Issue #140, 28 April 2006

  1. Steve Redgrave and the Flora London Marathon
  2. Cartoon By Rog
  3. Readers' Stories: Rod Wark
  4. Ripper's Row
  5. Readers' Letters: Using the PM3
  6. North Pole Row
  7. Indoor Rowing and Osteoporosis
  8. Charity 24-Hour Row
  9. Health Club Games
  10. Upcoming Races And Events
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Indoor Rowing Glossary

A guide to some of the more common terms used in indoor rowing can be found at

Steve Redgrave and the Flora London Marathon

If you watched the Flora London Marathon last Saturday you may have noticed several things. Firstly, how excellent the Men's race was. Can't fault any race that takes place over 26 miles, 285 yards and ends up in a sprint finish. Secondly, how gutted James Cracknell looked when he realised that he finished ten seconds the wrong side of the three-hour mark and thirdly, his former rower-in-arms Steve Redgrave running the course in a slightly more relaxed fashion, but garbed at several points in a Concept2 t-shirt. Concept2 were proud to be one of the corporate sponsors for Sir Steve during his attempt to break the world record for the most amount of money ever raised at a marathon.

Although the final amount has yet to come in, it looks like Sir Steve has easily broken his £1.2 million target and we'll let you know what the final figure was when it comes in. Of course, it's still not too late to give, and if you haven't yet done so, visit

Finally, spare a thought for Lloyd Scott. Lloyd was the man a couple of years ago who ran the race in a deep-sea diver's suit. Now he's helping Sir Steve out by "running" it in a full suit of armour while towing a ten foot dragon around the course. So far, Lloyd has covered just over 15 miles of the course, and you can follow his progress here:


Cartoon By Rog


Readers' Stories: Rod Wark

Rod WarkRod Wark's wake up call came whilst on holiday in Belgium during August 2004. His wife is a regular gym goer and had recently taken up running. When she said she was going for a training work out through the woods by their hotel, Rod said he'd go along too and keep her company. He thought the run would be a breeze but it turned out to be more of a wheeze, with his lungs bursting for air and his legs calling for a time out (Rod, right, before his holiday).

There are many who could tell a similar story. We're active at school, lean, fit and trim. Next we start work and follow a career. The years slide by. You've guessed what happens next. you've got the picture. Responsibilities kick in; activity takes a tumble and the weight piles on and on. But when Rod Wark reached his mid forties and his weight was 22 stone (141 kilos) he decided that enough was enough and was determined there and then to do something about it.

Rod left Leeds University in 1980 and he weighed a trim and fit 13.5 stone (86 kilos). He was an active sportsman especially enjoying competitive table tennis, representing his college in a local league, captaining his rugby team at school and has always enjoyed playing badminton. Rising through the ranks of the West Yorkshire Police Force to become a Chief Inspector his weight increased. In 2000 he first decided to make a change to his lifestyle. Rod takes up the story:

"At the gym I tried rowing and had a half decent technique. I even competed in the 2001 British Indoor Rowing Championship, finishing seventh in a time of 6:24. But I stopped training - I needed a focus and the weight piled back on. Then in December 2003 I bought my own Indoor Rower. I didn't have a routine or follow a programme so progress with shifting the weight that had returned was very limited."

Back to August 2004. Still on holiday after his failed run, Rod had some free time to plan. So when he returned home he was determined to follow a training programme on his Indoor Rower together with joining Weight Watchers. This brought him face to face with planning daily routines for training and recording his progress. It also gave him the chance to look at his eating habits, including portion size, when and where he ate his meals and the number of times each day he'd be snacking. And when it came to preparing his menus his wife was with him trying out new recipes made from freshly bought food rather than ready-made convenience food. Weight Watchers' weight loss plan is based on a set number of points individually calculated for you each day, matched to your height, weight, body type and daily level of activity. Food by type and weight is given a points value.

This dual approach of exercise and monitoring food intake gave him the incentive to begin in September 2004.

"Healthy sensible eating together with Indoor Rowing saw the fat drop off. I had regular rewards when I reached weight loss milestones. I bought a new pair of trainers and a half-day visit to Harrogate Spa. There I enjoyed massage, a session on a flotation bed and hydrotherapy treatment. Next was the purchase of a new bike. This is for my next fitness venture, which will be cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats for charity."

Rod Wark"Also I marked every kilo shed with a similar amount collected in bags of sugar as a visual incentive to maintain the onslaught on my waistline. On the table in my office the bags of sugar increased over the months. Every day I was reminded what had been achieved. Things got to a head when the cleaners found that sugar was spilling from the pile. They said they couldn't manage to clean any longer so when I had a sugar mountain of 46 one-kilo bags (100lbs) I decided to donate this to a charity. When I had colleagues visiting my office they were interested to know what was happening. They also noted that I was drinking much more water. I'm certain over a dozen people have decided to follow me and lose weight the same way."

