The MOV’n Dragons, which are based in Marietta and train on the Muskingum River, begin their 2022 season with tentative races scheduled in Buffalo (June), Akron (July), Richmond, Virginia (August) and Cleveland (September). ). (Photo provided)

MARIETTA — Excitement is building as MOV’n Dragons prepare for their 16th season.

The MOV’n Dragons, which is based in Marietta and trains on the Muskingum River, is a group of cancer survivors or “thrivers” as they prefer to be called and supporters who come together from late spring until mid-autumn for fun, fitness and friendship.

Participants are not required to be a cancer survivor and paddling experience is not necessary.

Those who do not know the dragon boat, it was born in China more than 2000 years ago. Dragon Bating was part of a celebration of the revered dragon that people believed would assure them of bountiful harvests and good health.

Dragon boating is now prescribed as a physical regimen for women with breast cancer to overcome the side effects of surgery and to provide emotional support and friendship.

The founder of MOV’n Dragons was Gretchen Feldmaier, who knew that one day her breast cancer would return, so she recruited a core group of friends in late 2005 and asked them to fulfill her vision.

According to Judy Baker, “And boy have we (achieved the vision) already. When I’m in the boat or watching a practice, I look up to the sky and say, “Thank you Gretchen” for me and so many others.

The MOV’n Dragons team now has two boats. Both are 40 feet long and can accommodate 20 paddlers in 10 seats. The coach sits forward facing aft with a helmsman at the rear to keep paddlers on track.

Paddler strength is not as important as timing. According to Baker, “When we’re all paddling at the same pace, we’re practically flying through the water!”

The MOV’n Dragons train twice a week – sometimes just for fun and other times to prepare for festivals, which include dragon boat races.

Earlier this month, 11 members joined members of the Kentucky Thorough Breasts and Prairie Dragon Paddlers to form a 20-person team at Space Coast Dragon Camp in Indian Harbor, Fla. on the Indian River for a week of training with international coaches from the United States and Canada.

According to one coach: “One of the toughest teams I’ve seen in camp. A laser-like focus and a commitment to being better for their teammates there. Incredible 2 km race for these 20 tough women. »

The goals of MOV’n Dragons are simple: fun, fitness and friendship. Anyone interested in participating can visit their website at “” for more information. Interested persons can also call, text or email President Judy Sites at (740) 504-8365 or [email protected]

To quote one of the original members: “I’ve never been part of a team before, but this team is amazing! Along with helping me stay in shape, the support and friendship I’ve gained over the past 16 years is immeasurable. But then, that’s what we all are.

The MOV’n Dragons have tentatively set four dates for the festival races: Buffalo in June, Akron in July, Richmond, Virginia in August and Cleveland in September.

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