Indoor rowers looking to smash records in a series of marathon events

A group of indoor rowers will test themselves over a three-day challenge at Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull, this weekend


Ann Atkins (centre) at the British Rowing Indoor Championships

Between Friday, 19 May and Sunday, 21 May 2017, Row For It will be back at Touchwood Shopping Centre, Solihull. More than 60 rowers will take on team and individual indoor rowing challenges to raise vital funds and awareness for The Brain Tumour Charity, Europe’s leading brain tumour charity.

Row For It started five years ago, after Ann Atkins from Solihull rowed a marathon distance with five others in their local shopping centre, inspired by her daughter Iona, who has been living with a brain tumour since the age of five. The event has grown considerably since then, and last year in just three days, over a million metres were rowed with numerous World and British records broken and £27,000 being raised for The Brain Tumour Charity.

This year’s event will take place over three days and Ann said, “Iona has been through so much in the last ten years but she has survived to tell the tale unlike many others who have lost their life to this devastating condition. The prognosis for those with brain tumours is very poor and Iona’s life inspires me to do all I can to try and change this. Unfortunately the funding into brain tumour research is pitiful and the Brain Tumour Charity are trying so hard to change that. I am so grateful to everyone supporting this event.”

On Friday, individuals and tandem pairs will be rowing an incredible 100,000m – the equivalent of two marathons back-to-back. Several of the rowers are champion indoor rowers and are hoping to set new British and World Records.

Saturday will see teams of between two to six people rowing a marathon distance between them. Many of those taking part have been affected by a relative or friend having a brain tumour.

Finally, on Sunday, individuals will row a distance of either 10,000m, a half-marathon (21,097m) or a marathon (42,195m). Alistair Coast-Smith will be rowing the marathon distance in memory of his wife, Louise, who lost her life to this terrible illness. Also rowing her way to a marathon is champion indoor rower, Victoria Taylor, who has been inspired by Iona, and a fellow champion rower’s 15-year old son who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour. Also taking part in the individual 10,000m row is 83-year old, Grahame Cooper, from Moseley. Grahame is hoping to complete the row in 47-minutes which will break the current British Record set in 2004.

More than 10,600 people are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour – 29 people every day. Brain tumours reduce life expectancy by on average 20 years – the highest of any cancer and just 19 per cent of adults will survive for five years after diagnosis. Research offers the only real hope of dramatic improvements in the management and treatment of brain tumours.