Kathryn in a rowing boat

Kathryn, aged 54, has Retinitis Pigmentosa. Looking for an activity to boost her spirits, she took up rowing four years ago, and is the only blind rower at her club. 

Finding rowing 

“I discovered rowing a few years ago, when I was looking for something to help my mental and physical health. I went through a really bad patch at the beginning of 2017 – my partner nearly died, and I was having anxiety." 

Keeping fit with a rowing machine during lockdown 

"When lockdown hit, it was a total shutdown for rowing. It wasn’t until the end of June 2020 that I could get back on the water. At the same time, I had bought a rowing machine. 

"We started to get out on the water recently, it was so nice to be out in the fresh air, and seeing other people again. I was determined to get fit, so I met the challenge of rowing 20k solo on our local river."  

Feeling good through rowing 

"With rowing, there’s a particular way of hearing what’s going on around you, and concentrating on moving the boat. You also get the feel-good sensation from doing exercise. 

"I’m not very good at rowing in a straight line, so I’m concentrating on staying in at least one lane of the lake for a whole kilometre. People have suggested that I try and race, but for now it’s just good to be back on the water."

Building a good relationship with your coach 

"My coach Peter really enjoys what he does and finds it a challenge. He’s also received a civic award from our local Mayor for his role. I think if I’d had anybody else at the beginning, I might not still be rowing."

Seizing life with both hands 

"Peter was saying recently, that I’m a different person now to when I started. I don’t know what the future holds. But I’m willing to grab what I can at the moment with both hands, especially with rowing."