Six members of Keswick-based Lakeland Rowing Club have helped set a new world endurance record for indoor rowing.
They were part of an international team, Rowers Without Borders, that rowed continuously for four-and-a-half months to cover just over 40 million metres – the distance around the equator.
By the time the challenge ended in the early hours of Monday morning, Lakeland RC members Catherine Wetherfield and Stefan Escreet, of Bassenthwaite, Helen Tucker, Trevor Morgan and Alex Morgan, of Cockermouth, and Julia McCumiskey, of Keswick, had contributed 1.5 million metres – the equivalent of rowing from Carlisle to Land’s End and back again.
More than 100 indoor rowers took part in the non-stop relay to raise cash for the work of global medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders during the pandemic.
The total distance of almost 25,000 miles achieved on rowing machines in basements, spare rooms, garages and sheds around the world is four times the previous record set by members of the group during lockdown last year.
The event was the brainchild of Bryan Fuller, a former US serviceman who runs an indoor rowing studio.
Rowing in blocks of 30 minutes, participants based everywhere from Australia to Brazil passed the virtual baton over a Google Meet link that stayed permanently open.
Alex said: “It was an incredibly tough challenge. For 135 days someone was rowing somewhere in the world, every single minute of every day and every night.
“When we logged on for our session, we’d have a chat with whoever was finishing theirs, then get our heads down and row as hard as we could. I was exhausted and dripping with sweat by the end of each half-hour block, but I’m so proud to have been part of it.”
Helen added: “It was a real community feeling, knowing you had to do your session and not let the team down. Raising money for a cause that we need more than ever in our modern world was also great motivation.”
To donate to the charity, go to: https://events.doctorswithoutborders.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=5455