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Local lass to row across the Atlantic

Date Released: Thu, 20 June 2013 11:00 +0200

HAYLEY Arthur is no ordinary biokineticist, the Durban athlete will take on a huge challenge which will make her the first South African woman to row an ocean in the Atlantic Crossing Ubunye Challenge in December this year.

A former member of the South African rowing squad, Arthur participated in the All Africa Games, and was part of the senior national rowing team in 2011 and 2012 participating in various races for the country.

She narrowly missed her lifelong dream of competing in the London Olympics after selections, but didnt let her years of training and commitment to rowing go to waste.
She has since joined the Ubunye Challenge team, an initiative started by former Rhodes University students to raise funds for sustainable development in the poorest areas of Africa through sports challenges.

"It was started by my friends at Rhodes Rowing Club. I had just come off the SA squad so was at peak fitness to join them on their second challenge which was cycling through Great Britain," said Arthur smiling. "It was from the Southern tip of England in Lands End all the way through to the Northern tip of Scotland, John O Groates a distance of 1500km and about 200km a day," she added.

The team of eight South African and Zimbabwean Rhodes students, including world renowned skipper, Leven Brown, plan to break the current record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic ocean of 32 days.

The Atlantic Crossing will be the most physically and mentally demanding of all challenges. When asked why a biokineticist who works at a cosy medical centre on the grounds of DHS would put herself through such a gruelling extreme adventure, she beamed.

"I like the challenge and thrive on the fact that most people wont dare do it! There is also the personal challenge and pushing my own boundaries, I know this one is going to be difficult, dealing with the ocean, nature and the elements, not to mention living on a boat for a month with seven other smelly, sweaty rowers," she laughed.

On a serious note, Arthur said beside the adventure, just knowing they could raise hundreds or thousands of rands for charity gave it more depth. "So when we are struggling out there, we will be reminded that some rural children will benefit from what we are doing.

That is our hope and yes we will have fun, it is a good bunch that we have on the team," she said enthusiastically.

Arthur has started surfski competing as training to get fit and get experience in the ocean and will go out rowing in an ocean rowing boat as part of her training regime.
"The ten years of competing in rowing and other sporting codes has helped me develop mental strength during these tough extreme challenges.
I am a realist and understand it isnt going to be plain sailing, but believe if you are motivated enough, you will get through and a sense of humour is vital," she added laughing.

To date the Ubunye Challenge has raised R300,000 with their extreme sport challenges. Arthur will be speaking about her international rowing career and epic Atlantic Crossing adventure at the Durban Under Sea Club on Tuesday, 25 June. Anyone who would like to know more about the Ubunye Challenge or would like to assist with sponsorship or donations can email Hayley on hayleszn@gmail.com

By Lorna Charles

Caption: Local rower Hayley Arthur trains on an indoor ...show more rowing machine at the DHS gym for her epic ocean adventure. ...show less

Source: Looklocal source