Tokyo on Thames, Museum’s community fitness project, gets off to a flying start

A new community sports project, Tokyo on Thames, spearheaded by the River & Rowing Museum, has got off to an incredible start with the first part of the initiative – Training the Trainer.

On Saturday 29 February, British Rowing Master Trainer Kate Belcher shared her insights with an enthusiastic group on the intricacies and skills required to get the most from training on the rowing machine. Go Row Indoor is British Rowing’s indoor rowing programme aiming to get everyone rowing whether it be for fun, fitness or competition.

The 5 hour training session saw the Museum’s beautiful Thames Room filled with indoor rowing machines. It was designed to empower the participants and enable them to use and promote the rowing machine as a total body workout, not just as a warm up exercise. One of the participants, Laura Bailey, says “I was really excited when I heard that the River & Rowing Museum were taking part in this project to help to promote a healthy lifestyle through indoor rowing. It’s such a fantastic team sport and one where I have made my closest friends. I am really keen to show people that with the correct indoor rowing training its really easy to improve your fitness and reduce injury as a result.”

Now trained, invigorated and accredited as British Rowing Go Row Indoor instructors, the fitness trainers are set to share this initiative community wide, through a number of FREE Go Row Indoor taster sessions, open to all 4 – 19 April, at the Museum.

Tokyo on Thames, as its name suggests, celebrates the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle through indoor rowing. This community project promotes indoor rowing as an accessible and inclusive sport, suitable for all ages (12+) and levels of fitness. A low impact activity that avoids damage to the joints, indoor rowing is perfect for cross training, rehabilitation and also for those who are new to exercise.

The Museum is inviting the local community to get active and start indoor rowing, with participants combining the distance they row to cover the distance between Henley and Tokyo. How far you row is up to you: 1,000m, 2,000m, 5,000m, a half marathon – it’s all about completing your own personal challenge. Limited edition Tokyo on Thames / River & Rowing Museum medals will be available to purchase via Row the Distance, so everyone can be a medal winner this summer.

Helen Cook, Head of Learning at the Museum says “We are excited to be running this local community initiative and are inviting everyone – residents, local schools, businesses, clubs, Scouts, Guides, Sea Cadets, fitness clubs, retirement homes – to get involved and get active this summer. The taster sessions are free, so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something different. Why not get a team together, start training at one of our free sessions and then join us for our Indoor Row competitions? We’re also looking for volunteers to support Tokyo on Thames, helping participants and making sure the events run smoothly.” Email helen.cook@rrm.co.uk if you would like to volunteer.

The project culminates in a weekend of competitions at the Museum for teams of four indoor rowers: Adults Indoor Row competition Saturday 11 July; Youth (12 – 18yrs) Indoor Row competition Sunday 12 July. Compete with your friends and colleagues in a series of fun team events, and even use the opportunity to raise money for your chosen charity.

Sarah Posey, Director, says: “You might imagine that a visit to the museum is just concerned with a passive appreciation of rowing’s heritage and the achievements of a small number of outstanding athletes. Think again! We’re inviting everyone in the local community to get active and engage in the sport’s fastest-growing format. Not only is indoor rowing a competitive sport in its own right, it’s a really fun way to get fit. So get a group of friends, relatives or colleagues together and come and have a go, and see another side of the Museum this spring and summer.”

Get fit, have fun, get involved in your Tokyo on Thames Community Row at the River & Rowing Museum this summer. To book your FREE place on a Tokyo on Thames taster session or enter the Indoor Row Competition, call Helen Cook on 01491 415 607 or click here.

Follow Tokyo on Thames Community Row on social media: #TokyoonThames