Personal trainer Terry Haywood, 56, broke into the world age-group top ten with a marathon row to raise money for the WJC Birth Centre in Braintree.
Fitness fanatic Terry rode a Concept 2 rowing machine at Dunmow Leisure Centre for an incredible 3hrs 8mins, covering 42,195 metres (26.2 miles). He also sailed past his fundraising target of £2000 and hopes to have raised over £3000 by the time all donations are in.
Terry first rowed a marathon five years ago with no preparation: “It was the hardest thing I’d ever done, and I said, ‘I’m never doing that again.’ I had a blister the size of a 50 pence piece on my right buttock and I’ve still got the scar.”
But after encouragement from his wife Lindsay – a midwife at WJC – and the promise of £500 sponsorship from a client, he decided to take up the challenge.
“I’d toyed with the idea and then remembered how horrible it was. But my wife said, ‘How about if you did it for a good cause?’ And I couldn’t think of a better cause than raising money for the birthing unit.”
With experienced marathon runner Lindsay directing his training, Terry covered over 500,000 metres in the build up to the big day.
“The game plan was to keep pace between 2:05 and 2:06 per 500m but I felt so strong at the beginning I went off too fast. The plan was to pick it up in the last ten thousand, but when it came to it, I didn’t have that pick-up in me. That last ten thousand was horrible. I focussed on the monitor and was pretty much oblivious to what was going on around me.
“I didn’t quite get the time I wanted – I wanted to get under three hours. But that puts me eighth in the world for my age so I’m not too disappointed.”
Terry was powered by water, jelly babies and sliced Mars bars and burned over 2500 calories – the recommended daily intake for an adult.
So what’s next for Terry?
“I’m going to have another go at the rowing marathon and try to get it under three hours. I’ll do that in March-April time. And I’d like to see how many burpees I could do in an hour. I did a burpee mile on an athletics track and did between 900 and 1000 burpees in that time.”
And is Terry the fittest 56-year-old in the country?
“There’s always someone fitter but I like to think I’m reasonably fit. I work at it pretty much every day and I have done since I was twelve years old.”