“I’m sorry, but you have cancer.”
This diagnosis changes everything. It scares, paralyzes and shows one’s own powerlessness. Sadly, these words are very real for 500,000 people in Germany around affected by a diagnosis every year.
Our friends in Berlin, Harry and Ivan, accept the challenge of competing in a 42.195 km rowing marathon.
Together, they want to increase awareness of the importance of fitness for physical and mental wellbeing and to aid financial resources for the fight against cancer. It’s not about celebrating successes as the best team, rather about the mission to encourage those affected and to show them in their darkest moments – you are not alone!
We couldn't agree more.
Harry and Ivan will be completing their momentous challenge on 20th December 2020, joined by teams in gyms across Germany and beyond, and we wish them every success!
Follow their journey here @marathonrow2020
Want to join them? Find out how here
Every Euro counts! Donate here
Below, Harry and Ivan share their stories...
"When I was 18 years old I lost my mother to cancer. Pretty much immediately after, I really felt like I want to do something to impact change but I didn’t really have the strength and also not the right kind of idea to create something meaningful on my own back then – but it always stayed in the back of my mind. Then it all started through my old work at Nike and my box Hauptstadt CrossFit.
Being an entrepreneur and artist, I’m always looking for ways to spend time away from work to energize myself and also to find creativity, and I was lucky enough to have an amazing sport with a fantastic community that supports each other and really cares about the people in their community.
As we came up with the idea of organizing a Charity Marathon Row, we immediately found like-minded athletes that wanted to join us, spread the message and support this cause – and for me personally who was always looking to do something in this area, I couldn’t be more thankful for all the support we are getting.
This is the third year of us organizing this event and since day one we saw how box owners, sports brands, companies and even people that wouldn’t necessarily identify themselves with the sport started calling in, asking how they could become a part of this cause and challenging themselves on the rowing machine.
Last time we even got the German Olympian Rowing Team joining us before they went off to training camp for Tokyo. We are grateful for every support we can get and are truly humbled by all the positive responses.
We are organizing this event to raise money from the community, for the community since we all know people in our own social circles that have been affected or who are currently battling this disease.
Of course we are fully aware that there are a lot of important issues out in the world at the moment but that can’t take anything away from the importance of cancer and the people fighting this very difficult fight. In Germany alone, there are 500,000 people affected every year.
We invite everybody, no matter the athletic ability, to take part in this challenge and help us grow our reach for a truly good cause.
It’s very easy to be distracted these days, until something unexpected happens and suddenly priorities shift – and we want to do the best we can for those people.
With the 24h charity Marathon Row we hope to take the first step and create awareness about leukaemia, bring people together and create a platform to actually make an impact.
"When I was a young athlete I already was paying attention to live a healthy lifestyle, but especially since I have opened my CrossFit Box Hauptstadt CrossFit in Berlin in 2012 the health aspect of the community became the centre of everything I do and why I am doing it.
My will to get active in that direction was awakened at the time when I heard about a young athlete from a befriended Berlin CrossFit box, who is suffering from leukaemia.
Because of her, the Berlin Throwdown initiated a campaign with the DKMS to register as bone marrow donors during the event, which I did. It created a good feeling to have done something important and useful without taking any advantage from it.
Everybody has the opinion that charity is good and everybody is always for it. But most of the people never do something, because it demands just a little bit too much effort to break out of their comfort zone.
When Ivan told me the story of his mother and that he is willing to engage in the fight against cancer I realized that this is the moment for me to not just talk the talk but walk the walk. So we are doing now.
The marathon row from the CrossFit Games 2018 was the perfect set up for this event, because firstly every serious box has rowers and the event would be easy to organise.
Secondly a lot of CrossFitters strive for their idols and want to redo workouts they did and thirdly the marathon row symbolises the hard and long fight against cancer and shows solidarity with all people who are suffering. Seeing and participating in events organized by Battle Cancer with my Box for me was a great example of how this amazing community can join forces helping people to make a difference. It’s just incredible to see right now how we all can support each other to fight this disease with people from all over the world.
With the 24HRS Charity Marathon Row, we are trying to make this event as big and as safe as possible, especially in times like these and we hope that many other athletes out there share our values and execute this event in a responsible and safe way.
We thank the DKMS for their support and the uncomplicated realisation of all necessary organisational steps.
We hope that this is just the beginning. Big thanks to everyone who is putting time and effort into this and thank you guys for giving us the stage to reach our community beyond Germany."