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Moving the Bar

by glynch — last modified 09 Nov, 2015 04:56 PM

New record set in France will test Bishop to his endurance limits as he raises money for fuel poverty

Moving the Bar

Bishop Ed (left) in training break the 24 record set my M Coupé near Paris. (Right photo - (C) Laurent Mansart/Le Parisien)

The Right Revd Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury (better known as Bishop Ed) has been in training for months to set a world record on the rowing machine and raise money for pensioners in fuel poverty in the process.

He expected this would mean rowing for an extraordinary 17 hours or so. An unexpected piece of news from across the Channel, however, has raised the bar to a whole new level, potentially spelling doom for our gallant bishop – or triumph of an even greater magnitude!

In a gym at Les Clayes-sous-Bois in the suburbs of Paris recently, a M. Jean-Michel Coupé, aged 63, shattered the existing record for the longest continuous indoor row by a man aged 60-65 by going for a whopping 24 hours

How does Bishop Ed feel about finding out he’ll having to row about 35% longer so close to his attempt? A breach in the entente cordiale, perhaps?

“Not at all”, he replies generously, “I congratulate M. Coupé on a fine achievement in extending the World Record by so much and makes me feel very nervous about managing to take it myself. But I will do my best!

“I have done lots of long distance events before, and not just on the rowing machine – I cycled from Olympia in Greece to the Olympic Stadium in London in 2012, so I know how painful endurance tests are. I am, however, very stubborn and I will be encouraged by all the support I’ve had and knowing I’m raising money for a very good cause.”

“I’m supporting the Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign. Every Winter around 200 Wiltshire people die of cold and hundreds more struggle to survive. According to statistics over 30,000 Wiltshire households live in fuel poverty, having to spend more than 10 per cent of their annual income in order to keep their home warm enough. That thought should give me plenty of motivation when I hit the wall.”

Bishop Ed will also have good personal support to keep him going. “My two sons are coming to stay specially for the weekend to cheer me on”, he says, “They are both experienced oarsmen themselves.

“I started rowing at Oxford as an undergraduate and kept it up. I’ve done some serious rowing endurance challenges before now on the open water – I’ve rowed the Channel and the full length of the Thames twice. Since moving to Wiltshire, I’ve joined Bradford-on-Avon Rowing Club.

“Recently, I’ve done a lot of rowing on traditional fixed-seat boats, rather than modern boats which have sliding seats. That’s a different physical challenge. I’ve also been a competitor at the British and World Indoor Rowing Championships.

“For training, I row 4-5 times a week at Places for People in Warminster. I’ve been building up to the challenge for a while, and my longest recent stint in one go is 5 hours, and I did that at a much faster pace than I’ll row in my record attempt”

The attempt will start at 6 am on 20 November 2015 at Places for People gym in Warminster, and keep going, if all goes to plan, through the night. Bishop Ed will be rowing on a Concept2 rowing machine, which is the international standard, used by Olympic and world oarsmen and women for training.

To support Ed please make a donation online at

“As well as my rowing target, my fundraising target is an ambitious £5,000”, concluded Bishop Ed.

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