Sunday, 07 August 2022

Veteran rowers in seventh heaven

TWO rowers from Goring have enjoyed their most successful season since taking up the sport.

TWO rowers from Goring have enjoyed their most successful season since taking up the sport.

Alice Brown, 52, of Icknield Road, and Laura Forrest, 50, of Manor Road, won seven gold medals between them at masters’ events this summer.

At the British Masters’ Championships in Nottingham in June Mrs Brown won three while Ms Forrest won two.

The pair, who represent Wallingford Rowing Club, were also part of an eight that won the category C events at the Henley Masters’ Regatta and the Veterans’ Head of the River race in London.

Mrs Brown also won gold in the quadruple sculls for crews with an average age over 43 at the World Masters’ event in Hazewinkel, Belgium, last month. Her crew was in second place until the final three strokes before winning by less than half a second.

Mrs Brown, a chartered accountant, has been rowing since 1983 and joined the club in 2007, two years after moving from London to Goring with her husband Geoff.

Last year she was part of a veterans’ squad that won six gold medals at the European Masters’ Regatta in Munich.

She said: “I like winning obviously but it isn’t just about competing. I love rowing for the chance to be outside, to get fit and to get involved with other people.

“Goring is a great area for the sport. Goring Gap Boat Club and the Goring and Streatley Regatta offer excellent opportunities for novices and Wallingford is just up the road if you want to take it a bit further.”

Ms Forrest, who lives with her partner Chris Biggs, took up rowing after enrolling on an introductory course at Wallingford eight years ago.

She said: “I’d reached the point in life where I wanted to have an all-consuming hobby. I did a sewing course at the same time so it was either going to be sewing or rowing and rowing won and now takes up all my time!

“I’ve taken part in smaller competitions before but this was my first season at the big events and I’m really pleased with how it went. To race with a successful crew is so much fun.”

Club chairwoman Katie Kapernaros, from Checkendon, also competed at Nottingham and won three golds. She was also part of Mrs Brown’s winning quad in Belgium.

She said: “I’m delighted not just for Alice and Laura but for the club’s women’s veterans as a whole, who’ve enjoyed their most successful season for a number of years.

“It’s great that Alice is proving as successful at masters’ level as she was when she was a senior, while Laura is proof that it’s never too late to take up rowing. She is highly committed and it’s wonderful to see her achieving because she deserves it.”

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