What it's like to win a Henley race
Recently, my crew and I from Leander Rowing Club won at Henley Royal Regatta which is arguably the most prestigious rowing regatta in the world. Winning a race at Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) can bring a huge wave of emotions.
HRR runs on a knock out system; where you race side by side in a duel race which you have to win to move onto the next round. Winning these rounds can be strange, although you won the race all you want to do is get ready for the next race. Sometimes you can have four races before your final on the Sunday, depending on which race you are in and how many competitors there are.
As you progress through the rounds you expend more and more energy so winning each race becomes more about getting through it and getting your recovery with help from some KYMIRA 2.0 leggings, rather than giving it all you have. After winning each of these races you realise that you are getting closer to the final day and the excitement builds. Since you keep beating other crews the idea that you could actually win Henley Royal Regatta starts to form in your head. Your name could be added to one of the amazing trophies in the hallowed prize room in the steward’s enclosure!
You have made it through all of the preliminary rounds, it is Sunday and you are on the start line of the final. You have come out on top in every one of your dual races in the previous days and you are now ready to give it everything you have. You aren’t as fresh as you were at the start of the week but with the nerves and adrenalin pumping you don’t notice. You fly down the course and on this occasion, beat the crew you are racing. You’ve won Henley Royal Regatta! You throw your hands in the air and roar to celebrate your win. Your fellow crewmates splash in the water and shout with you. You are overcome with a combination of relief and joy, you have spent at least the last year training for this exact moment and it was all worth it! Parents, relatives and fans alike cheer on from the banks as you paddle into the dock.
On the dock you are welcomed by your coach who shakes your hand and gives you a congratulatory hug. You are handed a bottle of champagne and after a quick count to three you all shake the bottles and spray it everywhere. You line up for a quick crew photo before you are able to walk into the crowd that has gathered to see your parents.
As I mentioned earlier, Henley Royal Regatta is one of the most prestigious rowing events in the world. Winning it, in any category puts you on a very short list of people. Some people chase a HRR medal their whole lives and never manage it, others are luckier and have multiple medals to their name. It does not matter what type of rower you are or where you are from, winning the Henley Royal Regatta is a big deal and I am truly honored to add my name to that list.