UFV rowing team hosts ergathon to raise money for Canadian Cancer Society

By Vanessa Broadbent (The Cascade/Photos) – Email

Print Edition: February 25, 2015

The ergathon was 10 hours in total. (Images:  Vanessa Broadbent)

The ergathon was 10 hours in total. (Images: Vanessa Broadbent)

Most students use the weekend before midterms start to study, finish homework, and maybe have a nervous breakdown. But not the UFV rowing team. This weekend the rowing team hosted an ergathon (a rowing marathon to fundraise) on Saturday and Sunday in Fort Langley.

Ben Schreiner, fourth-year business student and captain of the men’s rowing team, explained that an ergathon is different from a standard rowing race. “You can think of it like a marathon where you’re running a set distance and trying to complete in the lowest time possible, where ours is we’re erging for a set time [five hours each day] and trying to maximize the distance in that time,” he said.

An ergathon is also much longer than a standard rowing race, both in time and distance.

“The six km race in the bigger boats takes up to 20 minutes to complete, so what they’re doing here is three times that distance,” Schreiner said.

Despite their differences, Schreiner sees preparing for an ergathon the same as preparing for a race.

“It’s all about getting a good night’s sleep beforehand, eating well, and warming up properly,” he said. “Each rower is taking a second shift, but the second group is showing up 15 to 20 minutes before to stretch, loosen up, get hydrated, and that’s fairly standard no matter what kind of race you’re doing.”


The rowing team partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society to raise funds for research, through their online donation page and in cash. Many of the team members, including Schreiner, have been affected by cancer in some way or another.

“It seemed like a no-brainer to choose the cancer society,” Schreiner explained. “For me personally, it was a nice choice to choose the cancer society. My mom was diagnosed with cancer, ultimately winning that battle, so it kind of hits close to home.”

Prior to the event, the rowing team approached local businesses to explain to them the nature of the event, and Schreiner and the rest of the team were happy with the amount of support.

“All of them were very supportive and very impressed with the way that the two entities — a university rowing team and a cancer society — have come together to make one event,” he said.

While the event is helping raise money for charity, Schreiner notes that the ergathon is also helping the team prepare for upcoming events because each team member spent an entire hour rowing.

“Aside from it being a fundraiser event, which is the main privilege, is that it works very well into our training program. Spending 60 minutes on the erg is nothing but beneficial to us,” he said.

The rowing team does most of their practicing at 5:50 a.m., which makes promoting the team a little difficult.

“This time of day we’re never on the water,” Schreiner said. “Most of these people here today will never see us on the water so it is a nice way to promote the fact that there is a university program in the area.”

Aside from promoting the team, Schreiner noted that the event provided a nice break in schedule for the team.

“It’s great for them to be out here, especially on a nice day,” he said. “It’s a good break from the training aspect we have where we’re normally tucked away indoors in the morning.”

By the end of the 10-hour ergathon, UFV Varsity Rowing tweeted that they’d rowed 251,000 m and raised $736 in cash, as well as over $1,100 from online donations.