Durban woman joins crew for transatlantic world record rowing attemptDate Released: Wed, 17 July 2013 11:59 +0200
WHEN Hayley Arthur found out she would not be going to London as part of Team SAs 2012 Olympic rowing contingent, it left a void in her.
She had spent years training for the chance to compete on the world's greatest sporting stage, and felt all the hard work had been for nothing.
But instead of giving up, Arthur saw it as an opportunity to accomplish something great and, after spotting an article about an old university friend who wanted to row across the Atlantic, she decided to join his crew in their attempt to break a word record.
Now Arthur is in training again as she and her seven crewmates look to break the current crossing record of 32 days and 23 hours when they depart from the Canary Islands for Barbados on December 15.
"I want the challenge. Most people would say no to this, but I want to be out of my comfort zone," said Arthur, who was born and raised in Durban and now works as a biokineticist at Physical IQ Medical Centre on the Berea.
The 29-year-old started rowing when she arrived at Rhodes University for her first year. From there, she moved to the University of Pretoria to complete her honours.
To break the world record, Arthur and the team (named Ubunye) plan to row four-at-a-time in two-hour shifts, non-stop, only resting when the other half take up the oars.
Their boat has small bunks to sleep in when Arthur and her rowing partners are on their two-hour breaks.
"The mental side of this challenge will be the toughest, it won't only be about how fit and strong you are. It is going to be an LSD (long, slow, distance) event and we will have to focus on the two hours at a time."
Her training involves cycling, rowing on the water and on a stationary simulator, trail running, surf-ski paddling, and crossfit sessions, which she fits in around her job. As part of her training, Arthur took part in a 24-hour row on a stationary rower which resulted in her breaking the world record for the furthest distance covered by a woman in a single day - 219km.
If all the training and her full-time job were not demanding enough, Arthur is raising funds for their transatlantic trip to ensure the team can afford the costs involved, and for the two charities selected as beneficiaries - the Angus Gillis Foundation in the Eastern Cape and Vimba in Zimbabwe.
She has appealed to any individuals or companies interested in their world record attempt to visit their website - www.ubunyechallenge.com/row. Hayley Arthur gets in some strength training at the gym. She and her team plan to row four-at-a-time in two-hour shifts.
By Kevin Lancaster
Picture : Zanele Zulu