Love Rowing spoke to Steve Bloyce, Rehabilitation Fitness instructor at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, who involved hospital staff and patients in The Big Row fundraiser earlier this year.
What was the aim?
In the week of the 28th June 2021 at Basingstoke Hospital I set out to introduce as many people to the sport of rowing, or reacquaint old friends with a sport and fitness endeavour that they once had a connection with.
The Big Row is a fantastic new annual fundraiser put in place by Love Rowing to help broaden the accessibility of rowing and bring it further into the public domain.
How did you get into the sport?
My experience of rowing began about 4 years previous to this, when I was introduced to the sport whilst recovering from a road traffic collision injury. This pathway led me down a long road with health, fitness and performance driving its focus from the outset. Having never rowed a boat before, or paid much attention to a Concept2 rowing machine, I quickly realised the myriad of rehabilitation and fitness potential that stemmed from this exciting new sport I was trying..
Since that time, it prompted a career change for me and I now work full time in the MSK Physiotherapy department at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital as their rehabilitation Fitness instructor. Coming from a sporting background, I knew the collaborative potential an event like The Big Row could have. I was more than happy to put it front and centre at the hospital. It also helped to promote our department’s commitment to health, fitness and inclusivity.
Where do you row now?
I row at Maidenhead Rowing Club which is a progressive open club and spoke with our club captain (who also happens to be Love Rowing Trustee Nick Steel) to ask if I could borrow some rowing machines to put in my rehabilitation gym for the week. Maidenhead kindly obliged. We got prizes and put together challenges for participants who thoroughly enjoyed it!
What were the highlights of The Big Row?
During the week of The Big Row, staff and patients rowed just over 200km for this fantastic cause.
Some highlights from the week included a couple of half marathon efforts, a sub 1:30 500m and most importantly individuals coming down from all departments in the hospital to engage with the spirit of this event.
An amazing achievement from an increasingly stretched NHS frontline - great work guys!! I wanted to share some of the feedback and comments from the event to show how successful it was. I look forward to the next one in 2022!
Written by Steve Bloyce
Feedback from participants
“I think it is a great idea to have some sporting events at the hospital as it encourages staff and patients to try something new and be more active in life.”
“Thank you for getting me back into a boat”
“Rowing has always appeared elitist to me but after having a go on a rowing machine at my place of work it has made me look again at my own perspectives.”
“Rowing is hard work. No wonder Steve Redgrave retired!”
“Thanks for organising this event Steve, your enthusiasm for exercise and wellbeing was evident all week. Any event that can be run to help promote health and fitness as a proactive step to good health is a cause worth getting behind in the NHS - let’s hope The Big Row and other such initiatives keep getting bigger”