Helena Smalman-Smith |

Recreational rowing: is your club missing out?

Most club, school and university rowing in the UK is focused on racing – but there’s another way! Helena Smalman-Smith explains more, and talks to two clubs with thriving recreational rowing groups

Have you been for a cycle or maybe a run recently? And if so, why?

I’m guessing it would just have been because you wanted to take some exercise, or simply because you enjoyed it. If it was in the company of your household or that one permitted friend, probably all the more so. Exercise for fun and on your own terms is clearly hugely popular, if the steady stream of cyclists and runners of all ages, shapes, sizes and speeds passing my house is anything to go by, never mind the fresh crop of kayakers and paddleboarders on the river last summer.

So, as we return to rowing in a still-uncertain world, offering a ‘your workout, your choice’ option at your club will almost certainly appeal to a whole lot of people in your local community for whom hard-training squad rowing has little appeal or simply doesn’t fit with family or work commitments.

It could be just the solution too for some of your existing ‘squad’ members if they’re unsure about renewing their memberships because key events might not happen, or they just plain want to be able to choose to spend weekends visiting family and friends whom they haven’t seen for months.

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