On Sunday 16th September LUBC competed in the Boston rowing marathon in a mixed 8+ and a men’s coxed 4. This gruelling challenge involved the two crews rowing 50km (31 miles) downstream along the River Witham, from Lincoln to Boston Boat Club, all to raise money for Claire’s House charity and our boat club.
After an early departure time of 6am from Liverpool, our competitors arrived in Boston, rigged up the boats and were ready to set off at 10.30am. Both were racing with the aim to get the quickest time possible, however the course held lots of obstacles along the way, including having to lift the boat out of the water and quickly walk it to the other side of Bardney Lock, only 13.5km in. Also the horrendous amount of river weeds where certainly a surprise as it kept slowing the boats down until the coxes had to pull them out from being trapped in the rudder.
Most of our competitors found the first half of the course perfectly manageable, until they hit the 30km point - past any training previously completed. But with discipline and motivation from the coxes, Catherine Oliver and myself, everyone made it strongly through the finish line. However, the proof was seen on everyone’s hands which were left blistered and, in some cases, shredded – but definitely worth it. The mixed 8 finished with a time of 4 hours 39 minutes 53 seconds and the men’s coxed 4 completed a time of 4 hours 15 minutes 12 seconds, thus making them the fastest crew of the day – receiving the winning trophy and glass paperweight awards.
The competitors wouldn’t have been able to getthere without our two fantastic taxi drivers: Jess Trott (President), and Hannah Garmston (Vice-President). Since they couldn’t compete at Boston, they were both crazy enough to complete their own 50km marathon in a double on the River Weaver (where we train), a few days before the event, as a way to increase the number of our supporters.
A huge shout-out to Arnold Clark (Liverpool branch) car and van rental for sponsoring us! They kindly provided us with 2 x 9-seater minibuses for our transport requirements. This allowed us to drop our competitors off at Lincoln Rowing Club and pick them up from Boston Rowing Club. We rely heavily on the company, using them thrice weekly to transport our athletes to and from the River Weaver where we train, so we really appreciate their support in this fundraising challenge!
Also, a massive thank you to the support of Gratte Brothers who kindly supported the expedition and also gave us a dozen caps tying nicely in with the blue theme of our club and Claire’s House!
As a club funded solely by memberships and fundraising, efforts like these are crucial to the club's development. The portion of money going to our own boat club helps to fund equipment purchases to facilitate our ever-growing club in terms of memberships, as well as performance. And of course, the other portion made has been shared with Claire House Children's Hospice, our partner charity for the last two years, whose work involves creating wonderful experiences for terminally and seriously ill children and their families. On the lead up to the event we were privileged enough to be given a tour around the grounds of Claire’s House, so we could have a first-hand insight into the wonderful work they do, making the challenge even more worth it.
Out of the many fundraising efforts our committee makes, this was the first time we participated in this particular event, so we were unsure about how much could be raised. But after surpassing the initial target of £500 in the first week, we soon had to increase the target to £1000, where we reached 94%, raising a final amount of a whopping £947 (through JustGiving) - 40% of which has been donated to Claire’s House! We are so grateful for all the kind donations from past alumni of the club, and the friends and family of current members. We are over the moon with how it has all worked out and are considering entering next year. This marathon has set this academic year off to a good start and we look forward to the fundraising opportunities to come this year.
Olivia Capocci (LUBC charity and fundraising secretary).