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Rowing NZ announce Row to the Moon challenge alongside other National Federations

  • 19 May 20

Following the huge success of the recent One Minute Challenge, Rowing Canada Aviron, British Rowing, Rowing Australia and Rowing NZ are today announcing the launch of the Row to the Moon challenge. The initiative invites indoor rowers worldwide to log their training metres on a bespoke online platform with the shared goal of accumulating, as one singular community, 384.4 million metres - the distance from Earth to the Moon.

The motivation behind this challenge comes from the phenomenal uptake of the One Minute Challenge, which ran from 8-11 May and was organised in partnership between the four national rowing federations. The extremely popular joint initiative challenged anyone with a rowing machine at home to see how far they could row in one minute, and saw over 2,300 rowers participate across the four nations.

Alongside the excellent participation, the One Minute Challenge also saw 19 Concept2 World Records unofficially broken, all of which are currently being verified by Concept2.

The challenge will run for ten days, starting at 5:00pm Thursday 21 May NZT and finishing at 4.59pm Sunday 31 May NZT, and will give members of the public the opportunity to participate alongside rowers from each nation’s Elite 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. The web platform is open for pre-registration now, and participants will then be able to begin logging their training metres from 5:00pm Thursday 21 May NZT.

Building on the momentum of the One Minute Challenge, the four nations are opening the Row to the Moon challenge up to participants globally, with each rower able to log their metres to their specific nation whilst contributing to the global tally. The Row to the Moon challenge also builds on the inclusive nature of the One Minute Challenge, offering 17 adaptive (disability) rowing categories to which users can upload their progress and contribute towards the combined total.

Speaking ahead of the Row to the Moon challenge, Lauren Rowles MBE, current Paralympic and World Champion in the British PR2 Mix2x, said: “It was awesome to see so many people at home getting involved in the One Minute Challenge. 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.”

Also looking forward to the Row to the Moon challenge is Olympia Aldersey, 2019 World Champion in the Australian Women’s Four: “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!”

The sentiment was echoed by Canada’s Andrew Todd, two-time PR3 M2- World Champion (2018 & 2019), who 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."

2019 World Champion in the New Zealand Women’s Eight, Lucy Spoors is back training on the water but excited for the indoor event’s launch: “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.’’