In a couple of weeks’ time, Jenny Grant is expected to complete the 42,150 metres of a marathon in Richmond – without her feet touching the ground.
That’s because Grant, a personal trainer and nutritionist, will “travel” the marathon distance ensconced in a rowing machine in her local gym.
Grant is taking on the unusual challenge in a bid to raise a few dollars and awareness – through GoFundMe - for Richmond non-profit Pathways Clubhouse, a centre for people in recovery from mental illness.
And, down the line, if she helps even one person getting more access to the services they need, rowing a marathon will have been worth the sweat.
“I row all the time as part of my training. I don’t run. I’m running an 8K next week, but that’s unusual,” said Grant, 37, a cross-fit and body-building athlete who trains out of Overdrive Athletic Club on Elmbridge Way, right next door to Pathways' former location.
“Plus, running is not as eye-catching. Who the hell rows a marathon?”
As a person who has an anxiety disorder, Grant said rowing in her own little zone gives her comfort.
“I’ll set up my rower, put Lord of the Rings: Return of the King on my i-Pad and away I go. The movie is four hours long, so it’s perfect,” added Grant, who has personal experience through her mom and a family friend’s illnesses of the great work Pathways does.
“The whole thing will take about four and half hours. Four hours to row and I plan to stop every so often for a two-minute break to stretch, snack and drink.”
Grant said she has some friends who will stop by from time to time, hopefully bringing her some coffee.
“Maybe someone will pull over a rower and row for 500 metres or so with me, who knows.”
Grant initially set a modest goal of $500 on her GoFundMe page, but has received so much support, she keeps edging the total upwards.
“My main aim is to have this type of community support available for my son if needs it,” she said.
“For mental health, there are not enough options for people to seek help. Psychologists cost a lot of money.
“There is some help for people who are ‘in situations.’ There’s not a lot for people who are still suffering from something that happened 15 to 20 years ago.”
To donate to Grant's fundraising row, click here.