British Rowing launch ‘Row to the Moon’ challenge

Lauren Rowles during a photocall at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham.

Lauren Rowles during a photocall at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake, Caversham. - Credit: PA

British Rowing has today launched a Row to the Moon challenge, following the success of the recent One Minute Challenge.

Organised in partnership with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the One Minute Challenge saw over 2,300 rowers take part – with more than half from Great Britain.

The indoor event saw 19 Concept2 world records and 21 Concept2 British records unofficially broken and led to the idea of another initiative, which sees rowers log their training metres on a bespoke online platform with the shared goal of accumulating the distance from the Earth to the Moon – 384.4 million metres.

Current Paralympic and world champion Lauren Rowles MBE was among those to set a new British records during the One Minute Challenge and said: “It was awesome to see so many people at home getting involved.

“There’s been a real community spirit through the rowing world during lockdown and it’s been great to see us all come together and take on these challenges from our homes. This new challenge gives us another exciting target to work towards as a team and keeps that competitive spirit alive.”

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The Row to the Moon challenge started at 6am on Thursday May 21 and will run for 10 days, ending at 6am on Sunday May 31, giving members of the public the chance to participate alongside rowers from each nation’s Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Throughout the duration of the global challenge, participants will be asked to upload all of the distance they cover on the rowing machine on a live, real-time web platform, adding sessions as regularly as they like and nominating friends on social media to join them in the challenge.

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Olympia Aldersey, a 2019 world champion in the Australia women’s four, added: “It’s awesome that the four nations are combining again for a challenge and this one really is taking it to the next level.

“Australians are proud to have played their part in broadcasting the first pictures of Neil Armstrong, and the crew of Apollo 11, as they walked on the moon back in 1969, so I know we’ll all come together on this challenge to send an erg into space! “Indoor Rowing really is for everyone, not just elite athletes, so I encourage everyone to take part, no contribution is too little when we’ve 384.4 million metres to complete to get us there!”

Canada’s Andrew Todd, a two-time world champion, said: “It’s great to see a sense of teamwork and connection amongst various rowing nations to work together towards a common goal during this time of physical and social distancing due to COVID-19.

“It can be very lonely and difficult for people right now with so much uncertainty and it is really cool to see Canada join forces coast to coast and with other countries around the world to collectively Row to the Moon.

“Indoor rowing is a staple to my training in isolation right now as it seems to be for so many other rowers around the world so it is really special to try and add some special purpose and togetherness to our training.”

And Lucy Spoors, a 2019 world champion in the New Zealand women’s eight, added: “The New Zealand women’s sweep squad are relieved to be back training alongside each other at Lake Karapiro, but we have all enjoyed the camaraderie that arose across our sport internationally throughout our respective lockdowns.

“We’re excited to once again take part in an event alongside not only our domestic rowing community, but also our competitors and the international rowing community.”

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