HE may not have come away victorious but Croydon’s Graham Booth insisted he had loved every minute of his moment in the spotlight at the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta.
Booth and his colleagues got their competitive juices flowing in London’s Canada Square Park on Friday evening as they bade to be the best team over 1km on Concept 2 rowing machines.
The Invesco Perpetual City Regatta is a spectacular new challenge where four-strong male and female crews compete head to head in a series of fast and furious regatta-style knock-out races live on stage in four cities across the country.
Booth was in action at the fourth event of the series in the capital, with three having already taken place in Edinburgh, Leeds and Bristol, before the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta Winner’s Row-Off on October 12 at London’s Guildhall which will take place in front of an array of rowing legends and heroes returning from Rio.
And while he and his CrossFit 1864oar team-mates were unable to earn local bragging rights, 26-year-old Booth insisted it had still been good to pit his wits against other rowers.
“We came to have some fun, and anything extra we could get from that would be a bonus,” he said.
“We went hard in the first ten strokes, then tried to keep that consistent rhythm before pushing for the last 250m. We all put in massive shift so I’m really proud of all the guys and their work.
“The music and crowd were awesome to hear, the cheering was fantastic and we had a whole load of guys sitting out on the grass cheering us on, so it wasn’t a bad way to be able to spend a Friday evening.
“Everyone seemed to be getting involved which was fantastic, it’s what events like this are all about.
“We’ve done time trials before, but nothing on a level like this, and it’s great to part of that experience.
“We’ll definitely be back if it comes again next year, it was an awesome evening out – enjoyed it more than even we thought we might have done and it’s a great way to start the weekend.”
Designed to test both fitness and teamwork, the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta is open to everyone – from seasoned pros, rowing novices or those who are just up for a new challenge.
During the competition, all four crew members row on separate rowing machines at the same time over a target distance of 1km with the racing software producing a 500m split pace for each rower, while the individual splits are then compiled in real time into one average split pace for the entire crew.
Their progress is then displayed on big screens for competitors and spectators alike to see – including double Olympic medallist Alex Partridge who was there to cheer on crews and offer words of encouragement.
And for Partridge, who won silver and bronze in Beijing and London respectively, the standard of rowing on show was more than impressive.
“Invesco Perpetual have had a long-standing relationship with rowing, and specifically Leander Club, which is the biggest backer of the British rowing team outside of British Rowing themselves,” he said.
“It’s been part of the grassroots foundation programme and the City Regatta is all about building the profile of Leander Club and providing a platform for future Olympians in rowing, looking ahead to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
“It’s been a very special day to hold the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta because we have seen the first two British gold medals in rowing being won in Rio.
“It’s a phenomenal event, it’s amazing to see the support of rowing, particularly rowing on the machine, which is one of the painful apparatus that there is in any gym.
“And I think the opportunity that the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta have opened up, to be able to attend the celebration of Great Britain’s Olympic medallists and athletes at the Guildhall with Leander Club, is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and a really special thing to have.”
Invesco Perpetual’s innovative new ‘City Regatta’ event is a celebration of the achievements of Leander Club, the main feeder club to the GB team with 24 of its rowers headed for Rio, and aims to encourage more people across the UK to get involved in rowing.