Fergus Mainland 

Stacey Denyer: Indoor Rowing, MS, and BRIC

Stacey Denyer started indoor rowing in 2019 after a relapse of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Osteoarthritis in her knees which  meant she could no longer run, squat or deadlift. Her first competition was the 2019 Royal Air Force Indoor Champs , followed by the British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) 2019.

She has lost count of the indoor rowing competitions she has partaken in since then, but took home three gold medals during British Rowing’s Festival of Indoor Rowing in 2022 in 500m, 1min, and 4min (Women's IAR6).

 She is a member of Team Oarsome Indoor Rowing Club but will be representing We Are Invictus at this year's BRIC year due to the support from the Invictus Games Foundation. this will be her first national event as PR3.

How did you prepare for BRIC?

"The Invictus Games Team UK Coaches kindly created a program for me and some of the other Team UK ergers for BRIC 23. It consists of 6x 1 hour (ish) erg sessions a week, a mixture of slow and steady base building, right up to maximum effort intervals. I’ve also signed up to Dorset Indoor Rowing Champs which is happening two weeks prior to BRIC."


What did it mean to win the British Championships?

"My MS had flared up and my overall health had deteriorated during 2021/22. I was training as much as usual but seemed to be regressing, mainly due to fatigue and nerve pain. Getting three golds gave me that boost and reminded me to not give up, and that I should be kinder to myself. As long as I give all I can on competition day I should be happy – sometimes that’s over 300m in 1 minute, and sometimes I’m lucky to reach 290m!


Do you have a favourite memory from previous events? (can be winning or anything that stood out at competitions)

"I recently got a two PBs – which meant two British Records at the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 (1min and 4min). I got a bronze medal for the 1min row.

"BRIC 2019, I remember Shelagh, a lady in the Masters Women 80-84 2000m race. Being able to get up and still put yourself through a 2k race at a more mature age is such an inspiration. The fact that indoor rowing has so many different para and adaptive categories and so many different age brackets shows what an inclusive sport it is."


What was your pre-race routine?

"Headphones on, get in the zone, some really light rowing, gradually ramping up the power and pace. MS fatigue means that I have to warm up conservatively, so I don’t use all my energy pre-race!"


Are you going to Birmingham this year, if so, what are you most looking forward to?

"I’m looking forward to the in-person race experience again. I’m also looking forward to seeing my Invictus Games team mates, Team Oarsome team mates and former team mates from the Armed Forces."


What's your favourite part of indoor rowing?

"Finishing! My coach, Nick, calls indoor rowing ‘type 2 fun’, in that you may not enjoy it in the moment, but you look back afterwards and think, ‘Yea that was fun, I’d do it again’."

What three songs are straight on your playlist?

  • Vault by Pendulum
  • Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore
  • Bangarang by Skrillex (I do tend to reserve these solely for race day or time trials now – training wise it’s usually rap for steady state, punk for long intervals and drum & bass for sprints).


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