GB Row 2013

Fundraising & Charities

Our supported charities for the Atlantic Rowing Race 2011 –

“We are the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.  We have saved millions of lives by discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.”

“BAPS Charities works with the vision that every individual deserves the right to a peaceful, dignified and healthy way of life. And by improving the quality of life of the individual, we are bettering families, communities, our world and our future.”

'Row to the Point of No Return'

In order to raise money to support our entry into the Atlantic Rowing Race 2011 and bolster the funds raised for our two charities, Cancer Research UK and BAPS Charities, we attempted an epic mission. We aimed to row on a rowing machine to the 'point of no return', half way into the Atlantic Ocean (1457 miles / 2345 km). This gruelling challenge was to be performed in the St James Centre, Edinburgh with the support of their team (for venue), Thistle Hotels (for sleeping) and John Lewis (for feeding).  The challenge was to last roughly 9 days or so rowing 24 hours a day in a 2 hours on/off shift pattern between JUST the two of us!

The King James Hotel by Thistle were incredibly accommodating in donating a room to us for use during our 'down time' 2 hours off periods, a luxury we wouldn't be afforded when out at sea!  Both the hotel and John Lewis between them also provided food for the duration of the event and it is the support of companies like these and the St James centre that make events like this not only possible to hold but (and i say this with a strange feeling inside), enjoyable!


A massive thank you has to be said to Caire Yetton and the St James Shopping Centre and Kieran Smith and Steven Jonstone from the King James Hotel by  The challenge was tough but nowhere near as tough as the race would be, thanks predominantly to the 'downtime bedroom'.  A soft bed and a cooked breakfast gave us both comfort and something to look forward to!

Further thanks must also be given to John Lewis and all the chefs who provided us with food for the entire duration of the event.  A great variety of food was offered to us and kept us fueled for each session!

Finally thanks to all the support and help given to us by friends and family (especially those who travelled some distance) in both donating and showing support in person.  The shifts were always going to be hard but with people there to talk to us (more so than we did to them), the time flew by.  A special mention goes out to Ru Clements for organising a lot of the bucket shaking attendees from the Edinburgh University women's rowing team and to everyone who helped keep Ant stocked with his 'special water'.



A bit of a note about the row itself:

I imagine for those of you interested in reading about the row you would perhaps appreciate something about how it went, what it was like and how we felt rather than just reading the thank you messages; so, here is a snippet of the row from my (Ant's may differ) perspective.

The initial 24 hours went ok, we settled into the centre and had the night shift on Friday to get used to the idea of it.  Ok so the splits (speed) rapidly decreased after the first couple of sessions but that was a short sharp taste of having to be more realistic.  Day two was where we both struggled with the concept of how long we were going to be rowing for and how tiring it was going to be.  I don't mind saying here that I wasn't confident at this stage that continuing the 2 hourly rotations was going to be possible, let alone making the distance within the time frame we had available.  Anyhoo, as I mentioned in the thank you's below, it was all the messages of support that really kept us going, and keep going we did.  The days ticked by and the only real recollection we had of the time of day was whether there were people in the centre or not.  It was tough on our bodies and this began to show about half way into the row, my knee and Ant's wrist in particular began to shift (or at least share) the focus of pain from the posterior!  One of the first and definitely most popular questions has indeed been, 'and how is your bum?'.  Well, incredibly, thanks to BodyGlide (one of our sponsors) and their anti-chafe balm, absolutely fine – fine that is to say except for the inability to sit down due to sore pressure points, but absolutely no problems with sores!  It was around this time too, Ant also began playing with pace calculations and the goal was not only back on, but well within reach.  A couple of hard-er sessions each a day and we began to pull the finish line towards us.  With the passing of each 12 hour period Ant would check (and as tiredness took its toll, recheck) the pace.  The finish was shifted from 5pm Monday to midday, from midday to 9:30am, and, with the sight of a lengthy and relaxed breakfast on the horizon was then further reeled in to an 8am finish!