Sir Matthew Pinsent challenges Bristolians to experience GB rowing trials
Sir Matthew Pinsent knows exactly how tough it is to win selection for big sporting teams and this month is inviting people to get a first-hand taste of the action - and raise money for charity at the same time.
The four-times Olympic rowing gold medallist is launching the Nation on Trial initiative, which pits the public against each other and the clock to mark the build-up to the GB Rowing Team's Senior Trials in March.
People can take part by visiting their local gym, getting on a rowing machine and taking their own 2km trial.
2km is the distance GB's top stars will race on the water at the Olympic Games this summer but for anyone aspiring to join the GB team the year-long selection process begins with a 2km test on a rowing machine.
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All participants in The Nation on Trial will be entered into a prize draw to win a behind-the-scenes trip to the culmination of that process, the Senior Trials, at the Olympic rowing venue Eton Dorney.
Participants are encouraged to raise money for the event's charity partner The Stroke Association by getting sponsored to complete a training plan or hit a target.
"The trials are something the rowers train for and work towards all winter," said Pinsent.
"There is a great satisfaction in feeling yourself getting fitter and stronger and then proving it in a race or a trial, competing against friends or colleagues."
Anyone of any ability aged 16 and over can register on the event website www.nationontrial.org. Rowers can register as many times as they like on the event website which will show how they compare with friends and workmates as well as the entry standard for the GB selection process.
The times for those aged 16-24 will also be assessed to see if anyone has the talent to be considered for Rio in 2016.