When Julia Baumel decides to "pull" for a cause, she doesn't mess around. This Kennett High School junior and NRC varsity rower used the club's MLK Day event, the "Million Meter Marathon," to attempt to break the World Record time for the lightweight junior women's indoor rowing marathon (42,195 meters), while at the same time to raise money for her charity, Kids Pitch In.
And break the world record she did-shattering the old mark that stood for nearly 9 years by almost 6 minutes. Her official time, 3hrs 09:04.4 minutes, was confirmed by Concept 2, the world sponsor of indoor rowing events and records.
In addition, her record-breaking row raised more than $5000 for the charity she founded in 2010, Kids Pitch In (KPI). KPI has partnered with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Cole Hamels, his wife Heidi, and The Hamels Foundation (THF) and has been organizing fundraising projects for The Hamel's Foundation Namunda School, a school for orphaned girls in Southern Malawi. In 2010, KPI organized, "Kennett Pitches In" as a community project that raised $10,000 for the building of the "Kennett Classroom" at the Namunda School. In May 2011, Cole and Heidi Hamels visited the Kennett schools to thank Julia, Kids Pitch In, and the entire Kennett community for their generous support of the Malawi project.
Julia, who has rowed for 3 years, has been training for nearly 12 months straight, both on the water and indoors, for her world record-breaking marathon attempt. "Rowing an indoor marathon is a top endurance test for any competitive rower," said Julia. "As physically challenging as it is, few want to do it again. So I decided to go for it, and use the effort to benefit Kids Pitch In."
NRC coaches John Cohn and Samantha McDonald guided her training. "We're incredibly proud of Julia," said Cohn. "Her accomplishment is not only a product of her physical fitness, but of the determination and focus we see from her daily."
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NRC Executive Director, Susan Smith, added, "Though this is an extremely difficult achievement, I was confident that Julia would accomplish her goal. She is a very focused athlete, and when Julia sets her mind to something, there's no stopping her. I couldn't be more proud. She's an inspiration to us all."
Providing support to Julia during her more than three hour row were her coaches and team mates, including impressive rows from the Carr sisters, 13 year-old Rose from Newark Charter and 15 year old Tara of The Conrad School, logging times of 3 hours 18:16 minutes and 3 hours 23:17 minutes, respectively.
Also rowing a marathon was NRC novice rower and Salesianum sophomore, Bill Watkins, who has been rowing just a season with the club. Bill completed his marathon in 3 hours 19:26 minutes.
So how do you keep the athletes distracted from the monotony of a marathon row but focused on their goals - by watching a season of ABC's hit show "Modern Family," that's how!
Overall first-time rowers, junior athletes, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, young and old rowed more than 964,000 meters during the 12-hour event.
Added Susan Smith, "We're extremely proud of the way our athletes and the community got behind this first year MLK Day celebration. Now that it's over we can't help but look ahead to next year's event to benefit even more charitable organizations."