Ching, the resilient rower from Bradford-on-Avon Rowing Club who recently celebrated her 60th birthday, showcased her indomitable spirit by clinching victory in her age category at the Pairs Head Race in London. Teaming up with her new partner, Caroline Roofe, Ching’s win in the challenging 4.5km race is testament to her dedication to strength and conditioning training over the years.

Ching with her race number at the start

Lucky number 107 at the start of the race

The RaceĀ Strategy

Having crafted a 12-week training plan in collaboration with Ching, the journey to race fitness was a strategic endeavour. The annual Pairs Head, stretching from Chiswick Bridge to Harrods Wharf, Hammersmith on the River Thames, attracted over 400 crews of all ages. Ching’s decision to participate, not only in an all-female crew but also with a new partner, Caroline, brought forth a unique set of challenges, met with enthusiasm and determination.

The race, familiar territory for Ching having raced in a single scull two weeks earlier, unfolded smoothly with favourable conditions – flat and calm and just a slight ripple on the water, abundant sunshine, and warmth. The duo navigated the iconic Thames in the club’s top lightweight doubles boat, seizing the opportunity to pass other crews. The strategy: push hard, don’t blow up, steer a precise course, stay in the stream and relish the moment.

The day culminated in triumph. Ching and Caroline returned home victorious and a couple of weeks later, returned to London where Ching and Caroline stood proudly to collect their medals. Adding an eco-conscious touch, this year’s medals were crafted from laser-cut plywood, aligning with an environmental theme. For Ching, who previously secured victory in 2013, winning the Pairs Head again after a decade is a remarkable achievement.

Ching receiving her winners plaque and medal

Ching receiving her medal and plaque


Reflecting on her journey, Ching emphasised the significance of setting goals and following a tailored training programme. The 12-week preparation leading up to the event allowed her to rediscover the joy of training, with each session serving a purpose. A key lesson learned was the delicate balance of adherence and flexibility – following the programme while listening to her body, acknowledging the need for rest when necessary.

As Ching revels in her recent success, her eyes are set on future challenges, with the Veteran Fours Head in November 2023 now unfortunately cancelled due to weather, Ching now targets 2024. Her resilience and commitment to her sport continue to inspire those around her.

Well rowed Ching and Caroline.