St. Ives scullers complete Alternative Boston Rowing Marathon

Peter Woodford, Oliver Robinson, Sean Bulstrode, Gary Gilbey - St. Ives Rowing Club

On Sunday 18 September, four St. Ives Rowing Club scullers
had been planning to complete the Boston Rowing Marathon – an epic fifty
kilometre row. Unfortunately, only a couple of days before, the event was
cancelled due to excessive weed in the river.

Most individuals would have taken this as fate intervening
and telling them it was a silly idea in the first place. Not these guys…

Peter Woodford had been planning to complete the marathon to
raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. He had already raised over £700 in sponsorship
money and wasn’t going to let a bit of river weed stop him from completing his
challenge, so he relocated to his home stretch of river at St. Ives to complete
the row.

With Dave Ash adjudicating and timing, he planned to scull
from St. Ives Rowing Club to Hemingford Lock, then to Jones’ Boatyard and back
to the club ten times to complete the distance.

He soon found that Oliver Robinson, Sean Bulstrode and Gary
Gilbey had decided to join in with this marathon event ‘just for fun’.

With a crowd of supporters at the club, including Peter’s
two young daughters sporting homemade banners, the four scullers paddled up and
down the stretch of river for roughly five hours to complete the distance.

Sean Bulstrode only took up rowing just over a year ago so it
was a big challenge for him. He acquired a reputation over the summer for
taking a few dips in the river, so it seemed fitting that with only about 100m
left to go, he managed to have a collision with a barge that tipped him in.
Valiantly getting back in his boat, he still paddled the last few metres to
complete the course.

On finishing they were all awarded hand drawn ‘St. Ives
Rowing Marathon’ paper plates made by junior sculler Francis Enticknap as she
watched them plod up and down.

They were all pleased with their alternative event and have
even been overheard talking about making it an annual event. A great
achievement for them, and for the club.

If you would like to support Peter Woodford’s fundraising
for Cystic Fibrosis, please contact him through St. Ives Rowing Club, 25 The
Broadway, St. Ives, Cambridgeshire.

By Rebecca Williams, St. Ives Rowing Club

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