CrossFit Taranis Member Rows 100k, Helps Raise $36,000 for Charity

December 17, 2023 by
Courtesy of Mike Sanborn
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When Devin Eaton decided that his gym would join CrossFit Taranis in Victoria, British Columbia, and participate in “100.3k for Q,” a fundraising effort that involves rowing 100 kilometers, he assumed the work would be broken into teams.

For the most part, it was, but one man, Mike Sanborn, decided to row the entire 100 kilometers by himself.

It took Sanborn, a 13-year member of CrossFit Taranis, eight hours and five minutes to complete the task as he rowed alongside teams of four or five from both Taranis and Eaton’s gym—Alberni Valley CrossFit in Port Alberni—also located on Vancouver Island.

The details: On December 2, the two CrossFit communities raised $36,000 (CAD) for Lumara Grief & Bereavement Care Society, a Canadian charity that helps children, youth, and families cope with loss.

Sanborn, who raised $15,600 on his own, started the fundraiser in 2001 in honor of his friend Quentin Liedtke, a former college rower who passed away from a rare form of brain cancer in 2020. Between 2021 and 2023, he has helped raise $105,000 for Lumara.

Raising money for Lumara spoke to Eaton immediately, as the city of Port Alberni, with a population of around 18,000, faces a high opioid overdose death rate.

  •  “Some people in the gym have experienced loss [from overdose], so this really hit home for them, and to be able to support them is really big,” Eaton said, adding that he couldn’t be happier with how the fundraiser played out.
  • “It brought a lot of cohesion and support,” he said, and as a new gym that only opened in February 2023, it was also a chance for morning and evening people to meet for the first time and forge new friendships.

Rowing 100k: Heading into the row, Sanborn’s goal was to row at an average pace of 2:15/500 meters, which would have had him finish in seven and a half hours “if things went according to plan,” he said. “But alas they did not.”

  • “I was humming along at around a 2:11 pace until around five hours. Things got hard after that,” he said. His pace slowed to 2:20, “and around 76 km, I was in a pretty dark space.”
  • Throughout the row, he had been stopping briefly every 20 minutes to drink or eat (60 grams of carbohydrates an hour.) But after six hours, it was becoming challenging to go a full 20 minutes, as he was experiencing a lot of fatigue and pain in his bum, high hamstrings, and adductors, as well as wrists, elbows, and knees. “They all hurt,” he said.
  • Emotionally and mentally, it was an even bigger slog. “It’s [more than] seven and a half hours of sawing through your hamstrings, of looking at that monitor and seeing the meters slowly tick by,” he added. 

His final time was eight hours, five minutes, and 52.8 seconds, with an average pace of 2:25.7, racking up 5,615 calories in the process.

The big picture: As a CrossFit athlete and CrossFit owner, the gym can be a selfish place, where we chase fitness or even body composition goals day in and day out. But events like “100.3k for Q” go a long way in reminding us there’s more to life than a new back squat PR, Eaton explained.

  • “It’s good to show our community that Port Alberni is more than just a gym…We’re here to support local and national organizations, whether it be getting kids into sports or [raising money] for Lumara. It’s important for us to show a leader in the area to spearhead those types of things and be active in our community,” he said.

As for Sanborn, it might have been the hardest physical challenge he has ever done and one he isn’t sure he’ll attempt again. But the day was about something larger than rowing 100 kilometers, and that is what got him through it. 

“I had to remind myself that the fundraising is for Quentin’s wife and kids and others like them, but the kilometers were for Quentin,” he said.

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