Rod has brought his weight down by 42 kilos (six and a half stones) in nine months from September 2004 to the summer of 2005. Throughout he achieved a sensible weekly weight loss of ¾ kilo (1½ lbs) so overall this reduction is within safe limits. In November 2005 he weighed 92 kilos (203 lbs). Mid-January 2006 he was down to 88 kilos (194 lbs) so he's close to reaching his target weight of 86 kilos (189 lbs) in April.

This staggering weight loss enabled him to achieve a remarkable 2,000m time. At the 2005 British Indoor Rowing Championships he was in the lead for the first 1,000 metres of the race but came in seventh in a time of 6:32.2, just 18 seconds behind the gold medal winner.

Setting goals is behind this successful weight loss and increase of energy. So Rod raised the bar and gave himself more challenges. He completed a sponsored 26 mile marathon row (2hours 57 minutes) at the Caring For Life Open Day at Crag House Farm in June and made £1,400 plus a further £100 on the day from well wishers who paid £1 to guess the time it would take him to row the distance. Visit to find out more about this charity that has really helped people in Leeds. And also for this charity, last summer Rod and some biking friends completed the 136-mile Coast to Coast (C2C) cycle ride in three days from Whitehaven to St Bees, Sunderland.

So what's next? The immediate plans are to continue with the controlled weight loss in the run up to his target weight in the spring - and along the way he is inspiring others to try. He is totally committed with his Indoor Rowing and there's a strong chance he'll be racing for a medal at the 2006 BIRC. His sponsored fundraising activity this year is to raise money for additional facilities at Crag House Farm, the headquarters and Day Care Centre of Caring For Life. A cycle ride is planned from Land's End to John O'Groats. This works out at 80 miles a day for thirteen days. And for this marathon ride, Rod builds up the mileage by cycling to and from his home in Burley in Wharfedale to work in Wakefield, which is a round trip of 44 miles.

"If some one as badly out of shape and overweight as me can be successful, then I honestly believe that with appropriate levels of support and determination anyone can do it.

"I now view my purchase of a Concept 2 Rower as one of the best investments I have ever made. I have to say that having it conveniently available in the garage at home meant that there was never any genuine excuse not to climb aboard and compete with the likes of Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent!

"Logging my times and distances on the Concept 2 website enabled me to monitor my progress and watch the metres build up. Achieving my first million metres just before Christmas was a fantastic milestone for me to reach ... now I'm already well on my way to my second million".

Rod has also supported an initiative in West Yorkshire, which promotes activity programmes at Leisure Centres across the region. Tim Quirke, Deputy Marketing Manager for Leeds City Council Leisure Services says that Rod has been an inspiration for many people. If you live in the area or want to find out more information about the Smarten Up! and Get Off The Couch! health campaigns visit

Rod Wark's Land's End to John O'Groats Sponsored Cycle on 18-31 May 2006 supports two worthy charities:

Caring For Life The Multiple Sclerosis Society

If anyone is interested in supporting Rod with sponsorship, or wants help with starting out on a weight loss programme, he can be contacted by e-mail:


Ripper's Row

The weekend of March 25th & 26th was the annual TCR Triathlon show at Sandown Park, Surrey, which also provided the venue for the Ripley Relays. As mentioned in the last newsletter, the Ripley Relays were staged to help raise money and awareness for the Prostate Cancer Charity as rugby star and indoor rowing legend Andy Ripley was diagnosed last year with Prostate Cancer. The following report on the day comes from organiser Jon Goodall:

"In all there was a 24-hour relay team, 3x50k relay teams, an attempt at the Men's Team Marathon record and a 50k Treadmill World Record attempt.

"Saturday the 25th had Martyn Low, Andy Burrows, Megan Brown, Brian Garner, Niall Williams, Kelly Sapsford, Kay Hughes, John Davies, Gary Blackman and Chris Heth start the 24-hour relay at 12 noon, all set to finish at 1pm BST on Sunday 26th. The team were given a huge boost when the great man himself Andy Ripley turned up to meet the team on Saturday evening and ended up spending over an hour with them.

Rippers Row"Going into the night, staying awake was always going to be difficult, so a series of games/dares were staged to keep things lively. Martyn did a "Star's In Their Eyes" special, singing along to Johnny Cash! Games of Twister were played in-between rowing. You name it and it was probably done in the name of keeping awake and rowing for 24 hours! Oh, and a fair bit of alcohol was consumed as well! It was then down to Martyn to row the final minute of the 24 hours in Biggles style helmet and flashing glasses (that he wore for most of the time) and cross the finish line while Queen's We Are The Champions played over the PA system. The team rowed over 360,000m between them.

