In December 2019, four childhood friends from South Devon will embark on the challenge of a lifetime.
Tom, Lewis, Chris and Charlie make up team All Oar Nothing and will attempt to row 3,000 miles unassisted across the Atlantic as they compete to win the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – the world’s toughest rowing race – in support of four incredible charities.
We spoke with the boys about their challenge to find out more.
What made you decide to embark upon this challenge?
All Oar Nothing are working around the clock to raise money for:
Kidney Cancer UK – Tom’s Dad, Adrian, has beaten kidney cancer only to see it return again and the battle is ongoing. There is no better man to row in aid of. Kidney Cancer UK seeks to increase awareness and knowledge around kidney cancer.
OneSight – Lewis has a prescription of -9.00 and struggles to see anything without corrective lenses. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. 2.5 billion people in the world need vision correction but over 1 billion don't have access. OneSight aims to help those people with quality vision care.
Right to Play – Play gives give children the opportunity to learn about themselves and their surroundings. Chris was lucky enough to have that opportunity, but millions of children do not. Right To Play use the power of play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict and disease around the world.
EHE Race Cancer Charity UK – In 2015, Charlie’s brother Harry was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called EHE. After 2 major bowel and liver operations he has regular 6 months scans checking for recurrence as currently there is no cure. EHERCC supports patients around the world whilst promoting and funding research into EHE.
How are you training for this challenge?
All Oar Nothing has a specialist ocean rowing coach, Gus Barton. The training is divided into 8-week blocks that focus on mobility, strength and power. Each block is then broken down into 5 or 6 sessions per week with a combination of weights and indoor rowing. On top of this Tom, Lewis, Chris and Charlie have a daily stretching routine, take yoga/Pilates classes and, most importantly, are out on the water every week improving their rowing!
What do you eat to fuel for this type of endurance event?
The crew will burn over 1.5 million calories during the crossing – equivalent to 40,000 per day or 10,000 per person per day. With no outside assistance permitted, seawater from the ocean will be processed through a solar powered desalination unit (water maker) producing approx. 6 gallons of water per day for cooking and hydration. The diet will consist of mainly freeze-dried rations; the crew will be testing various nutrition and hydration strategies during 24, 40 and 50-hour practice rows in May 2019.
What has been the toughest thing you've had to overcome so far in your journey?
With Tom and Charlie based in London, Chris in Singapore and Lewis in Sydney, All Oar Nothing has to coordinate its campaign through three different time zones so the level of admin is like a second job. However, injuries have been the team’s biggest obstacle to date – both Tom and Lewis have suffered severely with back injuries, which left them side-lined for weeks at a time.
What has been the highlight of your journey so far?
In April 2018, All Oar Nothing completed a 24-hour indoor row in London and Singapore – rowing non-stop, together the crew rowed over 880,000 metres.
What are you most looking forward to for the actual challenge?
Rowing across the world’s second largest ocean will push the crew to their physical and mental limits; there’s a reason that more people have climbed Everest than have successfully navigated the 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera, off the coast of Africa, to English Harbour, Antigua.
The World Record set in 2017/2018 race is 29 days and the longest time to cross is 120 days. As the name suggests, the crew is aiming high and want to get across the Atlantic in the shortest time possible, ultimately aiming to win the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. In order to do this, it is going to require immense sacrifice and sticking to an agreed process no matter the pain to achieve our goal. The crew agreed their goals and understand what it’s going to take to realise them.
What are you most nervous about for the challenge?
There is a real risk of capsizing in the middle of the Atlantic – in the 2017/18 race 26 of 28 boats capsized. The risk is even greater at night when “freak waves”, which can exceed 40ft, are less easy to spot. In addition, the underside of the boat must be regularly cleaned to avoid barnacles developing – this means that all of the crew will have to take turns diving off into shark-infested waters.
What advice would you give to other people thinking of taking on a similar challenge?
Start early: the challenge is far more than just the row, it is a two-year mission of meticulous preparation.
Speak to past participants: the crew is working closely with Dutch Atlantic Four who won the 2018/2019 race and Row Row Row Our Boat, whose boat – Emma – we will be rowing in this year’s challenge. Both teams have been incredibly open and honest about the challenges that lie ahead!
How can people support you?
Without the support of sponsors, All Oar Nothing will not be able to make this unique global challenge a reality. Sponsorship will allow the crew to cover the costs necessary to get to the start line, including the race entry fees, the boat and specialist navigation equipment, which in total amounts to almost £100,000.
Sponsor at: www.alloarnothing.co.uk/sponsor
Get in touch with All Oar Nothing in the following ways:
London Fundraising Event - 30 May 2019 at the Honourable Artillery Company in London. The event will include guest speakers and an auction. Buy tickets at: Event Tickets
Here at Sundried we are passionate about two things: ethics and fitness. Which is why we've decided to create the Sundried Ethical Blogger Award and the Sundried Health Blogger Award.
Sundried Ethical Blogger Award 2019
The global plastic pollution crisis is now gaining media attention all over the world and is a hot topic of discussion. There are numerous ethical bloggers out there spreading the message of sustainability and responsibility which is something we believe deserves recognition.
The winner of the Sundried Ethical Blogger Award will be someone who tirelessly and consistently promotes a message to a wide audience about the importance of things such as recycling, using less plastic in your daily life, producing as little waste as possible, and caring for the environment.
How It Works
The Sundried Blogger Awards are now CLOSED for 2019.
Thank you to everyone who voted!
Make sure you come back next year to nominate your favourite bloggers.
Sundried Health Blogger Award 2019
Health, fitness, and wellness are all aspects of life that everyone should pay careful attention to. Shocking statistics show that adult obesity in England has risen from 15% in 1993 to 26% in 2016 and an incredible 3.2 million people in the UK have diabetes, a lifestyle disease that can be reversed through living a healthier lifestyle.
The winner of the Sundried Health Blogger Award will be someone who works to promote living a healthier lifestyle through mindful eating, a healthy exercise routine, and educating people about how they can live a healthy and well life. This includes mental health awareness advocates.
How It Works
The Sundried Blogger Awards are now CLOSED for 2019.
Thank you to everyone who voted!
Make sure you come back next year to nominate your favourite bloggers.
Photo courtesy of Mark Grubb
Veteran runner Gene Dykes from Pennsylvania, USA has set a new world record in the 70-74 age group for the marathon, a record that has stood since 2004 and was thought to be unbreakable.
Dykes ran the 26.2 miles in a time of 2:54:23 with an average pace of 6:39 per mile, breaking the previous record of 2:54:48 which was set by Canadian runner Ed Whitlock.
He spoke to Runner's World immediately after he finished the race in Jacksonville, Florida. “My first thought was that this really frees up my schedule for next year,” he said. He can now sign up for the races he enjoys which are ultra-marathons and hard marathons on courses that aren’t record-eligible, instead of trying to beat the world record.
One of Dykes' 'super powers' is that he can recover incredibly quickly from races, meaning he can take part in several tough challenges in quick succession. Just two months ago in October he ran the Toronto Marathon in a searing time of 2:55:17. Then, just two weeks ago, he ran the Vista Verde Skyline 50k (31-mile) ultra marathon and then the California International Marathon the very next day.
“I’ve often said that my ability to recover is my super power,” he told Runner's World. He also said that he’s been tested twice for banned substances; once in competition after a masters track meet and once, about 18 months ago, testers showed up unannounced to his home.
In the first half of his record-breaking marathon, Dykes said he felt strong and was already ahead of the world record pace. However, towards the final stretch of the race, he started suffering cramps in his calf muscles. But knowing he had the world record in his grasp, he crossed the line with a smile on his face. It wasn’t because he ran faster than anyone else his age in history, but because he had set a goal and worked at it. The satisfaction, he said, was being “able to do what I set out to do.”
Lee Patmore is a Sundried ambassador who suffers from life-limiting illnesses. Along with his band of brothers, he took on the impressive challenge of travelling from Land's End to John O'Groats on a hand-cycle. Lee talks us through his incredible experience, which was in aid of Help For Heroes.
About The Challenge
In May 2017 I started on a journey that would take me from the northernmost point of the UK to the southernmost point. The legendary John O’Groats to Lands End adventure, but not the normal route that is around 874 miles, this journey has a major twist. I’m a military veteran and also a Help for Heroes beneficiary, and belong to the group within Help for Heroes know as Band of Brothers. Along with two other Band of Brothers and a support crew, we took on a journey that would see us cover 1,300 miles, along with close to 60,000ft of climbing. On our route we visited the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres and a number of active military bases. We started on the 1st of May and finished on the 29th of May. For me, it was all about arm power and the mental battle to push myself beyond limits I’ve never been to, and the daily battle just to get out of bed and get in my hand-cycle.
We started our journey in John O’Groats, which was very cold, very windy, and just miserable weather. Approximately two and a half months before we started, during what should have been the peak of my training period, I had a major flare-up with my Fibromyalgia. This ended up leaving me bed-ridden for two weeks. When I say bed-ridden, I got out of bed once per day to go to the loo, and the rest of the time I was in extreme agony with tiredness and just couldn’t function. The flare-up came without warning and basically ended my training prematurely along with removing the ability to tap into the full level of fitness I had achieved. At this stage, just before we set off, I could just about manage 2 miles in one go on a flat route. Nothing like the 40 to 60 miles per day needed, especially when you start in Scotland and know the terrain is anything but flat.
