BY LEXI LOBDELL '20
On Friday, Feb. 17, the Mount Holyoke crew team camped out in Blanchard Campus Center to fulfill their goal of rowing 400,000 meters in 12 hours for their erg-a-thon. Each member of the team took one or two hourlong shifts on three ergometers or ‘ergs’ set up near the Uncommon Grounds coffee shop.
The MHC erg-a-thon was part of Row for Community, a campaign in which collegiate teams row to link their team to the surrounding community. Mira Kelly-Fair ’17 explained, “During the erg-a-thon we were participating in a Row for Community. That means we were collecting donations to fund Neighbors Helping Neighbors and our own team. We raised more than $200 throughout the day.”
Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a nonprofit organization based in South Hadley that works to provide nutrition through supplement food for families dealing with food insecurity, which accepts both monetary and food donations.
The team surpassed their goal significantly, rowing more than 420,000 meters during the 12-hour period from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Kelly-Fair added, “I was very pleased with the fact that in my two hours, I rowed over 16 miles.”
The erg-a-thon is a tradition MHC Crew cherishes. Kelly-Fair said, “This sort of fundraising binds us as a team and makes us feel more secure in our teammates’ abilities and dedication to the program.” Emma Tolerton ’17 also enjoyed the experience. “The erging was physically challenging but everyone had a really positive and supportive attitude so it was a fun experience overall,” Tolerton said. “Our teammates and random people walking through Blanchard were very encouraging and I think it really helped us bond as a team and get excited for the spring season.”
For Kelly-Fair, the ergathon fits into the general goals of the team this season. “This season we are all going to work our hardest to continue to improve as a team and as individuals,” said Kelly-Fair. “As a senior on the team, I’ve seen a lot of change throughout my time at MHC. I hope that through my own hard work and dedication, I can leave the team better than I found it.”
According to Kelly-Fair, “It’s never to late to join” MHC Crew.
“Almost everyone on the team had never rowed before college and the members on the team are happy to teach anyone! Just contact Heather Putnam, our head coach, if you think this is the right community for you.”