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It’s Hammer Time in Boston Again

February 12, 2014

Just after retiring from his job at Kodak, Steve Rounds, Sr. was given a gift from his son.

The younger Rounds, having rowed in high school and college, felt his dad needed something to do to stay active. So he bought him a Concept II indoor rowing machine. Rounds, 67 at the time, figured his son spent a lot of money and felt he better give it a try.

Two years later, after beating everyone in his age group at Carnegie Lake Rowing Association, and then winning a trip to Boston for the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships at the Great Baltimore Burn, Rounds broke the world record for his age group and captured his first two Hammer awards, one for winning his age group and the second for winning the overall masters handicapped event.

This Sunday, February 16, Rounds will make another trip to Boston in a quest to take his 20th title.

“I don’t have any qualms about getting a hammer,” Rounds said. “I expect to get that. I don’t have much competition at 85. Sometimes I’m the only one at that age that enters.”

But not this year.

Rounds has at least one competitor entered in his age group and regardless if there are any more, they will be in good company. This year’s event has over 2,000 entries with athletes coming in from around the world to race. The event will kick off with adaptive events and continue throughout the day with events for competitors ranging in age from 12 to 93.

“We won’t have a final total number of competitors until Sunday,” said regatta registrar Wendy Wilbur. “As of right now, we have about 2,050 registrants, and that’s pretty average. We tend to run between 1,800 and 2,200, so we’re kind of right in the middle.

“The newest thing that’s happening is we added two new events,” she said. “We added a youth event, which is a four-minute event for 12 and 13 year olds, and then we also added a team event, which is four people, one-thousand meters each. Looking at just numbers and the times submitted at registration, we’re going to have some interesting races develop,” she said. “I think we’re in a pretty good place in terms of having everything in order.”

And, of course, Rounds will be ready.

Last year, Rounds won the 80 to 84 age group, beating three other competitors with a time of 8:26.02. But he is unsure about being able to break the world record for his age this year.

“On a good day, I can hit the world record. It’s 8:10.5 seconds. But, I don’t think I’m going to do it. I’ve done it at home, but as I say home and the real thing are two different things.”

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Ed Moran,; Photos courtesy of Spurge Hogan, Carnegie Lake Rowing Association

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