People never fail to surprise me – or at least the people I write about. Extraordinary people who do extraordinary things. Extreme characters who achieve extreme results. And Sarah Outen is yet another…
“This ocean rowing lark is a bit niche market – more folks have climbed Everest than have rowed across oceans” – Sarah Outen
In 2009, after an unsuccessful ‘warm-up lap’ which lasted all of 11 days where she was severely tested by the Leeuwin Current, Sarah set off again from Freemantle, Australia in her mission to row across the Indian Ocean. 124 days and 4,180 miles later she successfully achieved her goal and in doing so was awarded 3 world records: first woman & youngest person to solo the Indian; youngest woman to solo any ocean.
22 year old Katie Spotz solo’d the mid Atlantic in 2010 knocking Sarah off her perch – but not for long I think. Sarah’s next exploit is about to be even more extreme… she wants to row, cycle and kayak right around the world, but listen to her yourself as she talks about this mighty challenge.
So, 1st of April it is and this is not an April Fool’s joke! She will set off from Tower Bridge, London on a 2.5 year bid to loop the planet under her own steam and be back in time for tea at the Tower. I like the way she casually says “I’ll row to France and when I get there I’ll cycle across to Japan…. ” in the same sort of voice that someone normal would say “well when I get to France I’ll cycle down to Paris” and think you were being quite adventurous!
It’s the sort of mad and crazy thing that The Adventurists would dream up – although The Adventurists madcap escapades have to fit into achievable holiday breaks. But like The Adventurists, its her zest for life that makes her stand out. “I love adventure – the feeling of not quite knowing if or how you will make your destination, of pushing the limits and testing yourself against yourself and the elements,” she says.
When rowing across the Indian Sarah raised £30,000 for charities working to represent and support people with arthritis. Her father was her inspiration. He himself had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis – a debilitating illness about which it is said “it may not kill you, it can take your life.” A very true summation of this horrid disease.
We will be watching Sarah Outen’s progress with interest. The very best of British luck to you!
“If you’re strong up-top and have prepared well, then you have the best chance – stubborn and strong, and with a bit of luck you’ll weather the worst of the storms. It’s all about attitude, endurance and keeping happy” – Sarah Outen