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NEWS | March 29, 2021

Row-a-thon hosted by NHNG task force

By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston


About 54 New Hampshire guardsmen competed in a 26.2-mile row-a-thon on the drill hall floor at Joint Force Headquarters in Concord on March 24, the brunt of competitors from various missions assigned to the state’s COVID-19 task force.

Soldiers and airmen on nine teams took turns rowing on electronic, stationary exercise machines during the grueling 2.5-hour event.

Why?

“Because we can,” joked Sgt. Steven Prewitt of the 237th Military Police Company and Team 3 member.

Though originally planned as a small, atypical fitness event, teams filled and grew in number quickly as interest spread across the task force.

"It builds morale and esprit de corps," said event organizer Command Sgt. Maj. Rachael Fleharty-Strevig. "People get to meet people from across the organization.”

Despite only bragging rights at stake, fierce intensity and gamesmanship were on full display.

Strategies varied, but most teams swapped out athletes after just a minute or two of fervent rowing to optimize endurance and time. Some squads rotated through with the precision of a NASCAR pit crew, helping each other get in and out of Velcro foot fasteners.

“There really is no point to it,” said Senior Airman Christopher Albertelli of the 157th Maintenance Squadron. “Just doing it for the fun of it, trying to push ourselves to the limit and give it all we can as a whole task force.”

Between relays, competitors cheered each other on, gasped for air, dripped sweat and guzzled sports drinks. They also kept a watchful eye on a computer-projected wall display, which tracked each team’s position.

“We’re catching up to the teams in front of us,” said Sgt. Terron Thomas of the 3643d Brigade Support Battalion and Team 8 member. “We’re going to win!”

Thomas’s group finished last, despite the enthusiastic prediction.

The "Abercrombie Row Team” of five airmen and one soldier won with a time of 2:30:29.

The team included Tech Sgt. Alan Bauman, Tech Sgt. Elijah Davies, and Staff Sgt. Dexter Stone of the 157th Civil Engineer Squadron; Senior Airman Ryan Gordon of the 157th Logistical Readiness Squadron, Senior Airman Christopher Albertelli of the 157th Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. David Selmer of the 39th Army Band.