James Cracknell sets new British indoor marathon record

London, UK

2 minute read
Words & Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 15.06.20

Last Saturday, on the weekend when the British Rowing Masters Championships were due to take place, James Cracknell broke the British indoor rowing marathon record with a time of 2 hours 30 minutes and 37 seconds, shaving two minutes off the existing record for heavyweight 40-49 Men. 

Completing the challenge at home on a Concept2 indoor rowing machine, Cracknell had to hold under a 1:48.7 /500m split for the duration to beat the existing record of 2:32:55.8 set earlier this year by David Gillard. 


The attempt, which was live streamed on the British Rowing website, was in aid of Headway – the brain injury association. At the time of writing, Cracknell has raised £9,217 – initially aiming to raise £3,000 for the charity. 

He thanked his followers on Instagram for their support, admitting it also helped him cope with his personal struggles. 

“Setting/achieving a goal & the support has given my self-confidence a lift after coping with divorce/family/work over the last 2 mths!” Cracknell posted on his Instagram. 

The double Olympic gold medalist, 48, became the oldest competitor to compete in and win the Boat Race with Cambridge University last year. 

Photo Cracknell with the winning 2019 Cambridge Blue Boat
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Before taking on the attempt Cracknell told British Rowing “lockdown has been a powerful reminder to us all of how important exercise is – not only for our physical but also our mental health. When I was recovering from a serious head injury, exercise was the only thing I could control and see progress in. Along with Headway’s amazing support it helped me through some very dark times. The phenomenal work Headway does for victims of head injuries and their families is ongoing and underfunded, so please help me to give something back to them so they can continue their selfless work.”