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Brookline Rowers Fundraise to Help Fellow Athlete

Marathon Monday isn’t for another few weeks, but a group of Brookline residents recently took on a different kind of marathon in order to help a fellow athlete.

On March 16, athletes at Brookline’s Power Rowing studio hopped on the indoor rowers and set their distances to 42,000 meters, almost 26.2 miles. The goal? To raise enough money to buy an adaptive rowing machine for Amy Carrier, a fellow athlete with mobility challenges.

″[Rowing] was the only sport I wanted to do when I was in high school, and I never had the opportunity to do it,” Carrier told the TAB. During physical therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital a few years ago, she finally had the chance to train on an adaptive rowing machine (or erg, as they’re known colloquially in the rowing world).

Last fall, she reached out to Power Rowing owner Bryan Fuller to see if he had an adaptive erg she could use. He didn’t, but he knew a guy who could make it happen — Fuller has friends who customize adaptive equipment at Boston-based Community Rowing Inc., one of the top clubs in the U.S. for para and adaptive rowing.

The machines can be specially tailored to fit an athlete’s needs. If a rower is missing an arm, for example, the handle can be altered so the rower can hold it with one hand instead of two, Fuller explained.

However, those machines can carry a hefty price tag.

Before he had even met her, Fuller decided to rally his athletes to raise money to buy an adaptive erg for Carrier.

“It was a complete surprise. I’m shocked,” Carrier said. “It was out of the blue. I never considered anything like that.”

Carrier’s adaptive erg will stabilize her core so she can work her legs. “I am looking forward to building my strength and doing it basically sitting down,” she said.

About 60 people participated in the fundraiser race, many forming teams to split the marathon distance into a relay. Paying $25 each, the athletes exceeded their fundraising goal of $1,400.

However, the Power Rowing athletes are already pros when it comes to fundraising, Fuller said. The group regularly participates in “charity challenges,” rowing thousands of meters and raising thousands of dollars for local charities. “All this is pretty typical of us,” he said.

Although the athletes competed against one another, the afternoon took on a friendly tone, with plenty of cheering and potluck dishes to share, according to Fuller.

“It was just a really, really fun day,” he said. “It was giddy. People were super excited.”

“Halfway through the thing — imagine you’ve been rowing for two hours — pretty much everybody in the room is coming up to me like, ‘When are we doing this again? This is so much fun,’” he added. “It’s pretty crazy.”

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