On December 12th 2022, Team This Way Up will begin the challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, from La Gomera in The Canary Islands to English harbour, Antigua, taking part in the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. The four-man crew of Ed Ogden, Ollie Browne, James Peet and Jos Pape will row, eat and sleep on repeat for around 35 days.
The Challenge is an annual trans-Atlantic rowing race, in which circa 40 teams compete – from solo rowers up to crews of five – to be the fastest boat to row the 3,000 miles, starting in December and usually arriving 5 to 7 weeks later. The extreme endurance race, which attracts individuals who want to test themselves mentally and physically beyond their limits, is the premier event in ocean rowing.
The team have been preparing for the race for two years to ensure that they are competitive, working with The University of Kent Sports and Science Department and performance consultancy Peak Dynamics to achieve the fitness and stamina levels required to take part. In 2021, they competed in and won the Noman Barcelona to Ibiza race in 93 hours.
During the Atlantic Challenge, the boat will be moving continuously – it takes an average of 1.5 million oar strokes to cross the ocean – with the team likely to face high winds and waves up to 20ft high. They will be entirely self-sufficient throughout the trip, filtering sea water to drink and carrying all of their food (mostly dehydrated) onboard. Rowers burn in excess of 5,000 calories per day and lose an average of 8kg during the crossing.
The Challenge has always been an opportunity for crews to raise funds to support their chosen charities, with total fundraising to date at £11m. Team This Way Up have chosen to support Starlight, the national children’s charity who use play to make the experience of illness and treatment better for children and their families. The team’s fundraising target is £250,000 and – as a self-funded team – all monies raised through sponsorship and donations will go direct to the charity. Starlight supports frontline hospital staff by funding play specialists who bring the chance to play to children in bed in hospital. The charity also provides play boxes, gaming carts and mobile sensory rooms – something to engage every age group, help distract them and feel less alone. Additionally, they create family events and experiences, including weekends spent at amusement parks to private film screenings or exciting gaming days, Starlight Escapes, Days and Breaks create opportunities for seriously ill children and their families to leave the stress of hospitals and hospices far behind.
Cathy Gilman, CEO of Starlight says, “We are delighted that the This Way Up team have chosen to support Starlight for this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic is an incredibly tough feat, especially as it means they won’t be with their families this Christmas. But we hope that knowing that their efforts will give children the time, space and opportunity to play during illness and treatment will help Ed, James, Ollie and Jos succeed. The money that the team raise will help more children to experience play in and out of hospital which helps to alleviate anxiety, isolation and uncertainty, and restore a smile to their faces. We can’t thank them enough for taking on this tremendous challenge.”
Get regular updates from the team during their prep and the race itself, by following them on Instagram @teamthiswayup or on Facebook at Team This Way Up. Support the team and Starlight by donating on their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamthiswayup