For the first time, London Youth Rowing will be represented at the London Marathon, on 22nd April 2018.

Louise Samuel is running to raise money for LYR, having secretly been nominated to compete in the iconic race by her daughter. Mother and daughter both learned to row with LYR. Louise believes in the charity's goals, and LYR are proud to support her on the next step of her sporting journey. 

 

Louise Samuel is a registered Nurse, working with terminally ill patients through Marie Curie, and also as a Stop Smoking Advisor. 

She began running five years ago and has since run four half marathons.

She began rowing two years ago and took on the Tideway this month for her first proper race.

She is now combining her rowing and running training in preparation for the 2018 London Marathon, where she is representing and fundraising for London Youth Rowing (LYR). 

If you hadn’t already figured it out; Louise is made of tough stuff!

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Louise started running through a women’s only group at Cambridge Harrier’s. She used to take her children to train there.

She said: ‘I just thought, let’s give it a go. And I found it really tough at first because it’s a difficult sport.’

Similarly when her daughter Siobhan started rowing with LYR, Louise couldn’t resist taking her chances in a boat either. She was seeing first-hand the positive effect rowing was having on her daughter.

‘Rowing has taught Siobhan so much. She’s disciplined; she balances school work, rowing and races. Rowing really teaches you to utilise your time – time is precious, every minute counts. I’ve seen her and her teammates at regattas using spare half hours with their school books,’ she said.

So, she signed up for another women’s only activity; a learn-to-row course run by London Youth Rowing as part of the This Girl Can Campaign.

Louise said: ‘I love the whole technical aspect of rowing, it’s the hardest sport I’ve ever done, but the fact that I could still try a new sport and be part of a team at my age is amazing. I love running, but it’s very individual. Rowing means being part of a team and I love being outside too.

I’m learning new things about myself, like how disciplined I can be. No isn’t a word that exists anymore. My week is planned around my rowing and running training, and it’s a lovely feeling to think you can do anything. It’s given me confidence. And once you have that feeling, you can transfer that to other things. Rowing provides skills above and beyond other sports.

She and five other women from the course have gone on to join the London Otter’s Rowing Club, which she says has been a brilliant experience because they make sport so inclusive and safe.

Louise’s attitude to taking part in sport has revolved around the welcoming and social environment of women’s only groups.

‘There aren’t enough women in sport. Women need to have more confidence that they can do things and there’s no reason why they can’t. It’s not that we don’t want to, but we need a women’s only platforms to come in to, to build confidence. It’s important to increase the chances for women to get involved,’ said Louise.

You can begin building a picture around why Louise is so passionate about supporting London Youth Rowing’s mission.

LYR are a unique and central part of London’s youth sporting culture. The charity opens access to rowing, an otherwise traditionally niche sport with the aim of supporting inactive young people in disadvantaged areas of London, on a journey towards becoming physically active. In turn, a light is being shone on making the rowing community into a more diverse and inclusive environment.

‘I see discrimination in rowing,’ said Louise. ‘We’ve been to countless regattas including Henley, and Henley shows you a very selective side of rowing. LYR strive to counteract that, giving the opportunity to row to all people. Henley needs shaking up! I’d personally like to see more women competing.

LYR is crucial to the sport so that children keep getting involved. Sport is something that everyone should have access to and everyone should take part in, particularly rowing where there is a history of niche groups taking part. It’s important to make diversity normal.’

She’s nervous about running, about the mission she has ahead of her, but in true ‘Stop Smoking’ fashion her mantra is:

‘Nothing happens overnight, but small changes lead to improvement. Don’t give up. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something. It’s going to be hard, but you can keep going.’

Words to live by. And it’s fair to say that LYR won’t be giving up on their mission either.

Here’s to Louise, and her amazing pledge to help raise money for LYR. Be part of her journey and DONATE NOW