we set out to do!”

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