London Youth Rowing launch Race The Thames 2023 challenge

Charity London Youth Rowing (LYR) is launching a virtual Race The Thames 2023 challenge, in which participants will cover the distance of the River Thames through various sports.

Entering in teams of eight, they will jointly complete either the length of the Thames (346km) or the tidal Thames (72km) between 4-15 December.

Each group is required to fundraise £500 which will go towards either the development of LYR or another charity of their choice.

Teams can either row, kayak, canoe, run, walk, or cycle the distance with results logged in a virtual arena.

Over the past four years, Race The Thames, both live and virtual, has raised more than £300,000 with more than 300 teams competing.

The charity has created the hashtag #BustTheWinterBlues for the event as rowing can be difficult during the winter season.

David Tinnion, Chief Operating Officer of LYR, said: “It’s about getting people engaged and active while having fun.

“As we enter winter, it gets darker, colder, and more miserable, so the opportunity to get out and do some exercise, as a group, is something we want to try and promote.

“The aim is to support our programmes which we open for young people from less privileged backgrounds to increase confidence, teamwork and develop life skills.

“But participants can also donate to charities close to their hearts such as Cancer Research which is a popular one.”

Offering a range of physical and mental health benefits, LYR opens opportunities through rowing to help young people achieve their full potential.

Traditionally, the sport has limited accessibility to those from more urban areas and LYR continues to change that by increasing diversity through events such as this.

David added: “Some people will log in the miles they row across the River Thames, and others will enter the miles they walk to work.

“It’s all about encouraging the activity in whatever way works for the people taking part.”

Aside from organising events and races, LYR has invested in programmes which seek to develop young aspiring athletes.

Daniela Raguckaite, a 15-year-old rower from LYR, is among those competing in Race The Thames 2023 and aspires to represent the Great Britain Rowing Team.

She explained: “London Youth Rowing helps me with my dedication and determination.

“When I’m having a bad day, rowing is such a great way to escape from stress at school.

“It’s probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

A Social Value study of the Active Row London programme showed that rowing improves mental well-being, happiness and resilience.

Graphic courtesy of London Youth Rowing

Daniela added: “Everyone is on their own journey. Some come to stay fit and exercise, and others like me train eight times a week.

“My coach says I will hopefully be ready for the 2032 Olympics.”

As well as London, LYR runs programmes in Nottingham, Kent and Yorkshire supporting those who would otherwise not have the chance to try the sport.

Race The Thames 2023 seeks to bring people together and allow LYR to continue growing its accessibility to develop more young people in sports.

All images courtesy of London Youth Rowing

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