Callum Gathercole of East Horsley broke the aged 19 and under, lightweight, timed indoor rowing world record for 100 kilometres at the Friary Centre, Guildford on Saturday 13 September. Callum is a pupil of George Abbot School and a keen member of Walton Rowing Club and former Cranmore, CLFS.
Callum began the challenge at 9am and was lying on the floor of the Friary centre with exhaustion by 4.03pm. He sat on a pillow on the rowing machine to relieve pressure and was cheered on by passers-by throughout the long row, whilst friends and family fed him biscuits, cake and water. The previous record, held by an American was seven hours, eighteen minutes and eight seconds, but Callum smashed it, setting a new world record of seven hours and two minutes.
Callum commented, “I had stepped up my training to make sure I am really fit – I am rowing every day (either indoors or on the river), as well as cycling or running and also fitting in regular weights sessions at the Walton Rowing Club gym, so I was quietly confident of beating the record, but seven hours was a long time to keep going at that pace. It was a real test of endurance but the fantastic people who cheered me on really helped me to keep going.”
Callum was spurred on by fond memories of his beloved father, Clive, who passed away in August 2012, having been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour 15 months previously. Callum had been studying for his GCSEs when he got the news and with every pull on the rowing machine he made, he raised desperately needed funds for Brain Tumour Research.
Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s and one in 50 people who die under the age of 60, die of a brain tumour – yet research is woefully underfunded, receiving just 1% of national cancer research spending. Callum raised £1,330 from his record-breaking row which will contribute significantly towards the vital research carried out by Brain Tumour which is enough to fund half a day of research.
Callum concluded: “It is reassuring to think that what I did this weekend and what I am planning to do in Dad’s memory will help bring us closer to finding a cure for brain tumours.”
This incredibly demanding fundraising record attempt is impressively a small achievement within a far greater challenge. Callum’s indoor rowing endurance feat will provide a huge boost to his training and efforts to achieve his ultimate goal…
Along with Jay Olenicz, a fellow 19 year old student at Bristol University, they will take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge in December 2015, aiming to become the youngest pair to row across the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, the two teenagers have set their sights on raising a magnificent £280,000 for three charities, which include Brain Tumour Research, the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher (where Clive received the most amazing care in his final days) and BRACE, funding research into Alzheimer’s.
Please dig deep to sponsor Callum’s rowing challenges and help Brain Tumour Research in their mission to save lives by donating on their JUST GIVING page.