Last Sunday Tawe Phoenix (Swansea University's Alumni Club) took on the challenge of Racing at Boston Marathon to raise money for Swansea University Rowing Club and the Teenage Cancer Trust. The crew consisting of Bonnie London, Beth Murphy, Pippa Harrison, Ralph Ward, Lex Laurence, Ed Blundell, Tom Mcloughlin, Lorna Carter and Georgina Burden put in a great effort and finished the 50.2km in 4hrs 22 mins which put them 2nd in their category and in 18th place out of the 121 crews which took part this year.
Read below to hear from Pippa Harrison, a graduate from 2016, to find out how they did.
‘It all started over a few glasses of Pimms at the Alumni Henley BBQ. At this point Boston Marathon seemed a long way away, but myself and a few other unfortunate souls agreed that it would be a great idea to take on this challenge as a fundraiser for the club that developed all of our rowing careers, along with Teenage Cancer Trust – a charity close to our hearts. By the time we came to our senses in the morning, the wheels were already in motion...
After months of organization we found ourselves with a full crew of Swansea Alumni, with graduation dates ranging from 2012-2018, on a pontoon lowering a borrowed eight into a canal. What followed was approximately four and a half hours of (almost) non-stop rowing!
Boston Marathon itself takes places on the canal between Lincoln and Boston, a stretch of 50 km, broken only by a lock 13km from the start at Lincoln. We got off to a cracking start, and when we got out to lift the boat over the lock, we were feeling confidant that we had overestimated the challenge.
It was after 15km we first encountered pondweed - at times it looked and felt as if we were rowing through carpet. Lucky for us, we had a trump card – our cox Bonnie. Normally dead weight, especially after a large morning fry up, this time she had the task of reaching down into the river, under the boat to clear the rudder of the weed every couple of km. She also provided us with motivation and tunes pumping through the coxbox - great to keep us all ticking along.
By the time we started to count down the last 20k, everyone was feeling the burn. Luckily the crew gelled exceptionally well, not even grumbling when taking the extra weight during rolling sixes to give each other a chance to take on water and Haribo. We overtook multiple crews and spent a number of km rowing alongside Monmouth Boys School, which gave us all healthy competition to keep going.
The last 10k took its toll, but every stroke brought us closer to the finish line, we managed to ignore the blisters popping and muscles revolting, bringing the boat across the line in style (or at least we like to think so). The race was a great test of endurance and callous strength, and we all agree it was very much worth while, especially as we crossed the line to the news that we had raised over £1000!’
Please find the link below for any last minute donations.