Q - Power

Indoor Rowing Team

Jen Howse

I’m Jen, alias "jenh" on the Concept2 UK forum. I was never into sports at school. I was only interested in cricket and rugby and was not allowed to play either at school – I had to play netball which I hated with a passion and so was written off as useless at sport in the first week of secondary school! I usually had to swim for my house at the swimming gala but that was because I was the only person who was willing to try butterfly.

So having done very little activity at university and beyond, at the age of 26 I decided I really ought to do something. So I entered the Great North Run and then the London Marathon. I got round them both but ended up injured so started looking for something else to do. My husband, Ian, had taken up rowing so I decided to have a go and to his dismay I found I was faster than he was. My first regatta I lost my novice status sculling in a coxed quad and I was pretty much hooked.  I also loved the erg, which very few people at the club seemed to.

In 2007 I started my PhD at Durham University so I decided to try out for the Boat Club. I had my reservations as I was around 10 years older than the rest of the club, but I soon found I loved the discipline of training and even getting up at 5am, loading my single on the car, and driving up to Durham or Newcastle for early morning training in the cold, snow, wind and rain. I even found the 30’r20 sessions surprisingly enjoyable. The highlight of rowing with Durham was being selected for the 1st VIII and coming 3rd at Womens Head of the River, winning the S2 pennant.

After leaving DUBC I went back to rowing at Tees RC, mostly in my single, but also in some mixed and veteran crews. I enjoyed the endurance work and competed in the 50km Boston Rowing Marathon several times as well as setting the 100k 30-39 Hwt world record.

In 2009 I entered my first competition, the British Indoor Rowing Championships, and managed a sub 7:20 2k for the first time, coming 3rd in 7:19.6.

Above: The World Indoor Rowing Championships 2014

Over the next few years I also dabbled in triathlons, and running, but kept going back to the rowing. Due to changes at the rowing club I was rowing less on the water and more on the erg.

In 2011 I went to the Crash-Bs for the first time. I had had a good build up but was ill just before the event and struggled home in 4th place in a time of 7:22.2 in 30-39 Hwt category.  

Having made lightweight I then set the 100k  (sorry Carolyn!) and 24 hour world records for LW30-39 and competed in the 2012 Netherlands Ergomarathon event winning the lightweight half marathon competition.

The 2012 Crash-Bs were memorable for the fact I ended up rowing twice. I was competing in the 30-39 Lwt category. My race was going to plan and I was just building for the finish with around 350m to go and my monitor went blank. After being told to either take it as a DNF or rerow, I had a couple of hours to recover and row again. Thankfully there were no equipment failures and I rowed 7:22.6 to win the category.

After the 2012 Crash-Bs, I had a dabble with other sports, did some CrossFit, ran a couple more marathons, but missed the structured training I had when I was at Durham. So I decided to take the step and see if Q-power would have me. It transpired that they would.

I am looking forward to seeing where I can get to over the coming months and years along with the rest of the team. You can follow my progress on my blog here.

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