Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2020

One team, 451,879 meters and an extraordinary test of endurance

To clinch the distance record, the men’s team rotated on the erg for 30-second, full-intensity shifts. The machine’s flywheel had to remain spinning for the record to be legitimate, so man-to-man transitions had to be flawless. After 4 minutes and 30 seconds to recuperate, each rower was back on the erg. The overnight shift allowed one rower at a time to take a 40-minute nap break, challenging the remaining nine to up their intensity. But they powered through for 24 hours to make history. And as if one world record weren’t enough, the EnduROWthon broke two. Across the stage from the men’s varsity team was another rowing machine, on which 600 people took shifts to shatter the world record for most people to row 500 meters on a single erg in 24 hours. Mercyhurst students, faculty, administrators, and staff – even Louie the Laker – hopped on to take a turn, as did people from the Erie community. For Jeff Murt, a senior intelligence studies major and rower, the most powerful moment of the EnduROWthon wasn’t with his varsity team. In the quiet depth of the overnight shift, a young boy with cerebral palsy got to do his part. The boy came with his mother at 4 a.m., took a seat on the erg, and rowed his way into the record books. “His mother was in tears – it was a very powerful thing to see,” Murt said. “Honestly, even though the men’s varsity team broke the record, giving that little boy a chance to be a part of something so huge, that made this whole thing worth it.”

Condensed from a story by Abby Badach Doyle in Mercyhurst Magazine , April 2013

Two minutes remained between the Mercyhurst men’s rowing team and a world record. Hundreds of students rushed the stage, flooding the Mercyhurst Athletic Center stage with chants: “Row! Row! Row!” And row, these 10 student-athletes did – for 24 straight hours, all the way to an official Guinness World Record. “I don’t know if my body’s ever been to this point before,” said senior exercise science major Jake Schuppe, who rowed the final 30 seconds. Schuppe is no stranger to endurance events. He’s competed in 24-hour mountain bike relays, but even that doesn’t compare. “With the atmosphere that my team created, we pushed ourselves so far past any perceivable limit we ever thought we’d even get close to,” he said. “My body is in shambles – but, you know what? It was phenomenal. And I’d happily do it again.”

This a story of how adrenaline slays fatigue. This is the ultimate display of teamwork.

This is the Mercyhurst EnduROWthon. On March 7-8, [2013,] 10 student-athletes from the men’s rowing team rowed 451,879 meters to break a record for the greatest distance rowed by a lightweight men’s small team on an indoor Concept II rowing machine in a 24-hour period. Student organizers dubbed the event the “Mercyless EnduROWthon.”

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