Our City Regatta Journey to the Guildhall
Our journey to the City Regatta final at the Guildhall in London started about 3 months ago when I asked 3 other guys to join me in an invitational 4-man team to race others over 1000m. Graham Benton, Dave Marshall, Dan Stanley and I formed, on paper, what looked like a pretty solid crew. This offered us a chance to compete in a unique environment as a team in what is essentially an individual sport.
Our first assignment was to race in Bristol back in August at one of the 4 regional events hosted by the sponsor Investco Perpetual. The other 3 venues in London, Edinburgh and Leeds were equally as impressive a set up as ours was in Millennium Square, Bristol. The outdoor race atmosphere was great and no expense was spared as the event ran very smoothly. We had 3 heats which we came through relatively comfortably, easing through the gears and opening up a little in the final with a 2 minute 58 second effort.
We had a few months then until the final and, after chatting things through, we decided we would prepare thoroughly. On the day the 4 of us all travelled from different parts of the country and met up at the hotel accommodation that had been generously provided by the sponsor. Off to the Guildhall yard we went, arriving about an hour before the start time. Following a warm up, where I’m not sure how warm we were given it was pretty fresh outside at 5.30 pm, we watched the ladies final and then we were ready to race.
We were very fast out of the blocks and immediately opened up some distance between us and the rest of the field. We kept full pressure on until around the half way mark with the team averaging around 1.25/500m, giving us decent buffer. Whilst we didn’t ease off totally, we then came home a little more comfortably than anticipated in an overall time of 2 minutes 53 seconds which was 10 seconds ahead of second place. The whole race was a bit of a blur like they can be, but we definitely got a decent blow on, a bit of leg burn and a touch of ergers’ cough!
The rowing was over, but it was back to the hotel, dinner jackets on and just the start of the evening ahead which was quite spectacular. Multiple Olympians were among 400 guests seated in the Guildhall at the event hosted by Sir Steve Redgrave. A fantastic and memorable evening was a fitting end to this year’s journey, one that, as a 4, we have agreed we will be defending next year. For me personally I am glad to see the back of that style of training for a while and excited to focus my attentions elsewhere.