//PICTURED ABOVE: Herring practices rowing often and enjoys the sport. She “ergs” on her own personal machine for her charity Ergathon at home.
At a time where distance is key, junior Annie Herring is finding a way to bring the community together and help those most affected by COVID-19.
Herring created a Fundraising Ergathon from May 1-May 15. “Erging” is rowing, but on an indoor rowing machine. Herring’s goal is to raise at least $5,000 for the Dallas-based non-profit United to Learn. Through its Family Food Assistance program, United to Learn is helping families of DISD students access food resources at a time where the next meal is often uncertain.
“My big inspiration behind the ergathon was seeing one of my friends run a marathon to raise money to support her local hospital,” Herring said. “I had been erging a lot at home so I thought that I could do something similar, but with erging.”
For the Ergathon, a Dallas team of 79 people, including 12 Hockaday athletes, was formed with anyone in the community who had an erg in their home. This included a combination of masters (rowers over 21), high-school and college students, coaches, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers ranging from 14 to 73 years old.
Each participant has family or friends who agree to donate a certain amount when the athlete has “erged” a specific distance. For Herring, that includes her aunt, grandma, parents and several family friends.
Herring’s Hockaday rowing teammate, Sophie Podeszwa, has joined the group effort alongside some of her Hockaday teammates.
“I knew I wanted to contribute to the ergathon as soon as I heard about it,” Podeszwa said. “I try to stay in shape for crew so erging to help a good cause was a no-brainer!”
Maria Esway, an assistant Hockaday crew coach, has been keeping track of the total meters “erged” and has spearheaded outreach to other Dallas rowing teams. Through her, the Dallas Rowing Club has agreed to participate in order to maximize the funds raised for United to Learn.
“Annie has been an inspiration and leader from concept to execution,” Esway said. “She has also set an example by personally posting 108,500 meters so far, and driving the rest of the team to catch her. There’s a lot of excitement building for May 15 and a really big finish for the families in our community.”
By May 15th, the ergathon had raised $5,681 for the United to Learn program, exceeding the $5,000 goal they had set.
“I’m really inspired by what our community has accomplished already with this and it’s definitely the kind of thing I’d love to see happen again, pandemic or not,” Herring said.
Story by Remy Finn, Staff Writer
Photos provided by Annie Herring