Meet Colin – The man who has rowed over 15 million metres since 2014

Colin has rowed around the world one and a half times since 2014. Read his story


“The most common question I get asked is ‘how do you do it? And I say I don’t know – I just do it.”

It’s no wonder that people ask Colin Watts where he finds his motivation. Last week alone he was on a Wattbike for 2 and a half hours, an indoor rowing machine for over 3 hours (twice) and a SkiErg for 2 hours and 45 minutes, covering a distance of around 30K. The morning we spoke he had rowed a marathon on an indoor rowing machine in 3 hours 24 minutes. He can also do an 11 minute plank.

Colin began his journey on an indoor rowing machine soon after he left a secure unit, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He had been on a type of medication which caused him to put on weight, and wanted to find an exercise to help him get back in shape. When asked why he chose the indoor rowing machine, Colin said simply “I just got on it.” Unsurprisingly, he lost the weight he’d been wanting to lose quickly, and hasn’t looked back since, spending at least a few hours in the gym per day, 6 days a week.

For Colin, however, the best part of exercise is how he feels afterwards. He describes it as a “healthy drug” that leaves him with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. It’s a well-earned feeling – “People can’t believe how long I’ve been on a machine when they look at my screen,” he says.

Colin’s fastest 50k was done in just 3 hours 40 minutes – although since we spoke he’s managed a faster time!

Colin is meticulous in tracking his achievements. He was awarded the Concept2 5 million metre rowing badge just 10 months after he started on an indoor machine. In a year and a half he received his 10 million metre t-shirt and a 15 million metre shirt came soon afterwards. He has over 2,000 pictures of ergo screens on his camera roll.

“Some people will try to challenge me in the gym,” Colin says in his matter-of-fact way, his voice free of boast. “But they can’t really.”

Colin wants to start to put his miles to good use. His goals going forwards are to hit 20 million tracked miles with Concept2, and to start to take part in charity rows.

Colin’s next plan is to start taking part in RowTheDistance challenges, and any other rows which help people raise money for good causes.

We wish Colin the best of luck as he continues with his impressive exercise routine – well done Colin!

Colin was put in touch with us through the charity P3. To find out more about their work, click here 

If Colin’s story has inspired you to get on an indoor rowing machine, you can find our 2K training plans on British Rowing Pus for under £3 a month.