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Run, Row, Ride

A new concept for a new charity, Run, Row, Ride is an alternative triathlon which is aiming to engage with gyms to become part of a mass participation event

by Kath Hudson | Published in Sports Management 27 Jun 2016 issue 123
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
The alternative triathlon challenge is based on three core activities and replaces swimming with rowing / gabi moisa
The alternative triathlon challenge is based on three core activities and replaces swimming with rowing/ gabi moisa

When the fundraising arm of Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, part of East and North Herts Hospital Charity, launched in 2015, the team set out to create a signature, annual mass participation sports event with the potential to become a must-do event in the area.

“Triathlons are very popular at the moment but we found that many people are put off by the swim element,” says Mount Vernon Cancer Centre fundraiser, Liz Hizli. “There is, however, interest in challenging yourself in three different disciplines, so we came up with an alternative triathlon, substituting the swim for a row – and RunRowRide was born.”

Keen to promote health and wellbeing, the centre aspired to create an event which could encourage people to get active and lead healthier lives.

“It needed to be enough of a challenge for participants to feel like they had achieved something and to win support from family and friends,” says Hizli. “We also wanted to make it accessible to people who are new to exercise, as well as appealing to those already exercising. For this reason we are offering sprint and endurance distances.”

Head to the gym
Initially the idea was to have the rowing element take place on a lake, but this threw up logistical problems. Making the event gym-based means it is very simple and straightforward to run and opens up the opportunity for leisure centres and health and fitness clubs all around Hertfordshire to take part by hosting and supporting.

“We think making it gym-based will feel more reassuring to people – similar to the Aspire challenge to swim the channel at your local swimming pool,” says Hizli. “However, how people complete the challenge is up to them, we are expecting the endurance participants to run and cycle outside.”

Participants will have to prove they have completed the challenge via the RunRowRide website, either by using an app like MapMyRun, or by taking a photograph of the console in the gym. Everyone who raises over £50 will receive a t-shirt and a medal.

In the next few months Mount Vernon will be working hard to spread the word and engage with health and sports operators. This is one of the challenges it faces, because as a new charity Mount Vernon doesn’t have a large database of contacts for marketing and is having to do a standing start.

To date, Everyone Active, One YMCA, More Energy, Active 4 Less and David Lloyd Stevenage all have come on board. Mount Vernon is hoping to work with 100 gyms and is aiming for 300 to 500 participants. Hizli believes the event will mainly appeal to 30 to 55-year-olds, both men and women, who are looking to get fit and will see RunRowRide as a goal to aim for.

It is not exclusively for adults, however. Some local schools have shown an interest and will be running RunRowRide events ahead of the main event.

There is no charge for sports clubs and gyms to participate in RunRowRide, they simply need to make their equipment available on 16th October for particpants to take part. Any facilities running special offers for new members in the lead up to the challenge will receive a special mention on the social media sites.

Mount Vernon will be supporting the event with local advertising, press and social media, so sport and health clubs could potentially piggy-back off the triathlon to get new members, as well as engage existing members in a post-summer challenge. Marketing material will also be made available for use, including posters, leaflets and banners. All materials can be downloaded and personalised with the operators’ logo to tie in with clubs’ own marketing.

As this is the first year of the event and only the second year of active fundraising for the charity, there will be an element of trial and error. However, the team at Mount Vernon is hoping both the sports club and the health and fitness sectors will give the support needed to create a successful event which will build to greater things in the future.

Fact box

When Sunday 16th October

Where Any facility willing to host

What is it Two distances are on offer
Sprint triathlon: 5k run, 2k row, 20k cycle
Endurance triathlon: 10k run, 4k row and 40k cycle

Cost £25 for an individual, £50 for a team

Fundraising target: Individual: £50 Team: £150

www.runrowride.org

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