Ten years on: Previous world record holder Chris Farrell looks back at a three-day row with his wife
Not just your average rowing love story: Chris and Sally took part in a gruelling three-day indoor rowing session to break a world record. Now 10 years, multiple jobs and two kids down the line, Chris looks back on his world record
Last weekend our Project Manager for Indoor Rowing Chris Farrell, celebrated ten years since he and his (now) wife Sally broke the tandem mixed Concept2 British and World record for Longest Continual Row with a time of 3 days, 1 minute and 52 seconds. During that time they clocked up a gruelling 639,501 metres – that’s nearly 130 5km erg tests! The couple took turns to keep the flywheel spinning, with each rowing for at least 40% of the time, according to the rules.
Read on to see Chris reflecting on why he took part in the tandem row ten years ago, what vital causes he raised money for and what indoor rowing has meant to his life since.
What gave you the idea to do the tandem row?
The tandem row came about as a way to raise vital funds for Kidney Research UK and Lincoln Rowing Centre. Kidney issues had been something that has affected both our families with Chris’s grandad unfortunately passing away from it and his uncle recently having a kidney transplant.
We felt we wanted to give back and raise awareness of how this disease can affect so many people. As well as wanting to give back to Lincoln Rowing Centre who had helped inspire us both to get started in the sport of rowing. With it being one of the newest clubs at the time to the sport, it was another way to raise money and inspire more people of how open, easy accessible and inclusive the sport can be as well as helping with purchasing more equipment to get it established.
What better way to do both by putting ourselves through a major challenge, that at the time was bonkers, but also a way to make the fundraising more sweeter if we achieved what we set out to do. Luckily we did do it. The money raised was split 50/50 and actually helped purchase new equipment which is still used today!
Has rowing always been a part of your relationship?
It has actually. Sally and I met at the University of Lincoln Rowing Club having both been club president, with Chris then becoming Club Captain at Lincoln. What better way to test if your relationship that to see if you can both survive and stay together longer term than rowing over three days continuously together? It actually showed us how much of a team we really are, and how we can support one another no matter through the good, the bad and the ugly. As well as achieving something amazing at the same time.
What’s the biggest thing that’s changed over the last ten years in your lives?
From achieving the world record, we actually went on to get married and have had two beautiful children (a girl and newborn baby boy). We have also created a fantastic rowing family off the back of the event that has created life time of friendships, godparents and more.
What people forget when someone achieves a record is the support team that comes with the event. Members of the club, friends, parents, siblings. All of who we are entirely in the debt of for how they helped us get through the record back in 2012. We will never be thankful for how much it was a team achievement even if the records just say our two names.
How often do you still get to row?
Sally is just coming back post pregnancy and starting to make her way back slowly onto the machine. I probably row indoors three to four times a week, when I’m not running marathons. I’m hoping to be back on the water in the near future after a small time stepping away. And I’m also trying to inspire others through my role at British Rowing.