Pacific row

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Picture: From left, Emma Rogers, Jess Shuman, Kat Butler, Anna Campbell

Girls dreaming big: Crew preparing for 4,000km row across Pacific aim to inspire others

Kat is one of four ordinary girls bidding to do something extraordinary to try to encourage girls to dream dare do.

She and three others, Emma, Jess and Anna, are part of the Girls Who Dare crew who will be rowing in the Great Pacific Race in May 2020.
Described as the “world’s toughest endurance challenge”, the girls will row 24 hours a day, living on a 24ft boat as they row the 4,000km across the Pacific from California to Hawaii, with the aim of breaking the world record which stands at 50 days.

Kat who rows at Wallingford Rowing Club, has been rowing for about six years having taken it up after being inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.

She works as a trauma and orthopaedic registrar and admits it has been hard fitting in the training around 14 hour days/nights but says it has been going well, but added: “Jess has just had an appendectomy (better now than half way across the Pacific!) so her training is a little stilted at the moment but she’s getting back into it.”

The four girls had not met until Emma put the idea of the challenge out on Facebook, where Kat admits she “jumped at the chance”.
She said: “For me it’s the mental and physical challenge, and such an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity. We then further advertised on social media and found Jess and Anna.”

The girls will sleep in cabins at either end of the boat with rowing space in the middle. The cabins are the size of a single bed, although there is no bed or mattress, the floors are padded and sleeping bags will keep the girls warm during their rest periods.

They’ll spend two hours rowing and two hours sleeping; food will be mostly freeze-dried meals and energy bars; a change into less wet clothing; quick wash with a baby wipe and into the sleeping bag.
Kat admits the physical side does not particularly worry her but that the mental challenge will be tough.

She says: “I have no idea how I will respond to the fear of a 40ft wave and being so sleep deprived all I want to do is cry, having sores on my hands and bottom that cause unresolving pain and to top it off the potential for being hit in the head by flying fish! Who knows how you will respond to that?”

But it the team work and the aim of inspiring others that will drive Kat and her crewmates on, “I am hoping as a team we can work together, supporting each other and driving each other on to complete this amazing challenge and hopefully setting a new world record as we go. Dream big!”

For more information and to support the girls, visit Girls who dare

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