The Million Metre Row

As many of you already know and probably saw, I completed 1 million meters on an indoor rowing machine in just over 9 days in April.

I recently answered some questions for a friend and thought I would share some of my answer so that you can get a better understanding on what the million metre challenge was all about and how it went.


Where did this epic (yet crazy) idea first come from?

I have always wanted to go out and try some big endurance challenges but an old injury has stopped me signing up for anything yet. Luckily I have been able to Row pain free so after I completed a marathon row I wasn’t satisfied which lead me to complete 100k in one go and then this was obviously the next logical step (hmmmmm)

I get a real buzz out of seeing how far I can push my body and also my mind. I also see these challenges a great way of building up some mental toughness for when I am fit enough to attempt the real adventures.



Has anyone else attempted this or similar?

Yes when I thought about doing it the first thing I did was check the concept 2 website to see if it had been done and it had. I completed the challenge in just over 9 days, and the record for my age and weight category is just over 5 days! Obviously it took me a lot longer but I must add that I did actually complete this challenge alongside my full time job which made things a lot tougher.




What exactly was the initial plan?

I had a coach and we spent a lot of time leading up to the challenge monitoring my Heart Rate to see what sort of pace I was able to sustain without letting my HR get to high. We worked out a pace of 10K an hour and a total of 100k a day which meant 10 hours on the rowing machine at that pace. As I mentioned before I had to fit some work around when  i was rowing but generally I would row throughout the day starting at 5 and finishing at 8 or 9.



What were your thoughts before starting the first day? and did it get easier each day or harder? Why?

I am always super excited to start these sorts of challenges, and the buzz I get from all the support around the gym and on social media adds to that. I’ll be honest the first couple of days were exciting with lots of people around to support me and the fact that I trained and had done similar times and distances on the machine in the weeks leading up to it helped a lot. The challenge really hit me on Day 3 when I was rowing alone in the gym on a Friday evening, from then I knew it would uphill.




What were 3 highlights you had?

1) My first highlight has to be on day 2 when one of the ladies from our gym came over and asked me how I was getting on and how far I had got so far. I proudly answered that I had completed 138k and I was ahead of schedule. Her reply was ”not bad!!’


The comment, although she generally meant it as praise was hilarious because of the fact that rowing 100K in one day almost became a normal thing to do. I honestly don’t mean it in a big headed way and she was not trying to insult me it was just a funny comment and actually made me think about the bigger picture- she was right it wasn’t bad, but now I have to get back on and do row another 860K

2) The second highlight was the response I got from one of our members who I nicknamed SamWise (lord of the rings) because he rowed every single day with me and completed over 300K himself. Shadi came in on the Saturday evening around 4 when i still had at least 5 hours left. I asked him how long he was going to Row for and his answer was ‘until you’re done’. To have someone like that next to you is highly motivating and he helped me more than he could ever imagine.

3) I decided to go overnight on the last day which meant I could finish in 9 days rather than 10. The amount of support I had from people coming down to row with me throughout the night was amazing- I was never alone!! Members, Friends and even coaches from other gyms came down to support me. We actually set up a Rowing Cinema, and shut the lights off and watched Rocky 4 while we rowed.



What was the hardest part of attempting this?

As you would imagine the mental aspect of rowing for that amount of time was totally draining especially when the nights started getting later and the mornings earlier to fit everything in.

I’ll be honest though a lot of preparation went into the challenge that not many people realise. I knew that I needed a coach to hold me accountable to training for the challenge so I worked with Marcus Smith at Inner Fight someone who I have a lot respect for because of previous challenges I have seen him complete. It’s seriously tough getting motivation to train when you look at your workouts for the week and see he has programmed an Am session of a 45k Row followed by a PM session of a 10K time trial.

The fact that I was spending that long on the machine and I hadn’t even started the challenge yet was exhausting.



What’s the next challenge for you?

My next challenge starts right away and that is to Rehab my hip injury that I have had for over 2 years now. This is 1 of the reasons the Rowing machine has been my weapon of choice recently as it doesn’t aggravate my injury.

I will start thinking of the next challenge but it will not be within the gym environment. As I mentioned I have always wanted to go out and try some bigger endurance challenges around the world. I’ll let you know as soon as I decide


Coach Joff