Row for a Cure
Participants at last year’s Row for a Cure in front of lululemon on Bloomfield Avenue. COURTESY JOHN KEMPE

By DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI
tripoldi@montclairlocal.news

The Bloomfield Avenue sidewalk near the corner of Park Street will be blocked off Saturday, June 9, not for construction work this time but to raise money for ALS with the annual Row for a Cure event. Twenty-five teams of people on 25 rowing machines will tackle rowing a full 26.2 mile marathon.

John Kempe of English Guy Personal Training LLC started Row for a Cure four years ago. He founded the event in honor of friend Marcie Margotti’s father Bill Trembulak, who died from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. During his first year four years ago, he did the entire event solo.

Kempe no longer rows now that Row for a Cure has grown.

“It takes a lot more time and effort and a lot more people do it, so I just organize it,” he said.

The event has raised over $75,000 for ALS research. This year so far, they have raised almost $12,500 with 20 teams signed up. Last year the event raised close to $40,000. “There is usually a huge influx within the last week or two. Our goal is 25 teams this year, we had 23 last year,” he said.

Kempe said that many people run marathons and races but he wanted to do something different. “This is an event no one has done before. It gets a lot more people involved. A lot more challenging to get people to row the distance on a machine.”

Kempe anticipates about 190 people this year taking turns on the 25 rowing machines in front of lululemon, 520 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair. Row time starts at 9 a.m.; sign in by 8:30 a.m. A minimum donation per team is requested to reach the goal. Teams can be from two to seven people. The event is 26.2 miles or 42,195 meters on a rowing machine. Preregistration is required. According to Kempe, the event takes approximately four hours to complete ending around 1 p.m. “The event will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and lasts as long as it takes for everyone to finish. The fastest team last year completed it in two hours 40 minutes and the slowest was around three hours and 30 minutes,” he said.

Kempe chose the Montclair location because he is good friends with lululemon manager Brittany Whitford.

All proceeds go to ALS Therapy Development Institute to further their research. A rain date is set for Saturday June 23.To register visit alsrow.com. For more information on the event, email als_row@yahoo.com or call 201-213-1874. For more information on ALS TDI visit als.net.