Fergus Mainland 

BRIC back with a bang in Birmingham

The British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) were held at the NEC in Birmingham in conjunction with FitFest 2023, a competitive fitness festival hosting over 5,000 athletes. Almost 1,500 competitors took part in BRIC’s 50 races, competing for the national title in person for the first time since 2019.

Matilda Greenwood (daughter of England rugby alumnus Will Greenwood) had a phenomenal day racing in the Sixth Form Girls IAR6 category, taking gold and breaking both the 1 minute and 2000m World Records. Greenwood logged 285 metres in 60 seconds and completed the 2000m event in a time of 8:43.9.

With two decades of indoor rowing excellence behind him, it was no surprise that Graham Benton left the race floor with another record, finishing the Masters 50-54 Open 2000m in just 6:05.0. This brought his tally of Championship titles to an astonishing 17, alongside five World Championship wins.

The 2000m racing saw eight other British Championship records broken. In the U23 Open category, Josh Knight of Agecroft RC snuck under the six minute barrier with a time of 5:58.1, making him the fastest across all age groups at the event.

One of the most emotive moments of the day came when Howard Cole (86), the oldest competitor of the weekend, set a new record in the Masters 85-89 Open 2000m, completing his effort in 11:18.9.

In the Women’s 2000m, University of Birmingham’s Katie Mole made the home crowd proud as she won the event in a time of 6:52.2. Championship records also fell in the 75-79 Women’s 2000m event - won by Deborah Colchester, 65-69 Lightweight Women’s 2000m event - won by Carol Woodward, and the 75-79 Lightweight Women’s 2000m event - won by Bett Osbourne. Former British rower Debbie Bruwer (née Flood) was victorious in the Women’s 40-49 2000m.

39 adaptive events took place over the course of the day, competing over 2000m, 500m and in timed events. The crowds were closer to the action than ever before at this year’s BRIC, and Sally Hopewell of Marlow RC crossed the line in the PR1 Women 2000m with the support of the entire arena.

Hartpury College showed up in force for the Sixth Form races. They swept the podium in the Girls’ event, with gold, silver, and bronze going to Millie Hurrell, Katie Gardner, and Chloe Sheppard respectively with Hurrell clocking 7:09.4. In the Boys’ event, Elliot Donavan-Davies posted an impressive 6:06.1 to win comfortably by nearly 13s.

A team of volunteers held down machines for the Men’s Open 500m. The three podium finishers, Phil Clapp, Thomas Wilson, and Chris Scott were separated by just 0.7s after the opening 100m, but Phil Clapp pulled away and finished in an impressive 1:12.0.

Kirstie Geary was untouchable in the Women’s 500m event, leading from the claxon and finishing in 1:31.2, an impressive five seconds ahead of Daisy Gregory from the Army Rowing Clubs Association.

The Army Indoor Rowing Team won the Open 4km relay, after beening in a nip-and-tuck battle with ROWBOTS for the majority of the race. Transitions are vital in the relays and the regimented changeovers from the Army paid dividends in the final 100m of the race.

The Army had to settle for third and fourth in the women’s relay as the aptly named ‘Impeccable Transitions’ team motored to victory by over 20 seconds pushing Team Dominus into second place.

It was a win for Agecroft RC in the Adult Mixed 4km Relay, as GB Beach Sprint Team athlete James raced the anchor leg for his team of World Indoor silver medallist Charlotte Dixon, Olympic Pathway athlete Harmony Noi and Harry Jackson, finishing their race in a time of 11:42.6.

British Rowing Events Manager James Lee said, "BRIC really returned with a bang this year! It was a huge team effort to organise this fresh format in a new venue, and I'm hugely grateful to the expert group of team leaders and the army of volunteers who made it all come to life on the day. There were some really special moments on the race floor and it was fantastic to be able to bring the spectators so close to the action."

Full BRIC Results

Race day photos can be downloaded free for personal use from the AllMarkOne store.

Enjoyed BRIC? Sign up for ROW31, a 31-day full-body workout programme to kickstart your new year fitness routine!

ROW31 is a a month-long programme throughout January with six workouts a week (rest day on Sundays), each workout taking between 15 and 30 minutes to complete.

A daily email will land in your inbox with a link to an easy-to-follow video workout, which you can complete in your own time. There’s also a weekly live workout every Wednesday for those who love to workout with others!

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