Beginning on 11th February, University College London Boat Club (UCLBC) set out to complete a 48-hour row-a-thon in the middle of Covent Garden, raising money both for Love Rowing and for the club. For one weekend, they kept 2 rowing machines spinning continuously day and night, with crowds gathering and dispersing at the busy tourist spot. The whole club turned out, with some students taking turns to row together in shifts, while others spoke to the public, kept the spirits high and the risk of the gazebo flying away low!
The event was a big success, being the first fundraiser to be held by UCLBC for over 2 years, and a great opportunity to hit some personal and team goals. The period of 48 hours yielded lots of memorable moments, including one student rowing a marathon in 3.5 hours overnight, others coming to support and finding a talent for public engagement, and getting lots of people, old and young, involved on the spare rowing machine.
‘Needless to say it was a very unique experience; equal parts exhausting and entertaining.’ - Olivia Kehoe, UCLBC Fundraising and Alumni Relations Officer.
Other comments from those involved:
‘I had a fun time, whether it was being read a book whilst erging by Halle or the more athletic and competitive and intense rowing from 6am onwards with James and Tom. Definitely feel like I’ve bonded more with those I was there with ’ - Eliott
‘The repeated spinning of the erg fan and the constant bumble of kind conversation coming from generous people passing by motivated me to complete hours of rowing. For such a wonderful charity it was well worth it!’ - Hugo
‘A highlight was speaking in my broken German to a group of Swiss girls who were here on an English trip about the crazy stuff we get up to over here in the UK - they all chipped in £10 each!’
‘It was great to see so many ex-uni rowers who backed the cause and understood what we were doing as soon as we described Love Rowing. They were so happy to donate, as they knew that it was a privilege for them to have rowed.’
‘The real highlight was the group of three on their way back from a boozy, bottomless brunch who stayed with us for 15 minutes, cheering us on and getting others to donate!’
In conjunction with the row-a-thon, UCLBC also ran a giveaway of kit that was kindly donated by the GB Rowing Team and Love Rowing. Excitement surrounded a brand new GB unisuit in particular, which was signed by current GB rowers. It was a great way to gather interest to the corner of the piazza, in the midst of a constant buzz of activity with street performers, food stalls and crowds of visitors.
The rowers completed their goal, keeping the machines going continuously and clocking up over 1200km, the equivalent of 28 marathons. UCLBC raised nearly £4k, and will donate 50% of this to Love Rowing.
‘We hope to continue working with Love Rowing in their mission to make the sport more accessible and inclusive through volunteering and fundraising, and look forward to what the future holds.’ - Olivia Kehoe
Would your rowing club like to donate? Love Rowing supports the rowing clubs and projects making our sport more diverse and accessible - with your help, we can change lives together. If you are holding a fundraiser, we can send you materials to promote your event in support of our brilliant cause. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.