With just three days to go, British military veterans and best friends Peter Ketley and Neil Young are ready to embark on the greatest adventure of their lives, a World Record attempt to become the oldest pair to row across the Atlantic kick starting in the Canaries on Wednesday (12/12/18).
With a combined age of 123 years and no previous rowing experience, these two will be rowing in the ‘Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge’ which is a 3,000 mile row from the Canary Islands to Antigua, under their team name ‘Grandads of the Atlantic’.
These two have certainly put in the grueling training to make it to the start line of this race with a lot of strength and endurance work over the past year to cope with the weight of their half-ton ocean rowing boat. They have been thinking, training and eating like endurance athletes, instead of two comfortable Grandads who love nothing more than a nice glass of red and some gooey cheese.
Their training routine (courtesy of Southsea Rowing Club and Wye Leisure in Hereford) has involved three to four sessions a week where they spent hourly intervals on the erg, rowing steadily and slowly (18 strokes per minute max and wearing a heart monitor to stay under 145bpm). This was replaced by on the water sessions when their half-ton boat arrived in the spring.
Importantly, their shifts on the erg and the boat were followed by an equal amount of weight and strength training, despite being in their 60s they’ve been learning some new moves in preparation for this challenge! Conditioning has changed a lot since their Army days; these sessions included elements of yoga and pilates with resistance bands and kettlebells. It’s all been about small, focussed movements and lots of stretches that are designed to strengthen the ‘supporting’ muscles and help them both stay supple and hopefully injury-free.
Whatever happens, the Grandads have done everything in their power to get ready for weeks and weeks of relentless rowing. They estimate it could take up to 50 days to row across the Atlantic, although they are hoping the weather will be kind the them and give them a push along the way.
If it’s really bad the Grandads are planning to shut themselves into their tiny cabin and sit it out…. apparently it’s like being in a tumble dryer and crash helmets are recommended….gulp. Parachuting into battlefields might feel like a warm fuzzy memory after this!
The Grandads have been friends for over 40 years since they met in the Parachute Regiment as young men and they are taking on this challenge to raise money for three separate charities: Royal British Legion Industries, Dreams Come True and Support Our Paras. If you want to support these two epic British Grandads in their amazing challenge make a donation here. Challenge Chum will be supporting you both every stroke of the way, go smash that record you two!