Prepping for world-record row



A newly-arrived Queenstowner’s preparing for one of the more daunting physical feats  imaginable — rowing non-stop for three days.

Using a Concept2 indoor rower, Tracey Cooper, 49, plans rowing for 72 hours this December with just hourly 10-minute breaks.

As if that’s not ambitious enough, she’s also aiming to raise $72,000 through a Givealittle page — she’s fundraising for up-and-coming Fight Science Club athletes operating out of the Industrial Fitness gym that’s backing her.







Cooper, who worked in the health and fitness industry for 30 years and latterly lived in Dunedin, has already proven she’s up to the challenge.

In December 2020, she rowed for 48 hours to set a world record, in her weight category, for females aged 40 to 49.

If she breaks 72 hours this year she’ll smash the overall female record by 10 hours.

Originally from Australia, Cooper competed at aerobics and won a Queenstown title, but took up indoor rowing in 2019 after her left leg was crushed in an accident.

‘‘I was told I would never be able to do weight-bearing exercise again.’’

Asked what attracts her to epic endurance feats, she explains she’s “very competitive and goal-orientated”.

“I like to push myself out of my comfort zone.

“The attraction is personal growth and development and also being able to help in the community, raising money.”

To prepare for her 72-hour mission, Cooper’s doing one long row a month, each four hours longer than the last.

She’ll peak with a 24-hour row in October, ‘‘just to get my body used to not sleeping for a night’’.

“After 24 hours you normally start to hallucinate, so it’s really important to have a tight-knit support team.”

Without the backing she’s getting from Industrial Fitness staff, including timekeeping and nutrition, she says she couldn’t contemplate attempting her feat.

She’ll also have a medic on stand-by.