On Sunday I was lucky enough to take part in my third Boston Marathon in what promised to be near perfect weather conditions. This marathon is an unusual race in that you have to get in your boat, row 13k to a lock, get out of your boat, pick it up, run over a hill, get back in your boat and paddle on for another 37k as if it was a completely normal thing to do.
Luckily for Mark, Andy and I we had a excellent land crew who reduced the anticipated 5 minute stoppage time at the lock to less than 2.5 minutes with a pit-stop enviable of any formula one crew.
The biggest topic of conversation leading up to the Boston Marathon is ‘how much weed will there be’ as it has a nasty habit of clinging to your fin and stopping your blades from going in the water. Some years the race has been cancelled if it is too dense to get through which started to look like a possibility again this year. But, with the help of a cutting machine repeatedly going up and down on the days leading up to the race they managed to make it just about passable. However, in places it was like rowing on think pea green soup, very strange and quite disorientating!
This year Andy and I were bumped to MxMasA from our usual MxMasC category, which meant that we were racing 27-35 year olds rather than 43-49 year olds, which felt a little daunting. But having trained hard on the Deben and completed the 22k Great Ouse two weeks before we were happy to finish the course in 3.47.59 which won us the pot, gave us a new PB, broke the MxMasA record by over an hour and placed us as the 3rd fastest boat of the day.
Mark bravely staved off his opposition to the 46k point but then suffered from severe muscle cramps as a result of being so dehydrated. I said earlier that the weather conditions were ‘near’ perfect, but what we didn’t expect was for it to be quite so hot and sunny making it very difficult to keep topped up with fluids. Singles in particular were advised to keep going and not stop too often in case the weed prevented them from being able to move off again which certainly didn’t help the situation. Most people would have been put off by this experience but Mark is already planning a return visit using a different strategy for next year.
Highlights for me included being banged on the back of the head by a tree whilst avoiding a barge and seeing a poor woman in the shower at the end with a perfect ‘sculling seat’ shaped bruise on her backside (it looked like a Wintech seat to me!). I was laughing so much I had to hide behind the shower curtain (fortunately she was blissfully unaware!)
Enormous thanks go to JR and his wife Hilary and Steve Smith and his partner Jenny who drove, rigged, fed, carried, cheered, photo’d, mopped brows and helped to make the weekend so much fun. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without our land crew.
I am hoping to enthuse a lot more people to take part next year as it really is a unique event.