Sunday 26th April 2015
It’s Sunday and the London Marathon 2015 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, raising money for charity.
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 Primal Events, the original ‘death race’ style endurance event in the UK.
Why was he calling me? And especially on a Sunday?
Ben and I had built up a pretty good relationship during the 2 Primal Events I had taken part in, but we certainly wasn’t at the stage where he would call me up for a ‘chat’.
Cutting straight to the point, he asked me what I was doing during 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 Primal Events).
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 across the Atlantic which could potentially take up to 90 days. The row would be completely self sufficient and they could encounter 50 foot waves and was looking for 2 more people to join their team – I was on their list!
My first thought was I was completely and utterly flattered. I consider Ben and Karl some of the toughest guys on this planet. 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 that featured 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 ring them back in a few days with my answer. Half an hour later, I called Ben back and said I would 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 feel it necessary to tell you, I have zero rowing experience, absolutely none! In fact the longest I’ve been on the water is working for a 5* Disney cruise liner!
My usual routine on the rowing machine is 3 minutes to warm up at the gym. I have rowed a marathon on a rowing machine once for charity and the experience was horrendous. In fact, Karl joined me for the challenge stating “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!