Whistler’s Maureen Harriman has been busy collecting some major rowing titles over the past few weeks, though there’s one more she’d like to add before her season is over.
Harriman captured five medals — three gold, two silver — at the World Masters Games in Torino, Italy, last month and followed up those performances by winning five more golds at the Canadian Masters Championships that wrapped up Aug. 25 in Welland, Ont.
Harriman said the World Masters Games medal haul came as a “pleasant surprise,” with all three gold medals coming in her C age group (43 to 49) and the pair of silvers earned at a younger age category.
“I was shocked, it was awesome,” Harriman said Friday (Aug. 30) from Ontario. “I didn’t expect that. It was definitely a great result, I had some good teammates and did well in my singles (races) and we did well in the boats we put together in doubles and quads.”
The former national team rower started off the World Masters Games by teaming up for doubles gold with Kerry Brown, a former Vancouver resident who Harriman had raced with before.
“That was great because it was the first race that we did, so it took the pressure off all the other races,” said Harriman, whose events were all 1,000-metre distances in Italy. “We won our heat and then won the final — before that, I didn’t really know how I stood with everybody. So that gave us a good idea we had the potential to do very well and took the pressure off the quad and single.”
In addition to winning gold in each of her age group’s singles, doubles and quad races, Harriman finished in the runner-up spot for the B age class (36 to 42) in women’s singles and mixed quad. Overall, she said the experience of competing at the multi-sport event in Italy was rewarding beyond the medals.
“It was fun,” she said. “It was a really great opportunity to be able to compete against people from all over the world, and it’s rare to be able to do that. It was a really great experience to meet all the different people who share the same love of sport that you have, and it’s really all amateur sports — everyone gives up a lot to go to these races and train.”
Harriman then headed to Welland and won all five races she was entered in at the Canadian Masters Championships, taking first place in the C-level women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles and quad, plus the D-level mixed doubles race.
“In my single, there were a number of women from the States that actually came up to race, so it was good to do that again and make sure the (World Masters Games) result was right — just a confirmation.”
Her last major race of the year comes up in October at the Head of the Charles Regatta. Harriman will travel to Boston for the five-kilometre race for the fifth year in a row, and will look to break a streak of runner-up finishes.
“I’ve been second for the last three years, so I’m hoping this will be the year,” she said. “We’ll see.”
Though the Head of the Charles is a much different race from the sprint distances Harriman has been competing in over the past month, she said the recent impressive results are hopefully a good sign.
“Knowing that my training was really good for the sprint races should bode well for the Head of the Charles,” she said. “I had some really great coaching from Jim Gardiner in the last year and I think that really helped me keep track and keep focus on what I wanted to do.”
The 49th Head of the Charles Regatta takes place Oct. 19 and 20.