Some brave souls made the intention of rowing 5km in the Thames; well it’s just off the Thames in the Surrey Quays Docks, for charity. 1st September 2013 saw the very first ‘Row for Charity’ challenge took place at the Docks in Southwark.
Row for Charity, a brand new fundraising initiative, saw over 50 rowers take part in the challenge this year as family and friends cheered them on. Enthusiast rowers and novices from all over London took part in a fun filled day of adrenaline and competition to see who could complete the 5km course at the fastest time. The teams worked extremely hard to prepare for the race of their life! 17 boats raced against each other’s time and also competed in fundraising.
The pre-race training took place the week before the race where the participants came in for a grueling training session. The competiveness and eagerness was evident during the training session despite the torrential rain and upsetting weather. Everyone could only hope the weather wasn’t the same the week after when the actual race would take place. Thankfully this wasn’t the case and the sun was shining during the race day.
To make the event more exciting and fun for the participants, the organisers allowed creative participation from the teams. One team took this to heart by taking on the rowing challenge wearing fake afros and traditional Asian sarongs! Another team shocked the organisers when they did ‘The New Zealand Haka’. It was also very uplifting to see a young girl cheer her father off – she was shouting her voice off “Go Team Getaway, Go Team Getaway”, they eventually did! The teams were awarded bonus points for creativity and effort put into their race, this was then added to their final scores i.e. race time.
On average, it takes a good rowing team to complete the distance in around 40 minutes. However, three relatively young men Mostafa Hussain, Wajid Chaudhry and Imran Syed managed to row out their hearts and cross the finishing line in 36 minutes sharp, setting the first record time for Row for Charity. The majority of the rowers managed to make it to the finishing line despite the aches and pains. The younger rowers did particularly well, beating off their older and strong competitors in the race. This showed that rowing is more about technique rather than strength!
Row for Charity project hopes to run every year and eager to raise money for various community organisations to make a real difference here in the UK. This year just shy of £8,000 was raised and will be going towards Haaya’s New Community Centre, a youth and community organisation which seeks to help young people achieve more in life in west London.
The entire race was witnessed by friends and family of those who participated encouraging them to go onto the finishing line. Muhibur Rahman, project manager, said “Rowing 5km, under the sun, rain and tough winds (at times) isn’t easy but this has been an overwhelming experience for the teams; and moreover knowing the monies raised would go to such a fantastic cause motivated everyone to do the extra row.”
Nazmul Toropdar, chair of Row for Charity, said “The challenge would not have been possible without our sponsors and supporters therefore we would like to thank all our supporters who made this event possible.” He further added “This year’s Row For Charity challenge was a huge success, with participants enjoying a great day out, the competition amongst young people was great to see but most importantly raising money for a worthy local cause. Next year’s event will be even bigger as we anticipate more people taking part in this great initiative so watch this space!”
The Awards Ceremony & Dinner was held in the Haaya Youth Centre on Friday 13th September celebrating this year’s launch of Row for Charity along with other achievements by Haaya’s volunteers.
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