We would like to wish the best of luck to our club member and coach James Morris, who is competing in the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston this weekend. This is the largest two day regatta in the world, attracting thousands of competitors from all over the world.
James has teamed up with his rowing partner Gary Quin (Shandon Boat Club, Cork) and with the reigning world champion men’s lightweight pair Mark O' Donovan and Shane O' Driscoll from Skibbereen Rowing Club, Cork.
"We are racing the Mens Masters 2x on Saturday in a field of ex-Olympians and other top American and International Club athletes, some of whom race this event and dominate it every year, so the heat is on!" told us James before boarding his flight to Boston.
On Sunday he and Gary will be teaming up in the 4x with Shane and Mark, current LM2- World Champions, who are friends of Gary's from the Cork rowing scene. Their boat is called "The luck of the Irish"!
James says that "is a real privilege to race with these exceptional athletes, and I have learnt loads in but a few hours of their company. Aside from their one-in-a-million physiological attributes, their knowledge and skill is immense and they give of it freely, but in the boat we are all part of a unit that must fall in and bend together like a reed when the pressure is on and rise to the challenge when the moment to strike presents! E pluribus Unum! We have yet to train together by the way, it's a totally scratch crew!"
It has been a lot of hard work for James and Gary to get to this level and secure a place in the Head of the Charles. "We usually train in the morning before work at 6:30 am and during lunchtime and occasionally in the evening if possible. We text our daily performance results to each other and monitor progress, adjusting all the time, identifying and improving weaknesses and maintaining strengths. Staying injury free is paramount at Masters level, but maximal strength is excellent and endurance ability undiminished, recovery is a whole lot longer though, that's the only material difference between now and 20 years ago. The sessions are shorter now but more intense as we both have a large aerobic base built up over the years, and with time tight with busy family life and demanding jobs, you have to train and work smart to get the most out of the little time left over! The rule is: Family first, then work, then training. Like every busy person, time scarcity makes you work and play more efficiently and do a better job too because you need to think about what you are doing all the time to make sure you do it right, no time for do-overs!", says James.
The Head of the Charles Regatta attracts over 11,000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators from all corners of the world, every year. The competition was created in 1965 by the Cambridge Boat Club, Massachusetts, USA and it has a 3 miles course. For more information about the regatta please visit their website on www.hocr.org