The first three days were hell.
The hills were relentless and seemed never ending. There were some great downhills that saw me coast at speeds of up to 40mph, but these were short lived and nowhere near enough time for a recovery to tackle the next hill. It was clear that I needed some help getting up the hills. The guys with me would get off their road bike and take the weight enough to allow my arms to continue to power myself uphill.
At this stage I had a theory. As long as my arms could physically move and power the cranks to get me up the hill, I was still working. If my arms failed (and they did) I would get off my hand-cycle and with a locked out left leg, I would drag my Handcycle and weak leg up the hill as far as possible. If my legs failed and I couldn’t get myself and my hand-cycle up the hill by my own doing, I would call it for that day and we would then need to decide if we stayed within the time frames and planned stops or if we would move the stop and then try to make up the time later on. Thankfully, it never came to that, as we made all the planned stops and even managed to get in a double-leg to give us an extra day's rest towards the end.
The real turning point was day five. Out of nowhere, my fitness came in again, and as much as I still needed the short recovery stops, I was not given help from this point on.
Day one was the farthest I’d ever cycled in one day, and day three was the first time I’d cycled more than two days in a row.
The never-ending hills
Before we got to Colchester, we had some of the worst sets of hills on the way to Catterick. We are talking a couple of miles with gradients staying between 10% and 15%. With many short recovery stops I took on each hill and made it to the top. My speed was very slow, cadence was also very low, but I powered up each hill and sections of each hill under my own power and was determined to not be beat.
The scenery was epic.
A memory to hold forever along with the achievement of the journey. I have photos that spark a memory, but I was in such a tired state each day that it was only about completing that day’s route. I wasn’t interested in where I was or what I’d just ridden up, it was about how far we still have to complete that day’s route.
For me, it was about each day was its own day, and a unique challenge in itself, with good friends and excellent support.
Ride to Recovery across the whole of Great Britain.
A trio of ex-servicemen is in training for an epic 1,400-mile bike ride through Britain to raise thousands of pounds for their wounded comrades. Former Royal Engineer Steve Craddock, Naval veteran Lee Patmore, and retired Royal Marine Brian Kilgannon will cycle from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall in a bid to raise money for Help for Heroes. But when their feat begins in May, the former warriors will not be content with the challenge that has tested the mettle of cyclists for decades. Instead of taking the usual 960-mile route through the western spine of Great Britain, Steve, Brian, and Lee have set themselves the added challenge of visiting seven military bases along the way. These diversions will add almost 500 miles to the route and will mean cycling up hills, totalling a whopping 63,000ft – the equivalent of more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
This is a tough ask of anyone, let alone for Steve and Brian who both suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from their time in services and will be fighting their own mental demons along with the physical toll the route will take. However, Steve and Brian will get inspiration from Lee who suffers from Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes heightened pain and extreme tiredness.
Lee, from Essex, is now mainly confined to a wheelchair and will take on this mammoth journey on a custom-made cycle he will power by his arms. He works as a disability fitness instructor at Brentwood Leisure Centre and qualified as a personal trainer after completing several courses with Help For Heroes.
Retired Sergeant Steve, from Chatham in Kent, said: “I hope you can begin to appreciate the sheer effort, guts, and determination that will be needed for Lee to complete this challenge. Lee will be in pain and discomfort the whole time. He will not know from one day to the next how his body is going to cope. However, Lee has his Band of Brothers with him, and we will be doing whatever is needed to get him to complete this truly amazing challenge."
Former Colour Sergeant Brian is no stranger to endurance cycling. He has already cycled from the most northerly part of mainland Britain to its most south westerly point via (as he puts it) ‘the easy route’. In 2006 he set a world cycling endurance record on an indoor turbo trainer, clocking up a staggering 1,017 miles in 60 hours.
Brian said: “I have volunteered to assist Lee and Steve in this epic ride, having cycled for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for the last twelve years. Since leaving the Marines I found that I had personal problems both mentally and physically, therefore the thought of doing this challenge with Lee will also give me fulfilment. Having already cycled from Land's End to John O’Groats and holding a world record for distance riding I am fully aware the problems we are all going to face.”
The planned route is as follows:
- John O’Groats.
- Livingstone (Gore Bike Wear).
- Catterick, North Yorkshire (Phoenix House).
- Colchester, Essex (Chavase House).
- Brentwood, Essex.
- Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent.
- Tidworth, Hampshire (Tedworth House).
- Plymouth, Devon (Hasler Company).
- Land’s End.
The Band of Brothers are hoping to complete the challenge within 30 days and are aiming to cover between 60 or 70 miles per day, with three rest days if required.