Bath’s best boatmen are heading for the Head of the River Race
27th March, 2019
On the city’s western waterways, Minerva Rowing Club’s men’s squad have been training for months on end, at both ends of the day and week, preparing to race the prestigious and competitive Head of the River Race (HORR) on Saturday. Hopes are high, since seven of the 16 men, and one cox, won hard-fought races at Henley just a few weeks ago.
This year two men’s boats – each with eight single-oar rowers and a cox – hope to get the best ever result at HORR for Minerva. They’ll race 6.8 kilometres (4.3 miles) from Chiswick Bridge in Mortlake to Putney, against more than three hundred other crews.
It’s the same stretch of the tidal Thamesway – known as the Championship Course – that the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races will be tackling on the following Sunday – but this time in reverse.
First boat stroke rower, Emanuele Farinini, (24) says they are ready to give it everything: “It’s been a hard winter of training in the dark, on icy mornings and over long, physically and mentally exhausting distances. This is what it was leading to. Our fitness has never been better. Henley has put the bit between our teeth and we are going to bring everything we have to the race!”
Meanwhile, squad rep and cox Maria Mummery, who’ll be taking on the significant challenge of steering her eight down the gruelling course, says “The anticipation of great things is difficult to ignore. I’ll be taking the guys under those Thames bridges and expecting to stride past many a university boat!”
There’s just a few short days to spot the crews perfecting their skill and determination on the river between Newbridge and Saltford before they tackle their biggest battle of the waves.
What does it take to train for this annual race?
• training 6-8 times a week, on land and water
• regularly rowing 12-16km on the River Avon in Bath, at the crack of dawn or after work, as the evening light fades
• competing in rowing machine tests to win your seat against squad members
• weight and stamina training with weights
• lots of carbs and protein supplements