Five Olympians combined together in an attempt to break four world records on the erg at the weekend for ‘Sarah’s Super Saturday‘. This was done in memory of the late Sarah Tait, an Olympic silver medallist and stalwart of the Australian rowing team.
Sarah sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2016, and was supported by the Caritas Christie Hospice in the later stages of her life. The Caritas Christie Hospice was instrumental in the support of not only Sarah, but her family and friends as well.
“Modern medical developments are improving outcomes for patients everyday. But some patients still face poor outcomes, and they and their support network of family and friends face significant challenges. Caritas Christie Hospice provides support for patients and their loved ones during this difficult time, aspiring to provide the best care and environment at such a precious time,” Bill Tait said.
“Sarah’s last few months in Caritas were filed with warmth, music and most importantly, family. Initiatives such as the art and music program helped create an open and caring environment, which means our memories of that time are much more positive and we were better able to support Sarah. Supporting an athlete in this challenge means supporting families as well as patients, at a time when they need it the most.”
The rower decided on the world record challenges as a way of celebrating Sarah’s determination and toughness, whilst raising much needed funds for the Caritas Christie Hospice.
Josh Booth was to attempt the 1000m world record, but due to being sick withdrew. Sydney University Boat Club athlete, two time Olympian and current World Record Holder for the 1000m erg Sam Loch stepped in, with a 1minute attempt. The lack of preparation and being in Sam’s offseason was not in his favour, as such he did not break the record, yet still had an impressive average of 1:12.4/500m, peaking at 1:06/500m.
Josh Dunkley-Smith (JDS) two-time Olympic silver medallist had a crack at the 2km world record, already being the Australian record holder and only being 3 seconds off the current world record, JDS had an impressive race, especially given he was not competing for internationally in the post-Olympic year. The world record eluded JDS, however he did break his own Australian record with 5:38.6, and now has the third fastest 2km in history.
Karsten Forsterling, an Olympic silver and bronze medallist was attempting the one-hour erg world record. Karsten with a consistent performance broke the world record for 60minutes on the erg, in the 30-39 age category with an average of 1:38.4/500m.
The longest of the record attempts was completed by Sydney University Boat Club legends Matt Ryan and Nick Purnell. The two were facing the 100km tandem erg world record. They broke it up into two minute blocks, with a quick change over to keep the erg ticking over. The duo were conservative early on, sitting around the current world record split, building momentum into the back end of the challenge. They went on to smash the previous record by 7minutes and 34seconds, averaging 1:39.2/500m for the entire 100km.
Overall the event was a success, they raised awareness of the Caritas Christie Hospice, broke a number of world and Australian records and most importantly have raised a substantial amount for the Hospice to continue their support of those in need.