Rowing competition goes virtual to raise money for charity

Posted at 5:52 AM, Apr 06, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Even though we have to spend time apart right now from loved ones and friends during this Covid-19 Pandemic, it doesn’t mean we still can’t have some friendly competition.

Two Grand Rapids athletes did just that with a virtual marathon row and they raised money at the same time.

Coach Jeff Kemperman of Orangetheory Fitness Grand Rapids and member Brian Schwartz both enjoy rowing and have been challenging each other with different distances the past few months, so they decided why not do a marathon row and support Kids' Food Basket at the same time.

Hundreds of friends watched virtually over Facebook live and Zoom as coach Jeff had his rower set up in his one bedroom apartment and Brian had his set up in his home.

They each took turns rowing 1,000 meters until they got to their combined goal of 42,195 meters or 26.2 Miles.

It took them just under 3 hours, finishing up in 2 hours and 47 minutes.

“For me, I'm isolated by myself in my one bedroom apartment without a whole lot of human interaction. And then next thing I know, we've got this incredible virtual event that's happening, and hundreds of people are commenting and watching and supporting us and donating. And for me, that was the best part of the entire thing was just how the community even virtually came together to support such an incredible cause,” says Coach Jeff Kemperman.

Pulling in more than $4,000 during Saturday's livestream, a chance to encourage us all to maintain good health practices and raise money for the important work Kids' Food Basket is doing in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

It's not to late to donate, you can through Orangetheory Fitness Grand Rapids Facebook linkor by visiting Kids' Food Basket.