"Sunday morning at 10am, Hywel Davies made an attempt on the 50k treadmill record. Running at 16kph for the whole distance, he went through the London Marathon distance (26.2mile/42,195m) in 2 hours 37 minutes and carried on to the 50k mark and even winding it up to 20kph for the last 800m and set a new World Record of 3 hours, 7 minutes and 21 seconds.

"1pm and the Countrywide MAD Team were set to attempt to beat the current Men's Team Marathon record held by Team Oarsome. The day started badly with Andy Sangster having to withdraw with a back injury, but Nik Fleming, Tony Larkman and Stuart Williams made the brave decision to row with just the three of them which meant 7x2000+m - 13min rest per person instead of the planned 5x2100+m - 20min rest. It paid off with the guys taking over two minutes off the old record. The new record stands at 2 hours 15 minutes 51.5 seconds, an average 500m pace of 1:36.5.

Rippers Row "2pm and the 50k mixed teams got underway. The ALL-STARS team had 6 members from the 24-hour team who clearly felt they wanted more action. Countrywide MAD Team submitted a mixed team while FIBRA Rowing Team came all the way from Italy especially to take part! All three teams rowed above expectations with FIBRA setting an Italian National Record, just a short distance behind MAD who also set a UK record while the ALL-STARS Team were not too far behind despite being mostly lightweights and having six members who had been rowing close to 27 hours!

"MAD Team IRC: 2:23:39.3s - 1:26.1 ave/500m. - Kev Peebles, Rob Smith, Graham Parker, Jon Goodall, Pete Marston, Chris Barker, Kelly Sapsford, Siobhan Woodcock, Shelly Wilkins and Kara Wirt.

"FIBRA Rowing Team: 2:29:45.7 - 1:29.8 ave/500m. - Antonello Cantera, Luigi Manes, Claudio Varamo, Diego Rivieri, Sabrina Gasperat, Gianmaria Grassi, Maria Grazia Giampa, Alex Etzi and Angela Price.

"ALL-STARS (Oarsome Old Taff Flyers): 2:38:30.6 - 1:35.1 ave/500m - Dave Speed, Xavier Disley, Kerry Loan, Dougie Lawson, Niall Williams, Gary Blackman, Andy Burrows, Megan Brown, Brian Garner & Kay Hughes.

Rippers Row"Andy Ripley was bowled over with the success of the event and in his typical modest self, had this to say: 'Although I have no right to, I'd like to, on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Charity, to those who organised, participated, donated or even just gave their time to read about what went on in Esher, two weeks ago, just to say thanks.'

"To date donations stand at £4896 including gift aid which is the third largest ever private contribution to the Prostate Cancer Charity. Donations can still be made at

"Special thanks must go to Roscoe Nash ( who gave the rowers free use of the NetFit arena to compete. Janice and Pete Marston for all their time and effort in providing all the food for everyone. Adam and Laura for the countless hours of Sports Massage provided, and a very special thanks to TAUT ( who gave all the rowers free use of their sports drinks and paid for the 24 hour row to be staged at Sandown Park. Without Roscoe Nash and TAUT, this event would never have happened!"


Reader's Letters: Using The PM3

Nick Lawman: "I think your magazine is terrific and most informative. I wonder if you could possibly run a series of pieces about the PM3 and how to both understand the information and more importantly how to get the most out of it."

We've been meaning to publish such a series of articles for a while, but unfortunately have been prevented by our endemic incompetence. Fortunately, however, the Concept2 Education Team are afflicted by the same malaise and have recently come up with the ICT Training Guide.

ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology, and the Guide was originally designed to help schools use the computer side of the Indoor Rower effectively. What it mean is that the Guide is useful for anybody who wants to find out more about using the PM3.

The Guide provides a step by step guide to getting the most out of your PM3 and LogCard. It includes sections on using the PM3; setting up and using the LogCard; downloading the information from the LogCard and manipulating the data (this is especially useful for schools); updating the firmware (software on the monitor) and running races between machines.

The ICT Guide can be downloaded from


Neil Rhodes: Arctic Monkey

Neil Rhodes: "It was your average day when I read about the North Pole Marathon and thought, "that's a wheeze". So a few months later I was on my way. Of course if one is going to travel all that way, you want to make the most of your trip, so I naturally thought, 'take an erg', as I'm sure any dedicated ergonaut would do.

"The first stage of the journey is to get to Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitsbergen. This is the most Northerly, full service airport, one can fly to, and the launch point for our trip. Thanks to the excellent services of UPS, my erg was waiting for me when I arrived.

