2017 started well with my first goal of running up Snowden on New Years day complete.  I thought the year was all mapped out with my 32 week training programme to get to the start line of the Gore-tex Transalpine run on 2nd September 2017.  Little did I know that a few days later whilst planning for my snowboarding trip to St.Anton, Niall who I have never met before was drafting a life changing facebook post.  This was posted onto the Clipper Race Yacht Club group and I had not seen it until two friends Tatty & Lucy decided to nominate me as a candidate.

After reviewing the post I sent a message to Niall expressing interest in finding out more information about the existing team and what the challenge involved.  At this time I had never rowed in my life but had considered doing the Talisker challenge at some point in the future.  So whilst in St.Anton over a skype call I found out the team was a Dutchman, a Frenchman and an Irishman, all that was missing was a crazy Englishman to complete the start of a classic joke.

So when I returned from my trip I mentioned the idea to friends, family & work colleagues who were initially shocked and concerned that I was even considering taking on a monumental challenge like this, let alone that I had decided to go ahead.  The feedback varied from:-

"Such an incredible adventure! A demonstration of huge courage and foolishness in equal measures!!! We'll be gunning for you!"

"Fantastic!!! You know you are mad..."

"Wow! Amazing... i'm speechless..."

"you never fail to surprise, have fun'

To things like

"Bonkers", "You are nuts man" "You are a psychopath"

I very quickly started to review my training and make arrangements with my business partners on how I could make this challenge a reality within the next 6 weeks (well 5 because i thought to was still sensible to go on another snowboarding trip before starting the row).  The support from everyone was incredible and it motivated me to believe this challenge was achievable even with the short amount of time to prepare.  I booked my flight to Faro for Saturday 25th February 2017 and in a nutshell that is how I ended up becoming an ocean rower.

So I will leave you with one of my favourite Austin Powers scenes that sums up how crazy this may seem.

Vanessa Kensington: Always wanting to have fun, Austin. That’s you in a nutshell!

Austin Powers: No, this is me in a nutshell.

Austin Powers: Help! I’m in a nutshell! How did I get into this nutshell? Look at the size of this bloody great big nutshell! What sort of shell has a nut like this? This is crazy!