Marathon Row for Cancer Research
The Boat Race sponsors, Bank of New York and Newton Investment Management, donate their headline sponsorship to Cancer Research raising both money and profile for the charity. However, most fundraising is done at a grassroots level by individuals, away from the limelight. Holly Furniss of Marlow Rowing Club did just that when she rowed 42,165m on the erg for Cancer Research, after a routine scan prompted her to take action last year.
I did a ‘learn to row’ course at Marlow Rowing Club in August last year and instantly loved the sport and the club and have been part of the senior women’s squad since then! I decided to sign up for Cancer Research’s The Great Row as a personal challenge and to try to raise some money for a great cause. Their research is saving so many lives and has already reduced my risk of Cancer, to be able to give something back, however small, is a great opportunity.
Following routine cancer screening, like many other women will receive, I was sent a letter with the words ‘Severe’ and ‘potential Cancer’ in. Your heart sinks, you read multiple overwhelming and confusing bits of information and naturally, expect the worst. I was very lucky, the procedure seemed a success, removed all potential pre-cancer cells and left me with no sign of cancer. Receiving that letter and sitting in the hospital imagining what could happen was tough and a huge motivation to try and do my part to help.
Rowers are all aware that the Erg can be a brutal session and I spend a lot of my time trying to get it over and done with! As a novice the furthest I have rowed so far in one go is 8km so I decided to row a marathon in one sitting to really push myself and see what I could achieve. My target was to complete it in around 4 and a half hours with as little stops as possible.
I managed the 42,165m with no stops, in a time of 3:31.7, a surprise to a lot of people not just myself! My teammates were reading out messages of support whilst I shut my eyes and forced myself to keep going. I wouldn’t describe it as fun but it was very rewarding. Completing it has been a huge personal achievement but it made me realise how lucky we are in sport when we have such an amazing support network around us.