By David Wade


BOSTON (CBS) – A local man is going for the gold in a big way at this weekend’s Head of the Charles Regatta. He’s won his rowing category seven years straight, and is getting ready to attempt number eight.

“It’s mostly a combination of working on your endurance, and working on your strength, and then working on the technique in the boat. I’ll probably log about a thousand miles on the water this year,” said Greg Benning from Weston.

He’s a Head of the Charles champion and is getting ready to go again. He competes in the Grand Master singles category that’s for rowers 50 to 59 years old. “I’ve won seven in a row. I’ve won 12 singles titles total. So this year I’m going for my eighth straight,” he explained.

Greg Benning (WBZ-TV)

Greg knows another rower who took nine in a row, and then there’s one other guy.

“There was another guy who won six in a row and then slept through his alarm clock because his doctor changed his meds, and then he came back and won another five in a row.”

Like all competitive rowers, Greg has to work at it, especially as he gets older. A member of the Cambridge Boat Club, he’s usually on the water five days a week.

“The real challenge is maintaining focus and then pacing yourself so that you don’t get to this bend here and all of a sudden run out of gas with another half mile to go,” he said, pointing to a bend in the Charles River.

Greg Benning (WBZ-TV)

He’s expecting a fast race when things kick off on Saturday. “The bomb cyclone the other day spiked the current up, but it’s coming back down and the winds are good so we should have some pretty fast times,” he said.

At 57, Greg has two more years before he has to change categories. “Two more years and then I turn into a kid again, and then I’m the young guy in the 60 plus,” he said.

Greg races as a single on Saturday morning, and then on Sunday joins a quad race.

David Wade

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