I caught the endurance bug after taking up cycling to fill the summer terms at Millfield. I’ve completed the worlds hardest one day cycling events; l’etape, la marmotte and the maratona, as well as multi-day events such as LEJOG. Without doubt my toughest challenge to date was my “Long Week in Japan”, A 1500km 5 day cycle, 2km swim and 49km run across Japan. Like the row, this was inspired by Stef, who died of motor neurone disease aged 27, the same disease that killed his mother when we were 16.
Stef was one of my oldest friends and teammates. The strength he faced his diagnosis with made me to believe anything is possible. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is by far my biggest challenge to date logistically, physically and psychologically. Partnering with the My Name’5 Doddie foundation to take on such a mammoth task is an opportunity to bring together my personal connection to MND and the rugby family whilst making a real difference to others lives.
My maiden voyage was taken in my teens, sporting a straw hat punting tourists down the river in Cambridge to earn enough money to satisfy my curly wurly addiction! While at school, I immersed myself in sport, particularly rugby. I loved the camaraderie that comes with team sports and was fascinated by teammates that pushed themselves beyond what they initially thought possible. My undergraduate studies took me to Durham where I explored the science behind human performance, before later qualifying as a Physiotherapist. I’m now a Clinic Director for Six Physio in the City, a role that allows me to help others work towards their goals - whether this be a sporting endeavour or simply to be pain free day to day.
Most of my sports training has been geared towards single day events - like the Etape du Tour cycling event or the Davos alpine marathon. I have done some multi-day efforts for mountaineering, the hardest was being the summit of Lyskamm ridge in Italy, which was part of a few days of touring. We ended up summiting in awful conditions, with some doubt as to whether we would make it down off the hill.
The row is a chance to raise money and awareness for Pursuing Independent Paths (PiP), where I am a trustee. PiP does hugely valuable work helping adults with learning disabilities learn skills to lead a more independent life, make new friends & enjoy a wide variety of activities. As for the rest of the team, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the biggest physical and mental challenge I have faced. I know that the great crew, the support from our partners and the faces of the PiP students and staff will provide great inspiration!
I was lucky enough to spend a lot of my childhood on the South Coast of England. Before I could walk I had been indoctrinated with the family love for being outdoors, particularly on the water and sailing has been a passion all my life. While off the water I am a keen climber and mountaineer and have recently completed my long held ambition of summiting the Matterhorn. Despite now being based in London with a demanding job in strategy consultancy, I still jump at any opportunity to get out to sea!
I know the route between the Canary Islands and the Carribean well, after winning a transatlantic yacht race in 2015. There were two key elements to the challenge: effective teamwork in confined quarters for an extended period and navigating the Atlantic conditions and weather patterns. This experience will be invaluable in helping the team make the fastest and safest passage possible. It goes without saying, I would love to replicate this success but in a crossing of three times the duration, in a boat half the size and powered by 3 fantastic guys (and me) instead of wind.
After rowing at university albeit confined to rivers, the idea of venturing onto the open sea and rowing across an ocean as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has always excited me. It is incredibly motivating to carry out this challenge in support of two charities, whose core values are to support others to realise their potential, just as our supporters will help us realise ours.