Ryan Geiger: The Man Rowing 1 Million Meters to Raise Money for an Arizona Youth Program

November 15, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Mason Elliott
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1 million. That’s how many meters Ryan Geiger will row in November to support Forging Youth Resilience (FYR) Flagstaff, a nonprofit aiding at-promise and underserved youth in the community. 

The big picture: FYR Flagstaff, a youth program part of the organization formerly known as Steve’s Club National Program, offers free fitness classes, operating with the belief that “functional fitness, nutritional education, and authentic, positive community connections” can improve psychological and physical well-being and transform the lives of at-promise youth. 

  • FYR Flagstaff has been operating in Flagstaff since 2013, the first classes held at CrossFit Flagstaff. When COVID started, Program Coordinator Sarah Vanier pivoted the program away from that affiliate to make it more accessible.
  • Now, without a brick-and-mortar (Vanier calls their program a “roving”), the organization works with community partners, like the Boys & Girls club and family support centers, to host FYR classes.

Funds raised from Geiger’s million meters will go towards equipment for their functional fitness program, continuing their community connections, and purchasing items – like food, Vanier says – to make FYR more appealing to youth in the area. 

The Million Meters: Through November, Geiger, a former professional mountain biker and L1-certified CrossFit coach, will row 33,334 meters a day. He’s breaking it down to two sessions of 16,667-meter rows a day — pacing around an hour and 15 minutes for each session — and says his body is slowly adapting to the work. 

  • “One million is a big number,” Geiger said. “There was something that attracted me to a challenge of that sort. But the basis of it is that we were looking for a creative way to fundraise money while living the words of FYR; we’re trying to build resilience and set a good example of resilience that kids could see and latch on to.”

The bottom line: “We’re in a rebuilding phase,” says Geiger. “We’re getting to a point where FYR is really hitting its stride, and fundraising at this point will get us to a place where we’re able to pursue and continue a lot of awesome growth that has happened in the last year and make sure that momentum goes forward.”

The million-meter GoFundMe campaign has crossed the halfway point to its goal: $5,000. Geiger says if the fundraiser reaches $10,000, he will attempt to row 100,000 meters in one day.

  • “It’s really cool to see how many people have been supporting FYR from the local community. Flagstaff has stepped up for something that a lot of people are starting to take note of… it makes it very easy to row every day when you see so much local support,” Geiger says. 

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