​Next month we will be holding our sixth annual fundraising ‘Row Runner’ challenge event for teams.​

Groups are tasked with rowing the full length of Windermere (twice!), whilst stopping off to allow a pair of runners to dash up and down three fells that overlook the lake. Find out more about RowRunner here. Last year six teams entered and raised over £15,000 for our work with disadvantaged youngsters in the Furness area, which is fantastic.

This year we are very lucky to have two teams who so enjoyed their bespoke version last month that they are back for the real thing.

Richard Moore from Temple Heelis in Kendal tells us more and why it worked for them:

“I am a Partner with Temple Heelis Solicitors, a firm that can trace its history back over two hundred years, rooted in South Lakeland all that time. We love the place and have made it our home for generations. Although we are a small firm, we are a diverse team with a wide range of interests.

Earlier in 2018 I had the task of coming up with a range of social activities that would interest and engage our staff, making the most of what the Lake District can offer. Being a lapsed runner and a poor cyclist, Row Runner caught my attention on the Brathay website. A couple of staff seemed interested and, all things being equal, that could well have been that.

However, my interest had been piqued and a conversation with Scott Umpleby, Brathay’s Head of Fundraising, was the catalyst for making the impossible, possible. He suggested a tailored made ‘Temple Heelis Row Runner’. This was essentially a slimmed down version of the main event, but with just one run instead of three. Interest from our staff grew to 16, about half of our staff, and enough for two boats. I explored opportunities to include the wider local professional and business community. Much to my surprise we ended up being able to fill six boats including teams made up of architects, accountants, a building society and a business referral group.

Scott then helped to organise a practice session, which was really about testing my colleagues’ resolve and building our confidence in the event. Only one of us had rowed before and, with ages ranging from 21 to 55-years-old, it may not have been for everyone. The session helped establish who wanted to commit and over the next few weeks there was a great deal of chit chat and friendly rival banter.

We took to the waters of Windermere, on Saturday 21 July, with a few team members opting to do the run too - up and down Gummers How. Every team finished the event with the winners completing it half an hour faster. The other five teams were very well matched and it was indeed remarkably close between second and fifth place - separated by just seven minutes over an almost six hours total.

Our aches and pains soon wore off leaving only happy memories of something that was a real challenge, a fabulous achievement and loads of fun. Such has been the positive impact of the event at Temple Heelis that, within days of completing our mini version, we were asking for more! Our mini version gave us the confidence to tackle the main Row Runner. Remarkably we have now booked the last boat and we are really looking forward to this bigger challenge in a few short weeks’ time.

The distance we have travelled is down to the brilliant facilities, flexibility and the help and support we have had from the Brathay team. We really enjoyed our own event and are looking forward to Row Runner proper. It is a clear testament to the work Brathay does and the brilliant experiences they offer everyone."