Holy Cross rower Grace Rett’s family, former elementary school organize 62-hour rowing marathon in her honor

Organizers said all money raised from the event will go toward establishing an athletic complex in her name.

Mary Jo and Chris Rett, parents of Grace Rett, and daughter Brianne Rett (Grace's sister), look through an old yearbook at Our Lady of the Valley Regional School in Uxbridge, where a fundraising campaign is underway at her elementary school alma mater to fulfill one of her lifelong dreams to build the GRACE Center, named in Rett's memory, to house OLV physical education classes, basketball practice, skills clinics and competitions. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

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Teammates of Grace Rett, a Holy Cross rower who was killed in a traffic crash in Florida, are honoring her memory with a 62-hour and three-second rowing marathon that will raise funds for breaking ground on an athletic center her family has been building in her name. 

Rett died in a collision last January, a day after celebrating her 20th birthday, during a training trip with the College of the Holy Cross Women’s rowing team.

The marathon, which kicked off this weekend on indoor rowing machines, started at 8 a.m. Saturday and is set to last through Monday night, matching the exact timeframe of the world record Rett set for consecutive indoor rowing just a year ago. 


Organizers said all donations and money raised from the event will go toward establishing the Grace Rett Athletic Complex and Education Center at Rett’s former elementary school, Our Lady of the Valley, in 2021. 

“Grace was a wonderful student and a gifted athlete who relentlessly cared for others,” Rett’s family said in a statement for the event. “She often vocalized her dream for OLV to have their own gymnasium. The G.R.A.C.E. Center will fulfill one of Grace’s most aspirational goals, and while that means the world to our family, we are also inspired by the life changing impact it will provide generations of OLV students to come.” 


Given the coronavirus pandemic, the marathon has stayed virtual. Our Lady of the Valley Principal Ed Reynolds also added that because of community support, the school only needs $1 million more to make the center a reality. 

 “As we honor Grace’s amazing world record setting effort, we hope that ‘G.R.A.C.E. to the Finish’ provides an opportunity for people to embrace the holiday spirit and come together to push us over the finish line in support of this most deserving project,” Reynolds said. 

The vision for the 7,500 square foot center, event organizers detailed, includes a high school-sized basketball court, two indoor classrooms, green space for outdoor classes, bathrooms, a foyer, and a concession area among other features. 


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