UW Health Sports Medicine 

Crew hosts ergathon to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities


March 12, 2013

MADISON, Wis. -- More than 100 student-athletes from several University of Wisconsin teams recently joined forces to row more than 700,000 meters to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

The student-athletes rowed 5,000 meters each on an erg, a stationary rowing machine, to contribute to the 700,000-meter total. Their efforts were part of an "Ergathon" organized and hosted by the UW women's crew team. Rowers Lauren Steavpack, Sophie Gavell, Mackenize Whiteside and Jennifer Kish spearheaded the event held in Porter Boathouse, which raised $2,000 for RMHC over a three-hour period.

The ergathon was the first organized effort by the UW crew to introduce other student-athletes to the sport and raise money for charity in the process. Though their initial goal was to row 1,000,000 meters and raise $3,000, they are proud of the success their event's first year.

"We set pretty high goals for ourselves and came close to reaching them," Steavpack said. "It was great to see athletes outside of the rowing community come out to support the Ronald McDonald House Charity of Madison and see what rowing is all about."

One of the athletes that came out was football player Ray Ball. Though he is used to the rigorous work-outs that come with playing for the Badgers, he wasn't prepared for the workout he received on the erg.

"At the end of it my abs were killing me," Ball saaid. "I had a great time, though. The team better look out, I might take up rowing."

The rowers chose Ronald McDonald House charities after learning that it costs $100 per night to provide a "home-away-from-home" for families while a child receives treatment at area hospitals.  

"The women's crew team has become a part of our team in helping to keep parents and kids together in a warm homey atmosphere where kids can continue to be kids while they heal," said Mary Donahue, marketing and communications director for Ronald McDonald House Madison. "We appreciate the generosity and compassion the team has shown our families and their kids."

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