Sunday 26th April 2015
It’s Sunday and the 2015 London Marathon is being shown on the BBC. I’ve spent the day relaxing at a friend’s house, reclined, eating sugary treats and watching people achieve remarkable things on TV.
As always, the coverage overwhelms me with emotion and like every year, I think how much I’d like to do something incredible for charity, set a new goal and work towards the next level of fitness.
Cue the ringing of my phone. It’s my mate Ben, one of the Race Directors of the 24-hour event I did.
Why was he calling me? And especially on a Sunday?
Ben and I had built up a pretty good relationship during the 2
Cutting straight to the point, he asked me what I was doing for Christmas 2016.
Every Christmas, I try to go on holiday for a month and explore the world. It means I get to escape the cold UK climate and the commercialism of Christmas, plus it gives me time to rejuvenate.
I felt excited about his question. Perhaps his answer would fit the criteria of why I go away in December; a tropical country, an endurance race or perhaps even both!
He asked me straight out…….
“Would you like to row across the Atlantic with me and Karl?”
Karl is Ben’s business partner, another Race Director of the endurance events I take part in.
The Atlantic!? I wasn’t even sure I knew where the Atlantic was.
Ben explained that the challenge was called The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They were going to row 3,000 miles from Spain to Antigua which could potentially take up to 90 days. The row would be completely self-sufficient and they could encounter 50-foot waves and
My first thought was I was completely and utterly flattered. Ben and Karl are tough guys. They endure crazy, ridiculous tasks in order to push their mental and physical selves to the limit.
Why were they asking me?
They explained they had each written a list of people they thought would be good for their team. They combined the lists and those who were on both lists were then put on a ‘final’ list. I was on that list! They told me there were only 5 people on it.
My mind was whirling, going crazy, thinking sharks, sunburn, finances, blisters, possible death……
The call didn’t last long and I told them I would call them back in a few days with my answer. 30 minutes later, I called Ben back and said I’d like to join their team.
I figured, if someone thinks I’m strong enough to row across the Atlantic then I should probably consider saying yes. Opportunities like this do not happen often and after all, it could change my life.
Rephrase: it WILL change my life.
I have zero rowing experience, absolutely none! In fact, the longest I’ve been on the ocean is working for a 5* Disney cruise liner! I also took a ferry to Denmark when I was a child. Does that count?
My usual routine on the rowing machine is 3 minutes to warm up at the gym.
I rowed a marathon on a rowing machine once before for charity and the experience was horrendous. In fact, Karl the Race Director joined me for the challenge saying “it was the worst experience of my life!” The challenge took me about 6 hours and we both vowed never to do it again.
Oh well, there’s nothing like being thrown in the deep end. Quite literally, Atlantic deep!