A MUSSELBURGH couple have raised more than £1,000 to support care-experienced children after completing a marathon rowing challenge.

Kari-Ann Johnston and Ryan Pearson came up with the idea of a ‘Kiltrow’ after the Kiltwalk, which they had signed up for, changed to become a ‘virtual’ event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They planned to raise funds for Who Cares? Scotland, which offers independent advocacy and campaigns for change in policy and culture for care-experienced children, young people and adults.

Both members of the Eskmuthe Rowing Club, they took to their rowing machine to do a half marathon each – 21.1 kilometres – earlier this month.

Who Cares? Scotland is close to Kari-Ann’s heart as she is the organisation’s East Lothian Champions Board development office and advocacy worker.

She said: “During lockdown, any form of exercise was halted because of juggling full-time work with childcare and schooling. We had no time or energy to exercise during the pandemic.

“When I saw the ‘virtual’ Kiltwalk was happening this year, it was the motivation we needed to challenge ourselves and work towards getting active as well as raise money for the brilliant organisation.

“We decided we were going to try and row half a marathon each, in one go. The biggest challenge we envisaged was lack of fitness and mental boredom.

“Ryan took an one hour and 38 minutes and I took one hour and 42 minutes. It was tough as the most we have rowed is about six kilometres in one day. We powered through, though; we didn’t even stop for a toilet break.”

The couple, who have two children, initially set their target at £200 but were “overwhelmed” by the generosity of friends, family and members of Eskmuthe Rowing Club.

Kari-Ann said: “Not only have the members been donating and super supportive, they also held a mini auction at their ‘virtual’ AGM. They have also done a ‘virtual’ fundraiser pub quiz to raise some more money, with all ticket proceeds going to Who Cares? Scotland.”

She added that Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter had pledged to match 50 per cent of the funds raised.

Kari-Ann and Ryan, a mortgage advisor, joined the rowing club two years ago. She said: “We love it. The club is so welcoming and the members are just all-round amazing people.”