Yorkshire oarsome foursome swap high seas for dry land challenge

PIC: James Hardisty

PIC: James Hardisty

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They sailed their way into the record books.

And now the record breaking Yorkshire Rows have swapped their oars for running shoes for their latest challenge.

The team, who sailed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua, returned to dry land to launch the Great Yorkshire Run in Harrogate.

Francis Davies, Helen Butters, Janette Benaddi and Niki Doeg battled against a hurricane, power failures, attacks from flying fish, seasickness and injuries as part of their heroic challenge.

Frances Davies, who is one quarter of the Yorkshire Rows, said: “We still can’t quite believe that we actually rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. It feels very surreal.

“We’re all suffering from an ‘adrenaline hangover’ which can probably only be cured by finding another event to take part in.

“I have taken part in many 10k races but I am so excited that this big one is coming to a location so close to home.

“There’s something very special about running on a course around landmarks that are familiar.

“The Great Yorkshire Run - Harrogate will not take anyone 67 days to complete but there are still lots of similarities between this and our race across the Atlantic.

“A lot of pre-race training, the nerves before the start, the struggle in-between and the elation of finally crossing that finish line.

“Our advice to everyone is to just keep running, you can do it!”

Simon Theakston, executive director at T&R Theakston, who will be sponsoring the event for the next 3 years, added: “We are thrilled to be welcoming the Yorkshire Rows.”

The run, which celebrates its tenth year, will take in some of the spa town’s most stunning landscapes.

John Mayock, project director of the Great Yorkshire Run, said: “Harrogate has a great reputation for hosting successful cultural and sporting events.

“This year is the 10th staging of the Great Yorkshire Run and it is fitting that the event moves to Harrogate; a world-famous town to celebrate reaching such a huge milestone.”

Entries for the Great Yorkshire Run – Harrogate, in association with Theakston, are now open. Visit GreatRun.org/Yorkshire

Epic feat for oarsome foursome

The efforts of the Yorkshire Rows have raised thousands of pounds for two charities, the Yorkshire air ambulance and Maggie’s, who are building a new cancer centre at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

The adventures of the four Yorkshire working mums who became the oldest female crew ever to cross an ocean when they rowed from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies are the stuff of movie legend.

They were holed up in their cabins for days on end through a violent hurricane and dealing with broken steering equipment in the middle of the Atlantic, to chance encounters with whales and dolphins and naked rowing sessions accompanied by Abba hits.

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