Gracey Monteith will be following in her great-grandfather's footsteps as she rows 53 kilometres in Turkey next year.
The 23-year-old Piha surf club member will travel to Gallipoli in April for the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings.
She goes as part of the Muriwai Muzzies who will compete in the under-23 women's division of the Gallipoli 100 Surf Boat Race on April 23 and 24.
The crew is one of four New Zealand teams taking part and consists of Billie Haresnape, Emma Wilson, Andrea Gerrard and Ashley Timoko with coach Chris Deacon all from Muriwai Surf Club; Sarah Eivers from both Bethells Beach and Muriwai Surf Club; and Monteith from Piha Surf Club.
Monteith's great-grandfather was an Anzac soldier fighting for his country.
"To be able to be a part of what my great-grandfather experienced will be an amazing thing," she says.
"We've got to simulate what the soldiers went through."
There's a healthy rivalry between Muriwai and Piha but Monteith says being given the opportunity to join the Muriwai team is something she won't forget.
"There will definitely be mixed emotions.
"As much as it's a race, it will be close to home and I'm sure it will be an emotional one."
The 53km race around the Gallipoli Peninsula will feature several challenges including picking a soldier up in the boat on the last 10km leg of the race and rowing him to Anzac Cove.
So to prepare, intense training schedules are being organised including rowing 25km of Lake Taupo and the 28km Waikato River Race.
"They'll be good tests for the conditions we'll have to face in Turkey," Monteith says.
After the race, the team will be donating its boat and oars to one of the Turkish lifesaving clubs.
But for now the challenge will be to raise at least $60,000 to attend the event.
The team will be holding raffles, offering cleaning and catering services and is calling on the community for help with fundraising.
Visit muriwaimuzzies.co.nz for more information or if you wish to support the team.
- Western Leader
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