Blast away the cobwebs this New Year with ‘The Great Row’, a unique fitness fundraising challenge from Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.

In partnership with the renowned Oxford & Cambridge Boat Races, now known as The Cancer Research UK Boat Races, the charity is encouraging the nation to take on an indoor rowing challenge between 6th January and 1st April 2017 and raise money to help beat cancer sooner.

Those wanting to take on ‘The Great Row’ can enter as an individual or a team and choose from different challenge levels; rowing distances start from 2,000 metres and go up to a full marathon. The chosen distance should be covered on an indoor rowing machine and completed during ‘Challenge Week’, a week before The Boat Races take place on Sunday 2nd April.

Taking on The Great Row doesn’t require an expensive gym membership either; Cancer Research UK has partnered with David Lloyd Clubs, giving anyone who takes on the challenge access to David Lloyd Clubs across the country every Friday throughout March. Participants will receive a link when they sign up to the challenge that will give them access to their ‘free Fridays’ pass.

The fitness fundraiser is part of a wider partnership with The Boat Races following BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management’s decision to pull together and generously donate their headline sponsorship rights of The Boat Races in January last year (2016).

Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover, who is supporting Cancer Research UK’s ‘The Great Row’, said: “No doubt we will all have over-indulged a little this Christmas and having a fresh challenge to kick off the New Year is a great way to get health and fitness goals back on track, or inspire those who want to take on the gym for the first time.

“The Great Row is flexible and includes a challenge to suit every level, whether you’ve never used a rowing machine before or you think you might win an Olympic medal one day. On top of being a fantastic fitness motivator, it’s a good way to support Cancer Research UK’s work. Last year was a huge success and it would be brilliant to see even more people get into rowing and doing their bit to beat cancer. ”

Frances Milner, executive director of philanthropy and partnerships at Cancer Research UK, said: “The Great Row is a challenge like no other and we’re thrilled to bring it back for 2017. So many people got involved last year and discovered a new love for rowing, all while raising funds for our vital cancer research.

“Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer, which is why we need to pull together, get active, commit to a challenge and raise as much money as possible to help bring forward the day that all cancers are cured.”




For more information please contact Lois Wilson or Laura Fletcher in the Cancer Research UK press office on [email protected] / [email protected] or call 0203 469 8427 / 0203 469 8943. For out of hours queries please contact the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.


Notes to editors


About the partnership


  • Cancer Research UK was generously donated the naming rights of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races by BNY Mellon and Newton Investment Management in January 2016. The sporting event is now called ‘The Cancer Research UK Boat Races’
  • Cancer Research UK is the first ever official charity partner of The Boat Races. The partnership aims to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK’s work to beat cancer sooner
  • The Cancer Research UK Boat Races take place on Sunday 2 April 2017

About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, 2 in 4 people will still be alive 10 years or more after a cancer diagnosis. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will still be alive 10 years or more after a cancer diagnosis.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.


For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About David Lloyd Leisure Group


The David Lloyd Leisure Group operates 83 clubs in the UK and a further 11 clubs across Europe, comprising David Lloyd Clubs , Harbour Clubs, plus the new high street concept, David Lloyd Studio. It has approximately 460,000 members and employs 6,000 people. This includes an expert health and fitness team of over 1,800, while it contracts the services of more than 400 tennis professionals. Across all clubs, David Lloyd Leisure has over 150 swimming pools (of which half are indoor) and offers over 10,000 exercise classes per week. Every week 20,000 children learn to swim at David Lloyd Leisure and 12,500 learn to play tennis. Its racquets facilities are unparalleled with 800 tennis courts as well as 180 badminton courts and 140 squash courts. Additional facilities include health and beauty spas, club lounges with free internet access, crèches, nurseries and specialist sports shops.

Interested in joining?