If there is one thing that I believe in, fitness should be fun. So when myself and a few of the girls from my fitness classes got the chance to race in the Sea Bangor Cup rowing race, we jumped at the chance to show everyone what we are made of.
The Sea Bangor Cup is the annual rowing race which launched last year. The aim was to get local businesses involved to help promote themselves. My team was the Lauren Pinkney Health and Fitness team. We were a group of ladies who train together and hoped we could row together. We were lucky that we could get a few practice runs in first with the local Sea Cadets Corps. They had very kindly offered to take us out on a few evenings so that we could get a feel for the boat and the water. The race was held in Bangor Habour and was to be a 200 meter dash in a rowing boat supplied by the local Sea Cadets.
Race day came and everyone was feeling nervous. We were placed in heat 1 with one of the local restaurants (The Hop House), the Sea Cadets, and the Bangor Chamber of Commerce. Heat 2 was Bangor Aurora gym, the Army, The Bathroom Business, and SERC (the local college). Heat 3 was to be the Bloomfield Bandits, ANDBC building control, and the Bangor Blow In’s. Before the race, we were given a safety briefing by the organiser and the head of the Sea Cadets. A safety boat would be out in the harbour at all times, and the Lifeguard was on standby just incase there were any accidents.
We were all in our boats when we realised that the teams were slightly different. Who did we actually race against? I have no idea! But I can tell you we were the only all-woman team in the entire competition. And we were planning on smashing this.
The buzzer sounded and we were off. Or we tried to get moving but Nikki, who was in position 1 in the boat, snapped her oar on the first stroke. We only had three people to row for this heat. The pressure was on as we had to make sure we didn’t fall behind. Nikki tried to row with her broken oar but it was too awkward for her to hold it. But even with only three rowers, we finished miles ahead of everyone else!
Nobody expected this heat to go well. The Army was supposed to have a team together. But they didn’t. Turns out it was a typo and it was the Navy. The freakin’ Royal Navy had entered! This was not the fairest of races. I’m not expert on the training that they do, but I think there is some boat rowing involved, especially if you are based on a ship.
It’s no surprise that the Navy smashed this heat, and one of their oars from rowing so hard.
Heat 3 had last years winners racing, the Bloomfield Bandits. Sure enough, they breezed through the water with the confidence of a previous winner. They had dressed themselves with fake moustaches as a gimmick, including their teenage girl coxswain (that’s the Sea Cadet that steers the boat).
The final race saw my team, the Bloomfield Bandits, and the Royal Navy competing for the cup. We were not even in the proper position when the buzzer went, we were a full boat length behind everyone else! So we had some serious ground to make up, but we caught up and passed everyone. But we couldn’t keep up the pace and we lost power in the last ten strokes. In the end, we lost to the Royal Navy by less than a foot.
It was a great race and I hope I get the chance to take part again next year.