The Great Thames Row – Blog 7 – The Missing Piece

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tgtr2016 logo small with naomiOne of a series of blogs provided by Naomi Riches – building up to The Great Thames Row, an attempt to set a record for being the fastest woman to row 165 miles along the length of the River Thames, whilst raising funds for The full archive of related blogs can be found here:

31st March 2016 – The Missing Piece

The first and definitely the most exciting thing to mention is that Stephanie ( who built the website for the incredible Coxless Crew, is creating a website for us… You can find the holding page at  Watch this space!!!

A month ago I was fooling myself when I was telling the world that the training was going well.  I knew what to do, I had set my own programme and goals from the knowledge I had built up over the years and from what Malcolm, the 2005 World Record holder had shared with me… but it just didn’t feel right.  I was enjoying being back in the Marlow Rowing Club squad and training with them but something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

In early March Liz and I met in our favourite place, Marlow Rowing Club’s Scullers Café to discuss leaflet layouts and content.  We bumped into a friend of mind, Jacqui Jones whilst we were there we chatted for a few minutes about the row… at last I admitted that training was not going well at all, in fact I was being rather pathetic about it, was scared that I would not be fit enough and was demotivated.  Jacqui, without faltering for even a second said ‘I’ll write you a programme’.  She has trained people up for Marathons and she is a rower, between us we know a lot… so why did I not think of this before?  What a numpty!!

naomis boat‘YES PLEASE’ was my immediate response and a few days later, after sitting together and planning out the next 6 months of my life I realised what had been missing… I spent almost a decade in the GB Squad reporting in to someone, handing in my programme, having weekly and monthly targets.  I know that I am motivated, if I wasn’t I would not be doing The Great Thames Row… I’m just not hugely self-motivated.  I prefer to work with people, so even though it is just me propelling myself down the Thames in September I will be part of a team, everyone working towards the same end goal.

So this last month’s training has gone very well and I can see a process starting to develop!  At the end of April I will complete my first long session on the rowing machine, I’ll start at 4pm and row the first 4 hours of TGTR, rowing for and stopping for the times stated on the time sheet; a dress rehearsal I guess.  Each month I will do a least one long row adding 2 hours each month.  This will be either on land or water, replicating a part of the row including the time of day/night.   Slightly concerned but excited by the 8 hour stint that starts at Midnight at the end of June!!!

At last the Filippi is out on the water at!  I went for my first paddle a couple of weeks ago and I it feels so smooth and stable… good job as we need to survive the Tidal Thames and the Thames Estuary together.

naomi in boatMy boat does not yet have a name… can you help?  Get your thinking caps on as the next month’s blog will outline the different ways you get involved in and support TGTR2016, including a boat naming competition.

So I am on track, improving every time I get on the rowing machine or in a boat and I can see and feel the changes not just in my muscles but in how much clothes fit 8-)!   At MarlowRC there are so many willing volunteers to coach, row with, arrange events with and generally support TGTR2016; I feel overwhelmed and very, very lucky!  Just a little shout out here to a remarkable woman and dear friend Ruth Naylor, she is always a willing victim/partner for a paddle!

If you would like to know how you can get involved in this, please contact us at and we can send you all the information you might need.


Twitter: @TGTR2016   @INvision_buzz    @NaomiRichesMBE 

The full archive of related blogs can be found here:

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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