Gran Tracy, from North Walsham, ‘de-stresses’ her way to three world rowing records

Tracy Watkins with her children Lisa and Charlie in her home gym. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Tracy Watkins with her children Lisa and Charlie in her home gym. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Grandma Tracy Watkins took up indoor rowing at home as a way to de-stress – and has just clocked up her third world record this year.

Tracy Watkins in action during one of her world record-breaking feats. Picture: MATTHEW ANDREWS

Tracy Watkins in action during one of her world record-breaking feats. Picture: MATTHEW ANDREWS - Credit: Archant

Mum-of-four Mrs Watkins, 41, from North Walsham, takes her youngest children to school and comes home every morning for some hard, therapeutic rowing.

Earlier this month, a decade of dedicated training on her Concept 2 indoor rower helped her take 12 minutes off the previous ladies' tandem 100k world record on the machine.

She and her rowing partner finished in 6hrs, 50mins 6.8secs in an event for women aged 40-49, held in Brighton.

Mrs Watkins, who weighs 17½ stone, hopes her achievement will encourage other overweight people to take up rowing.

'I don't look like a very fit person, but I am a lot fitter than most people. I would like people to see that even overweight people can achieve great things,' she said.

'Not all big people are lazy, unfit people who sit eating rubbish.'

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Many overweight people had foot problems. But rowing did not involve bearing weight and was a good way to keep fit, Mrs Watkins added.

Her latest world record follows her first, in May, when she was part of a team of 30 who rowed for 24 hours at HMS Sultan, Gosport.

And in October, she smashed her second record in a 100k mixed team event in Aldershot, knocking 25 minutes off the previous fastest time.

Mrs Watkins has children ranging in age from 20 to six, plus one grandchild and another expected.

She and her husband Alan, 47, live in Sampson Road where her rowing machine is housed in a small room overlooking the garden.

'I go in my machine room and 'zone in', listening to Kiss on the radio. I do it about five days a week, for more than an hour a day – sometimes three or four,' said Mrs Watkins.

'It's how I de-stress. If I miss a few days, to say I'm grumpy is an understatement. It really affects my mood, because I know it means I haven't had any time for me.'