Olympic torch-bearer Phil smashes rowing world record

Phil Craze
Phil Craze

AS the Olympic Games drew to a close at the weekend another world record was set by an Olympic torch-bearer from Chirnside.

Rower Phil Craze and his team mate, work colleague Fergus MacKay broke the world record for rowing 100km.

Phil and Fergus started their challenge at 10am on Friday on a rowing machine at their office in Edinburgh.

They covered the distance by rowing alternate kilometres on the machine at AEGON’s office in South Gyle.

The previous world record stood at five hours, 59 minutes and six seconds and the intrepid duo smashed it by completing the distance in five hours, 55 minutes and 17 seconds, a tremendous effort.

After his world record breaking feat Phil said: “My initial feeling is relief, but when I get past that I know it will feel brilliant. The support was fantastic and it’s great to raise awareness and money for the charities.

“We hadn’t considered the heat when we were training and there were times I could feel cramp set in, but we didn’t think we would beat the time by that much, so overall it went even better than we had hoped.”

Fergus added: “We didn’t have anything planned celebration wise, but there was a cold pint of Guinness calling my name and now I’m looking forward to lying still for a while because every muscle in my body is aching.”

Phil was nominated to carry the Olympic torch by the Stroke Association and MS Society after previous fundraising efforts. He raised £9,000 and broke two world records when he rowed 24 hours. His achievements also earned him the coveted title of Berwickshire’s Sports Personality of the Year.

His brother had a stroke when he was 37 and helping him with his recovery inspired Phil to raise money for the Stroke Association. He fundraises for MS Society after supporting his mother-in-law who has lived with the condition for the last 20 years.

Karen Hodgins, from the Stroke Association, said: “Phil’s commitment and determination to help raise awareness of stroke and of course vital funds to support our work is absolutely fantastic.

“He managed to rope Fergus into this awe-inspiring challenge this time and we would like to thank them both sincerely for their incredible effort.”

Fiona Harvey, from the MS Society Scotland, said: “We are in awe of Phil’s determination and Olympic efforts. With the help of Phil, Fergus and all their kind sponsors we are able to give hope to the 10,500 people with MS in Scotland.”