A Rowing Concept Gym Gets Real at the Head of the Charles Regatta
(Bloomberg) -- Row House is pulling into Boston for the Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) over the weekend of Oct. 21-22, using a series of appearances to promote the expansion of the indoor rowing gym.
The competition will feature a team comprised of Row House coaches—plus former Olympic rower Grace Luczak, a gym member, who will compete in the Director’s Challenge Mixed Eight race against Cambridge Boat Club, Ottawa Rowing Club and Sag Harbor Community Rowing, among others. “It wasn’t difficult to put together the eight individuals to row together in the competition,” says Row House President Ramon Castillon. “Hopefully we put on a good showing.” There will also be two experiential and informational booths on the sidelines to introduce potential members to the ideas behind the boutique gym, wherein attendees row solo and in-synch in studios outfitted with Concept 2 rowing machines.
The HOCR appearance by Row House arrives in the wake of news that the gym will soon be a permanent Boston fixture thanks to a franchised studio slated to open in spring 2019 in the North Station area, with two further locations in Back Bay and the Financial District scheduled for later next year.
Beyond Boston, Row House recently announced franchise agreements in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco and upstate New York. Founded in 2014 in New York City, the Irvine, Calif.-headquartered company is backed by Xponential Fitness and anticipates 100 studios to open each year through 2022.
The world’s largest two-day rowing regatta, the HOCR each year attracts about 11,000 athletes who compete in about 60 events on the penultimate weekend of October. First organized by members of the Cambridge Boat Club in 1965, more than 800 schools, universities, and organizations will send teams to take part in the 2018 regatta. Of those athletes competing, 87 percent will come from outside Greater Boston.
The Charles River course is three miles (4,800 meters) long and winds under six bridges. The event draws approximately 225,000 people to the greater Boston area and contributes an estimated $72 million to the local economy, according to the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Row House was born from the idea that rowing is the most-efficient, low-impact, high-energy, full-body workout for any fitness level, according to the company.
Can’t make it to the Head of the Charles this year? Cambridge, Mass.-based Hydrow by Crew is also sculling into the market with plans to bring rowing’s group-activity benefits into the home via a Peloton-like subscription service. Currently raising money through Indiegogo, Hydrow is making its rowing machine available to early investors through the crowdsourcing campaign. It features an immersive Wi-Fi-connected 22-inch 1080p touchscreen that provides users with live-training sessions straight from the Charles River as well as prerecorded workouts and team rows.
Weighing in at about 130 pounds, the Hydrow is available for a pledge of $1,299 ahead of the proposed retail price of $2,655 (which includes 12 months online subscription at $38 per month), with units expected to begin shipping in the U.S. next May.
Participating in this year’s HOCR makes total sense for Row House, Castillon says. “We of course always felt connected to the sport of rowing, and the workout we offer our members connects with the disciplines that people who row fall in love with, such as bringing people of different abilities together and rowing in sync. The timing was right for us to come out and spend some time with the rowing community of Boston.”
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