Lancaster Uni's Ergo 96!

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Posted by:

Jo White LUBC
Dept of Maths and Stats,
Fylde College,
Lancaster University


Most university boat clubs will understand our plight - a need for newequipmentyet insufficient funds to obtain any. As an Exec, we'd tried every angle that we could think of - or so we thought. Some clubs will go to any lengths toraise money - so will we - in fact we went 800 miles (that's 1,270,000 metres).This is all without leaving the comfort of our University.

On Wednesday February 7th, a rather snowbound Alexandra Square at LancasterUniversity saw the start of ERGO 96, a sponsored cross Britain row. This wasthe Boat Club's effort to raise some of the 8000 pounds needed to purchase a new Eight following the (much publicised) demise of their current boat. Our original aim for ERGO was to row theequivalent distance from Land's End to John O Groats which is 1,000,000 metres(as the crow flies - we are, after all a boat club!). We had estimated thatthis would take us 48 hours providing we kept one ergo running at all time.This was achieved by members of the club rowing in shifts to ensure it'ssuccess by mid-day on Friday 8th February. Three ergos in total were used for theduration; two were used by boat club members to row on and the third provided a750 metre challenge to non-rowers. A steady stream of students took part inthis challenge, each paying 1pound for the privilege plus receiving a raffleticket. Members of the club went round the various university departmentsselling tickets. Raffle prizes were donated by local companies such asMitchell's Brewery and Reebok. The three ergos were generously loaned byConcept II of Nottingham.

During the 48 hours, the ergos moved from the snowbound square to variouslecture theatres and even to the foyer of one of them. All the time, we keptat least one ergo running, day or night. The 1,000,000 metre mark was reachedat 01:13am on the Friday morning (I know; I was there!). We finished, 48 hoursafter starting, at 12:06pm in the warmth of the Sports Centre on campus, havingrowed a total distance of 1,270,000 metres. The weather had beaten us, but thechallenge had not! From the raffle and collections alone we raised 300 pounds.The sponsor money is still being counted; our aim is to raise between 1,500pounds and 2,000 pounds. With the help of a fund raising scheme from theAthletic Union we may be able to double this figure.

This will go partway to purchasing an Eight. Until then we will have to relyon the generosity of other clubs in borrowing their boats for races. LancasterUniversity Boat Club is currently looking for long-term sponsorship - it wouldbe the answer to our prayers.

Jo White, LUBC.