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Mersey Rowing Club celebrates 170 years with 170km dock challenge

1 month ago

Mersey Rowing Club celebrates 170 years with 170km dock challenge
Members of Mersey Rowing Club

Mersey Rowing Club is marking its 170th anniversary with a mammoth waterfront challenge.

Around 40 members will row 170km between Brunswick Dock and Salthouse Dock this Sunday – making it one kilometre for every year since it began.

Captain of the Men’s Squad Max Fuller said:

“It’s 170 years since the club was founded in 1854 and it’s the longest day of the year with 17 hours of daylight, so with 170km it all seemed to align itself quite well,”

“It will take around 100 lengths of the dock to complete the challenge.”

The epic feat, covering the same distance as Liverpool to York or Liverpool to Birmingham, will start at sunrise at 4.44am with the goal to complete it by sunset at 21.44pm.

“The aim will be to make sure we don’t stop and we row consistently,” adds Max. “It will be a war of attrition. We need to average three minutes for each 500 metres including stopping and spinning, so it won’t be the rowing that will be the issue, but the turning round and changing crews.

“We only have 1.8 kilometres within the dock so turning round will slow us down, so we’ll need to keep that speedy.”

Members of Mersey Rowing Club
Members of Mersey Rowing Club

With men’s, women’s and junior and masters squads ranging from age 11 to 60+, the club now has more than 100 members and has grown especially in the last three years since Covid.

One of the oldest members Nefyn Williams, 63, is taking part in the challenge and reckons it’s a great way to celebrate such a momentous milestone: “It’s testament to the hard work of the committee and volunteers that keep the club going,” he says.

One of its youngest members, Imogen Marshall, who’s 14, says:

“I love being part of Mersey Rowing Club. It’s fun to do and nice to do sports with your friends. I’m looking forward to the junior squad rowing for this challenge.”

Max, 30, from Dingle, says:

“I started rowing when I was at university in Belfast about 12 years ago and then I took a big break from the sport; it can be seen as an elitist sport and difficult to get into it, with people thinking you have to have gone to a private school or an expensive uni.

“But what I liked about Mersey Rowing Club was that it has a lot of outreach to those who might not otherwise think the sport is for them. 

“We are volunteer led, it’s a completely amateur club with no professionals involved; we’re all helping out and everyone gives their time for free because we want to make it an accessible sport for others.”

MRC-Runcorn-SpringHeadRowing
MRC-Runcorn-SpringHeadRowing

The design manager for a construction company goes on:

“We are hoping to do a big push on our Instagram before Sunday to let people know what we are doing, so we celebrate the anniversary and try to grow our reach rather than making it a fundraising event. Although that’s always helpful, it’s not what this is about.

“When people think of rowing, they think of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, or Henley Regatta, but you don’t need to be from a posh background or have a double-barrelled name to take it up.

“Rowing is such a good sport and a great way to spend time and have a good day, and of course it’s good for your mental health. You spend time on the water, doing one thing again and again so you get a break from whatever has been on your mind that day.

“It is a difficult sport if you want to go to a higher level, it takes a lot of dedication and a lot of us are hoping to go to the national championships this year and push harder next year. You get out what you want to put in.

“But equally, you can just turn up and enjoy it.”

Max says people will be around at the Watersports Centre on Sunday to talk about Mersey Rowing Club and the sport, but he adds: “If people see us on the water give us a ‘go on Mersey’ or give us a cheer, and I’m sure that will help.”

Find out more about Mersey Rowing Club here.

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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