"From Spitsbergen we flew on a small Antonov cargo plane, to the Pole. It was a delight to see the look on the face of the plane's Russian loadmaster, as I walked across the tarmac to his plane carrying a small coffin (my erg). Even better, the look as he tilted his head sideways at the box to discover it was a rowing machine. I think he is still scratching his head in bewilderment.

"On landing at the Pole, 4:30 am, my erg and I swiftly headed for a tent and bed. Doesn't everyone sleep with their erg? Cutting this long story short, I ran the marathon the next day, my first marathon, finishing 12th out of 53 runners.

"The next day I got the erg out in the snow, to set the new world record, 'The Most Northerly Row ever carried out, Outdoors, on an Indoor Rower'. Once the photographer was done, I was taking the erg back inside, when cries of "Non, non, un moment". This was fellow runner and good friend, Phillippe Moreau, desperate for the photo opportunity, to show his rower friends at home.

"There was also another point to the row. I have seen some water rowers, wearing t-shirts that state 'Ergs don't float'. Well, my erg was happily sat on water, with no floatation aids whatsoever. Let's get this right, an erg on top of 12,000ft of water, nothing but water for miles…HELLO, BREAKING NEWS...THE ERG FLOATS. I'll be having t-shirts made shortly.

"More plans for trips with my erg, so watch this space. Talking of space, does anyone have a number for NASA?"


Indoor Rowing and Osteoporosis

  • An estimated 3 million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis
  • One in two women and one in five men will suffer a fracture after the age of 50
  • The lifetime risk of fracture in women at age 50 years is greater than the risk of breast cancer or cardiovascular disease
  • On the basis of current trends, hip fracture rates in the UK will increase from approximately 46,000 per year in 1985 to 117,000 per year in 2016
  • Hip fractures cause more than 1150 premature deaths each month
  • A woman who sustains one or more vertebral fractures will have a 4.4 fold higher mortality rate than a woman who has no vertebral fractures

Indoor rowing is known as a superb method of building cardiovascular fitness and all round muscular endurance, which is great news for anybody wishing to get and stay fit. However, as we become an increasingly ageing population, it's more important than ever that the exercise we do confers us with health as well as fitness benefits. The bad news is that modern Western societies are facing an unprecedented epidemic of osteoporosis, a bone disease that wreaks havoc in the lives of those it affects. The good news is that the latest research shows that indoor rowing could also be the perfect way to maintain bone health, contrary to previous thinking that held that weight-bearing exercise was the best way to combat osteoporosis.

Andrew Hamilton has written a long article examining the latest scientific thinking on the subject, which can be downloaded from


Charity 24-Hour Row

Three men from Windsor raised over £1,000 for charity last month in a 24-hour rowathon, inspired by five-year old Daisy Halfacre and her need for a life-saving liver transplant.

The gruelling challenge was taken up by three staff members at Daisy's school, Dedworth Green First School in Windsor on 31st of March, rowing on machines set up at the school.

Teaching assistants Peter Banks and Stuart White took turns rowing in 20-minute shifts with Stuart's 17-year-old stepson and the school's artist, Sam Medhurst.

According to Stuart, "I didn't think it would be this hard.

"You don't appreciate what rowers go through, but it is well worth it. This is nothing compared to what children like Daisy go through every day of their life."

At the end of the challenge the three of them had rowed hundreds of miles without sleep for the best part of two days.

Peter spent 16 years in the Army with the Royal Artillery based in Yorkshire, but said it was pretty tough going especially through the night.

"We've had lots of caffeine, but it's definitely worth it," he said.

Daisy's mum Lynn said: "They told me they put a picture of Daisy up near the rowing machine and every time they felt too exhausted to continue they looked at it and thought 'we can't let her down'."

The money is going to charities close to Daisy and her mum's heart, the Children's Liver Disease Foundation and the King's Paediatric Liver Centre's Starfish Appeal.

For more information on Daisy Halfacre, and Daisy Day, visit


Health Club Games

News from The Fix UK, organisers of the Annual Health Club Games:

"We are pleased to announce this event is back again for its third year. From rowing to running, take part, have chances of winning UK fitness awards and you could even win a rower just for signing up! Concept 2 are once again supporting this event, so all rowers, to register your place now, visit

"We are also excited to be running The Oracle Team Challenge. This new team fitness challenge is sponsored by Oracle and in support of ChildLine.

"The event is made up of six gym based events with three team members each completing 2 of the six. Points are scored per event with all teams competing against one another. Any team can win as points are allocated depending on male/female combinations. "Places are extremely limited, so to secure your team, support ChildLine and represent your company, go to now."


Upcoming Races and Events

If you've got an event you'd like adding to the Event Calendar, the full version of which can be seen at, then e-mail