By Leonie James
Posted: 23 April 2014
Who knew that the Rotary Club of York has run a Dragon Boat Challenge for the past 12 years? Thirty-six teams battle it out on the Ouse (between Scarborough Railway Bridge and Lendal Bridge) for the Challenge Trophy and other prestigious awards. These awards include:
- Fastest Charity Team
- Fastest Armed Services Team
- Best Dressed Team
The York Dragon Boat Challenge has been held annually since 2003 and has raised over GBP720,000 for many worthwhile charities. Stalls, and a variety of other activities, are held alongside the River to create a Gala Day atmosphere to compliment the Dragon Boat Racing. Race participants, their families,friends and other supporters number in the thousands.
Legend has it that the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient patriot-poet Qu Yuan who lived in China from 340-278 B.C.
Qu Yuan was a minister who advocated reforms in his home state of Chu. He was banished from the state of Chu after criticizing the government and the emperor and in exile Qu Yuan wrote poetry expressing his concern for his country and people. In 278, he wandered along the banks of the Mi Lo River and was never seen again.
To commemorate the day when people rushed out to the river to find and rescue Qu Yuan, people living in South China made it an annual event to race boats. Since then, the Chinese tradition of dragon boat racing has come to represent the noble spirit of Qu Yuan, who is remembered for his self-sacrifice, his steadfast morality, the power of his writing, and his concern for his countrymen.
Today, Dragon Boating is one of the fastest growing athletic events in the world. As such, this water sport has become popular with charities and companies. The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge provides the opportunity for anyone to take part in this thrilling sport. Dragon Boat Racing is an exciting way of motivating and integrating people. It quickly gets everyone working together in a fun, competitive environment. It is a superb platform for team building, whilst helping the community by raising funds for local charities.
What an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of local charities which make such a valuable contribution to their community!