Rowing towards Olympic Gold

Ever wondered what it takes to be an Olympian? Or how much training it takes? Curious to know the critical factor that sets the best apart from the rest? So were we!

To find out, we quizzed our legendary Brand Ambassadors, six-time World Champions in the Men's Rowing Pairs, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray. With a skiff-full of medals earned together, their history is legendary. Even more impressive, this incredible pair has never been beaten, in any race of any competition, since pairing up in 2009.

We're extremely proud to support the entire New Zealand Olympic Team as they compete on the world stage at the Rio Olympic Games 2016, and we're especially keen to see this rare Kiwi pair fly. Go Kiwis!

Eric Murray - Rower

Career

Medals

Highlights

8 Golds at the World Rowing Championships 2007 to 2015

1 Gold at the 2012 London Olympics

Did you know?

In the 2013 Fight For Life charity boxing event, Murray went head to head with rugby league star Manu 'The Beast' Vatuvei and survived three rounds!

Eric set a world record on an indoor rowing machine in 2011, rowing a phenomenal 18, 728 metres in one hour.

About Eric

With the idea of getting fit for rugby, Eric Murray headed along to the Mercer Rowing Club back in 1997. He ended up enjoying his time on the water so much that he just kept going – earning eight Golds at the World Rowing Championships and an Olympic Gold at London 2012 along the way.

With a jam-packed schedule of 12-14 training sessions over a six-day week, Eric doesn’t have a lot of downtime, so we asked him quick-fire questions about rowing, training, life and food!

'If you know what you're capable of achieving, then you take the 'hope and luck' element out of it and it comes down to your abilities' - Eric Murray

A chat with Eric

Anyone can be an Olympian. It does take a single minded focus and drive to get there, but if you want to get there, 'you' are the only thing holding yourself back...
Training is simple. Do a LOT! We train 6 days, 12-14 sessions a week. It involves a variety of long endurance work, speed work and power workouts. We are predominantly based on the water or on the rowing machine and supplement that with some biking to get fitness work in while giving our bodies a a break from the rowing-specific movement.
We eat a lot, but it’s about fuelling the body in order to be able to train long and hard. Most of our nutrition is about timing; you need to re-fuel the tank after a big session in order to be able to do that again in a few hours’ time or the next day.
I don’t tend to cook much 'recipe' food at the moment. With having our young son, we keep things simple and nutritious in order to get him eating all the good foods that he needs to grow up big, strong and healthy.
Well... Where do I start... Hamish is a bit of a perfectionist. You can have a great row, but there is always something to work on. Nothing he does really gets on my nerves, maybe we’ve just gotten to know each other so much that whatever used to get on my nerves is now just standard and part of how we are as people.
It takes a lot of practice and time! You sometimes see good improvements, and then other times, it can take a while for you to notice much change as it gets harder to make improvements as you get faster, fitter and stronger.
I have a 4-year-old son, so time with him and my wife are downtime for me. Sometimes running around after Zac might not seem like relaxing, but it's fun and something I enjoy. But at night, it's feet up in front of a movie that helps you switch off from the day.
$10,000 in gold bars would be pretty amazing! Something like that would really help out by helping pay the mortgage or other bills that life throws my way. In saying that, because I'm always training and I get to go overseas with my rowing, I would love to take my family on holiday because we've never had a family holiday together!
Hamish Bond - Rower

Career

Medals

Highlights

8 Golds at the World Rowing Championships 2007 to 2015

1 Gold at the 2012 London Olympics

Did you know?

Hamish was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year’s Honours for service to rowing.

Off the water, Hamish loves to jump on his bike and he competed in the Tour of Southland in 2009 alongside top Kiwi cyclists at elite level.

About Hamish

Aside from the blisters on his hands and the chafe on his rear (rowing is tough!), Hamish Bond is passionate about rowing. He’s quick to stress the sport has given back far more than he has put in, and he's learnt many valuable life lessons just from participating.

It was back in 2000 while at boarding school, that Hamish was 'coerced' into giving rowing a go – and he's never looked back. With plenty of hard work and perseverance, he's earned eight Golds at the World Rowing Championships, and Olympic Gold at London 2012. Below, Hamish shares his thoughts on everything from rowing to relaxing.

'Anyone can be a hero on one day, but it's the athletes who can turn up day in and day out and perform consistently that usually come away with the medals.' - Hamish Bond

A chat with Hamish

I think the biggest attribute required to be an Olympic rower is perseverance. Anyone can be a hero on one day but it is the athletes who can turn up day in and day out, who perform consistently, that usually come away with the medals.
Our typical training week is six days with two training sessions a day. We row pretty much every morning on average 20km (1.5-2 hours) and then train again in the afternoon. Our afternoon training is spread between the boat, the rowing machine and the bike. Our training year runs for about 11 months as we typically have a month away from each other following the World Championships. Need some time out!
To fuel our training regime we obviously eat far more than the average person requires. I try and eat a well-rounded balanced diet with no exclusions. Good quality protein for muscle repair and growth, good carbs for energy with healthy naturally occurring fats to bind it all together. I think I eat well.... just twice as much as normal in order to match the training workload.
I am a big fan of salmon so therefore contributed my special recipe to the Countdown supported "Cooking 4 Change" (www.cooking4change.co.nz) charity fundraising cookbook.
I went to boarding school and was coerced into giving the sport a go and then never looked back. It was so different to anything I had done in the past and definitely out of my comfort zone. Once I got the hang of it, it was great working together as a team to make the boat go fast.
Nothing annoys me too much... When we have to room together he does stay up a lot later than me on his computer or whatever so I just turn the light out, put earplugs in and an eye mask on.
Make sure you find enjoyment in what you are doing. Training for us isn’t fun everyday but there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that you have worked hard to achieve something.
When I am overseas with some downtime I like to read. There was not much to do when we were at the World Championships in Korea so I pretty much read the whole Game of Thrones series in a couple of weeks.
Wouldn't that be great! Maybe melt it down and make a solid gold medal as ours are made mostly of silver with just a little gold on top. The last Olympic gold medal that was actually made from gold was awarded in 1912.