Brave rowers shatter records at annual Portadown Boat Club Marascull race

A total of 120 courageous souls, representing 48 crews from eight esteemed rowing clubs across Ireland, gathered at the Bann Foot to take part in the annual Portadown Boat Club Marascull race.
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The crews were greeted by warm sunshine as they took to the water in conditions ideal for the 15k endurance race, with a promising tailwind for most of the day.

In a spectacular display of skill and determination, the Lagan Scullers foursome of Watts, Oliver, Hull, and McBurney blazed down the 15k course from the Bann Foot to Portadown PBC, clinching overall victory. Their phenomenal performance shattered the existing record by over three minutes, completing this year’s event in a remarkable 53 minutes, 57 seconds.

The Portadown hosts celebrated the triumph of homegrown talent, especially former Portadown rower Nathan Hull who achieved international glory by securing gold for GB in the 2021 European Championships U23 category in the double scull event.

Portadown ladies ready for the off. Picture: Barry KellyPortadown ladies ready for the off. Picture: Barry Kelly
Portadown ladies ready for the off. Picture: Barry Kelly

Visiting clubs were duly rewarded for their efforts, with Methody College leading the medal tally, claiming victories in various categories including Junior 18 Men’s, Junior 16 Men’s, Junior 15 Men’s, Women’s Junior 18 quads, and Junior 18 Women’s Single (S Young).

Lagan Scullers secured first place in the Men’s Double in the open category, while the Athlone crew of Gallen and Kenny triumphed in the Men’s Masters Double. The talented team from Coleraine seized the Doubles prize for Junior 16 Men’s.

In an impressive solo endeavor, Gerry Murphy from Portora clinched the Men’s Masters Single, while Claire McCann, on her home waters, claimed the Women’s Masters Single title.

The City of Derry mixed doubles crew of McKinney and Togher demonstrated that age is no barrier in rowing, clocking in at 1.06.

Portadown J14 Boys gearing up to start. Picture: Barry KellyPortadown J14 Boys gearing up to start. Picture: Barry Kelly
Portadown J14 Boys gearing up to start. Picture: Barry Kelly
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A special commendation was reserved for former Paralympian Eilish Byrne, who crossed the finish line to thunderous applause in a time of 2.01. Eilish, the first Para-rower to complete the Marascull, eagerly anticipates her next competitive event. Since the age of 13, Eilish has defied spina bifida, excelling in horseback riding and eventually competing in showjumping and dressage events at the highest level. A bronze medallist from the 2012 Paralympics as part of Ireland’s dressage team, Eilish now embraces the challenge of rowing at the age of 59.

Congratulations to all the junior scullers who completed the course in impressive time.

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