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Grove News
11th August 2013
Brathay Trust RowRunner 2013

We wanted to start Grove News off with news of a great event, the Brathay Trust RowRunner 2013 which took place took place on Saturday 22nd June. The Brathay Trust are a charity who inspire children and young people to engage positively with their communities. Brathay deliver integrated community and residential programmes at their Ambleside training HQ, that help young people to re- engage with education, have a voice in their community, become peer mentors and young leaders, we think it’s a great cause. The Brathay Trust RowRunner is a grueling event; a 21 mile row with ideally a team of 7, with 2 members of the crew doing 3 runs up 3 of Windemere’s Lakeside hills. The pair must always be within talking distance of each other - a team-intensive event with no one being left behind.


Taking part: Mick Kelly, Tony Bridgewood, Peter Jude, Dale Ingram, Malcolm Younger, Martin Johnson.

This from Grove MD, Graham Sutcliffe....

"The Rowrunner 2013 competition got off to a wet start on Saturday 22nd of June for Team Grove. Practice the previous day had gone very well in bright sunshine with perfect conditions.

Overnight however a major low front had arrived, there was steady drizzle and a stomach bug had affected some of the crew including myself. An early team meeting on Saturday morning resulted in me not competing (the team decided I would slow them down too much) so the six men from Grove now rose to an even tougher challenge.

At approximately 9.45 the starters gun saw 4 boats start the long race which would eventually break some crews.

After the first 2 mile row Grove were 5 minutes behind the lead boat and in fourth place going into the first 5 mile run. Some of the crew already sporting blisters watched as Mick Kelly and Tony Bridgewood waded through 1ft deep water to get to the bank and begin the first running race.

Some 55 minutes later they rejoined the boat having moved back to 3rd place – an excellent run. This now began the second longest stretch of the race, 8 miles down the lake directly into a south westerly wind blowing at 15 to 30 miles per hour. Strength was needed, physical and mental, the lake was turned into a frothing sea with white breaking waves everywhere. The rowing crew of Martin, Peter, Dale and Malcolm having to overcome this most savage of challenges. Mick steering and Tony manning the radio were having problems with stiffening muscles after their run and getting colder by the second in cramped conditions."

Determination, spirit, comradeship and the will to succeed and overcome the challenge were the only attributes these guys had to take on both the lake and the weather.

I watched them land at Fell Fan, they were physically exhausted but still in the race. Peter and Martin were determined to run the next 3 miles as quickly as possible, the crew in need of fuel and rest from 3 hours rowing. Conditions were tough but our guys rose to the challenge.

In seemingly no time at all (and the 2nd fastest time) Martin and Peter were back, boarded the boat and away for the gruelling 10 mile row back up the lake, the wind was now at there backs. Could they close the gap to the second boat?

This row saps your strength, it is a slog, your back hurts, your legs hurt, your blisters hurt, however somehow Tony managed to nod off at the front of the boat, the crew deciding he was better off running than rowing!

On their way home now, they landed ready for the final 7 mile run at 17.10 Conditions gradually deteriorating, wind picking up, rain becoming constant. Mick and Tony ran through 4 seasons in one day on the last run. Bombarded by hailstones at one point. The final run took an energy sapping 1 hour 45 minutes. During that time the boat crew came to terms with the fact that 3rd place could not be improved upon, so set themselves a new challenge. To be the fastest boat to sprint row the final 2 miles to the finish post. A seemingly impossible challenge, times of 21 and 22 minutes having already been achieved by the first and second boats in far better weather conditions.

Our runners, never having given up, came sprinting back. The team regrouped and set off once again, determined to achieve their personal challenge, don't forget this was just a crew of 6.

Breakers were streaming over the boat the oars keeping a strong steady rhythm, bodies beaten and in some cases nearly broken but the spirit and determination there for all to see.

Team Grove finished 3rd. Team Grove finished the last rowing sprint in 19 minutes - An amazing achievement in the worst possible conditions. The team was tired yet elated but I think I was the proudest. To have watched every stage of their personal battles and see them all come through as one team was quite remarkable.

There will be lots of stories in weeks to come, the aches, pains and blisters will disappear but the memory will be there a lifetime. So, team Grove, the magnificent 6 we salute you.

...And by the way, the fourth team could not finish and yes everyone enjoyed an excellent night until the early hours making new friends and recounting their adventures."

Warmest thanks to all our sponsors.

To see more pics of the day go to RowRun 2013

To find out more about Brathay Trust go here