Hereford rowers ‘travel’ to Hereford, USA and back to fundraise
Last month, over 40 rowers from Hereford Rowing Club and families raised funds for the NHS and their flood-stricken club
When Hereford Rowing Club was forced to shut in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it didn’t take long before members started missing the rowing and socialising. After the decision was taken to cancel the annual regatta, spirits sank to an all-time low. To bring the club together, albeit virtually, club captain Jason Lee and student club member George Fraser suggested a challenge. We share the club’s story below…
The challenge was to exercise the 15,247,180m from Hereford in the UK to Hereford in the USA – and back – during the month of May.
Making the H2H4H (Hereford to Hereford for Hereford) challenge as inclusive as possible: indoor rowing, cycling, running and walking could contribute to the total distance. However, staying true to our roots as a rowing club, we aimed to complete the distance one way (7,623,590m) on indoor rowers alone. All money raised was to be split 50/50 between the club and Hereford NHS workers. The club had been damaged from the floods earlier this year.
The challenge started incredibly well, clocking over half a million metres on the first day – with three members completing 33km ergs – but Hereford RC wanted to spread their message even further.
So, on the second week, George went on BBC Hereford & Worcester which helped spread the word in Hereford. With Hereford in the US being incredibly close to Amarillo, the club then created their own spoof video to the backing of “Is this the way to Amarillo?” starring Captain Jason in the lead role with lots of other club members also making an appearance.
The challenge started incredibly well, clocking over half a million metres on the first day
This video very quickly got a lot of publicity, with thousands of views across social media and it seemed certain Jason was a favourite for an Oscar.
Off the back of the success from the Amarillo video, Hereford member Kath Killick got in contact with KAMR Local 4 news, a TV show in Texas and Captain Jason and George had an interview with Shardae LaRae from KAMR. It was played on American TV – Hereford RC was famous! The club also received many donations from residents of Hereford, USA, so they certainly got the message!
As time went on, people were still working hard and mileage was increasing at a rapid rate. Morale was certainly boosted when Jason led from the front with a 50,000m erg and junior member Inigo smashed out a marathon, a huge feat for a J14 rower.
The video was played on American TV – Hereford RC was famous!
Soon, we found ourselves on the final weekend and “Super Saturday” certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Hereford RC community smashed it.
Many of the mixed masters took part in marathons and half marathons, including the “Mattathon” from Matt Lewis and Matt Thompson. Another good challenge came from the McSherry family where Liam raced a relay with the rest of his family over a half marathon. There were also many other great achievements completed from all the members taking part.
So how did we do?
We exceeded our target of Hereford UK to Hereford US and back (15,247,180m) by exercising a total of 23,117,364m and managed to complete the distance purely on rowing machine metres (7,984,264m). We even banked an extra seven million metres for ‘virtual sightseeing’ when we got to the US!
Meanwhile, Super Saturday ended with a virtual barbecue over Zoom and an auction which raised £2,490!
To date, we have raised over £9,000. We would like to thank all the members who have donated. We also had generous donations from Concept2, Oarthentic Oars, Crewroom, Swift Racing, Termaxx, Capability Bramble and Sons, Stitch, Holt Farm Stables, Giedre Rakauskaite, Jack Beaumont, Olli Zeidler and Olaf Tufte.
Overall, we completed all our targets, raised vital funds but, most importantly, we have developed a wonderful sense of common purpose that has pulled us closer together.
If you’d like to support Hereford RC, then you can find out more here.