Novice rower swaps big data for big waves to row the Atlantic – cheered on by Coldplay

Crown Records Management account manager takes on the world’s most gruelling rowing race

Novice rower swaps big data for big waves to row the Atlantic – cheered on by Coldplay

A records management professional who is swapping big data for big waves is set to row the Atlantic – cheered on by rock band Coldplay.

Claire Allinson of Crown Records Management normally spends her time as an account manager in Enfield, London, but will soon be part of a three-strong team attempting to row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the gruelling Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Claire, who had never rowed in her life before starting training two years ago, was inspired to raise money following the death of her dad from cancer.

And she has since pulled off an incredible coup – by not only persuading her employers to sponsor the boat but also coaxing Coldplay to support her too.

The legendary band, fronted by Exeter-born Chris Martin, have made a big donation to support the team who are raising money for Blood Bikes, a charity dedicated to providing an ‘out of hours’ service delivering essential items to NHS hospitals and hospices.

She said: “It’s a special charity to me because thanks to their fast action dad was around for precious extra time and even able to walk me down the aisle at my wedding.

“We all have very personal reasons for taking up the challenge and we are just ordinary women who want to achieve the extraordinary.

“To get support from Coldplay has been amazing. It all started when I bumped into Chris Martin’s dad Anthony and it has snowballed from there. We are so grateful for their backing.

“It’s not just the donation, they have also been Tweeting out support on social media. I’m a huge fan, so it means a lot.”

Claire has also received backing from Crown Records Management, which has sponsored the team’s Rannoch ocean rowing boat and allowed her to take three months off.

“The journey could take us 65 days, so it’s a long period off work,” she said. “My bosses have been really supportive, and my workmates have rallied round and agreed to do extra work to cover for me as well.”

As a Cross Fit fan, Claire has always had incredible stamina. But her practice routine involved getting up at 4am, training twice a day and then rowing for 36 hours every weekend for 24 months to prepare for the challenge.

She is joined in the boat by Bird Watts from Mevagissey and her 60-year-old mother Mo O’Brien from Penzance (who is severely hearing impaired).

The trio are also supported by a fourth member of the Oarsome Foursome, Linda Whittaker, who will be land crew support for the trip.

Linda completed two years of training but then developed such severe sea sickness that she was sadly forced to pull out.

Once on their way, the team could face 40ft waves and will row in six-hour shifts – two hours with 100 per cent effort, two hours with 50 per cent and then 2 hours of rest. But they must also keep a constant lookout for sharks.

“It’s a bit different to records management, that’s for sure,” said Claire.

You can keep up to date with the adventures of the Oarsome Foursome by visiting https://www.oarsomefoursome.co.uk/ or following @OarsomeFour on Twitter.

A full interview with Claire is available at: https://www.crownworldwide.com/en-us/article/interview-with-claire-allinson–one-of-the-oarsome-foursome

The rowers are also raising money for Exmouth and Lympstone Hospice Centre and Carefreespace, which helps support unpaid carers.

RACE FACTS:

  • The rowers will row between 3,000-3500 miles to reach their destination.
  • Forty teams are taking part and two safety yachts with access to satellite phones will accompany the teams.
  • The Atlantic Ocean is 5.28 miles deep.
  • Waves can reach 40ft high.
  • Together the team will row 1.5m strokes during the race.
  • Each rower needs to drink 10 litres of water and eat 60 calories per kg of bodyweight a day to keep them alive.
  • The rowers will burn 5000 calories a day and lose 12kg in weight during the race.
  • They will also battle blisters, sea sickness, severe exhaustion and even hallucinations.
  • More people have climbed Everest than have completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
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