Ten mil­lion me­tres and still row­ing away

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

Jump­ing on a row­ing ma­chine at the gym is some­thing many peo­ple can re­late to.

But Noel Rear­don has taken the ex­er­cise to ex­tremes af­ter be­com­ing the first per­son to row 10 mil­lion me­tres at the cen­tral city YMCA.

Mr Rear­don says he first be­gan row­ing dur­ing 2001 in a YMCAspon­sored pro­gramme that sup­ported two New Zealand transat­lantic row­ing teams.

The Mt Eden res­i­dent en­joyed the chal­lenge so much he made row­ing his num­ber one ac­tiv­ity at the gym.

“It’s very hard to get into, but once you’re into it, it’s very ad­dic­tive,” he says.

Orig­i­nally Mr Rear­don planned on get­ting to one mil­lion me­tres as quickly as he could, but just kept on go­ing af­ter notic­ing the health ben­e­fits.

“You can push your body a lot harder than run­ning.

“I found it a lot eas­ier on the joints,” he says.

Af­ter reach­ing the nine mil­lion mark, Mr Rear­don says he had to set him­self smaller goals to keep things fresh. This in­cluded row­ing a marathon­length 42km in three hours and three min­utes to knock off the 10 mil­lion me­tres.

“I was try­ing to break three hours but didn’t quite make it,” he says.

The 51-year-old says now that he’s reached 10 mil­lion he will keep row­ing, but not as com­pet­i­tively.

Mac Rob­son, who sits in sec­ond place on the city YMCA’s lad­der with around 9.2 mil­lion me­tres, says Mr Rear­don is a “hard man to catch”.

But he is con­fi­dent of crack­ing Mr Rear­don’s record even­tu­ally.

Cen­tral City YMCA ad­min­is­tra­tion man­ager He­len Hug­gle­stone thinks Mr Rear­don’s achieve­ment is “ab­so­lutely great”.

She says there is a lot of com­pe­ti­tion among male row­ers at the gym to break the record, with mem­bers reg­u­larly check­ing the record book to see how far off they are.

“You hear them in the morn­ing ask­ing each other ‘how much did you do to­day?’

“Then you find them the next day go­ing hell for leather.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Row, row, row your ma­chine: Noel Rear­don, front, shows off his row­ing skills as Mac Rob­son, back, and Bob Magowan try to catch him.

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