Sunday, December 8th, 2019

200-mile epic row race for cancer charity

Published on September 16, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

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New Ocean Wave

We’ve written about ‘NOMAN is an Island: Race to END HPV’ before as they have tackled a variety of challenges to raise money and awareness for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.

Last year a quartet of fit young men tackled the Great Pacific Race and rowed for 3,100km from California to Hawaii. The journey took them a whopping 50 days – 20 days longer than anticipated due to bad weather and unfavourable winds.  This didn’t stop them entering the record books as the youngest crew ever to cover the distance.

Every two years NOMAN organises a two-boat race from Barcelona to Ibiza and then a return race with new crew.  We wrote about the 2013 race here.  It’s a slightly shorter race than the Great Pacific, but is nevertheless an amazing achievement to complete the 200-mile journey.

The Race takes place between two identical 24ft ocean rowing boats designed by Justin Adkin, named ‘Danielle’ and ‘Isabel’.  Team Danielle is named after previous rower Pierre Andurand’s mother, Danielle Andurand, who is currently undergoing treatment for recurrent HPV (Human Papillomavirus)-related anal cancer.  Pierre completed the Ibiza to Barcelona row in 2013.  Team Isabel is named after NOMAN founder Tristan’s mother, Paulette Isabel Crowther, who passed away from Stage IV HPV-related anal cancer in 2010.

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New Ocean Wave

Barcelona to Ibiza 2015 was a transatlantic battle of the brokers when one team of four and one team of five from the financial industry powered out of Barcelona on 11 July.  The four US competitors were rowing in Danielle – Stephen Burton, David Hemming, Oivind Lorentzen and Jason Lupatkin – while Team Isabel was made up of brokers from this side of the pond with the Irish and English pulling together.  The team consisted of Ellis Kitchener, Tim Glynn, Conor Murphy, Nick Bowles and Jonah Van Bourg.

Following 72 hours at sea, Teams Danielle and Isabel landed in Ibiza at the culmination of a thrilling race.  US Team Danielle triumphed by an astonishingly narrow margin of just 80 minutes after three tough days of rowing.  Tim Glynn, on the losing side, said “At times, we faced bleak moments when we felt exhausted, hungry, and slightly seasick, but we banded together as a team and pushed on.”

The return race from Ibiza to Barcelona departed the Island on 16 July.  This time the teams consisted of just three NOMEN in each boat making the race even tougher.  Team Danielle consisted of comedian Justin Coleman, 49, who was rowing as his 50th birthday present to himself; Alistair Flowers, 26, from London, a Senior Project Worker in Mental Health; and Stephanie Jones, 27, who has recently completed a PhD in clinical medicine with a focus on cancer research.  The three men making up Team Isabel were Adi Misra-Godwin, 28 a trader from London; 18 year old Eoin Hartwright who has just finished his A-Levels and last minute stand-in Will Heward, a 35 year old boat builder from Dorset who was originally in the support team.  Will said, “It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life.  I can sum it up as one of the greatest experiences but also as one of the worst at the same time.”

With temperatures reaching 41 degrees and only three men in a boat (sorry, Stephanie) it was very tough with a gruelling hour on / hour off schedule for the entire 80 hour race.  After a journey like that it’s hard to say there is a winner and a loser but Team Isabel arrived in Barcelona first… which is hardly surprising considering one of their team, 18 year old Eoin, holds the record for the youngest rower to cross the Atlantic.

Stephanie Jones, who calls herself “the first WOMAN-NOMAN” said of her row, “It was just the most incredible experience.  There is nothing quite like it, it’s very different from anything I’ve ever done.  One hour you’re beyond exhausted, pushing through and trying to get to a good rhythm and speed and then the next hour is pure elation when dolphins flip and pirouette beside you – it is a spectacular experience.”

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Stephanie Jones

The teams may have come from all walks of life but they all had a single goal in mind, to raise money for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.  HPV is a highly contagious virus that lives on the skin; it is estimated that 80% of the population will be infected at some point.  The problem is that HPV can cause cancer.  Because it has been most closely associated with cervical cancer, it has led many to the misconception that HPV is a women-only issue, but the virus causes cancers in men as well.  These cancers, in both men and women, can be entirely eliminated through vaccinating.

www.nomancampaign.org

To donate money to this year’s Mediterranean rowers: http://nomancampaign.org/barcelona-ibiza/donate/

Sign the petition: www.change.org/petitions/jeremy-hunt-uk-health-secretary-introduce-hpv-vaccination-for-boys-to-stop-many-preventable-cancers-3

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