MORE ABOUT ME
Passionate About Inspiring Others
I enjoy a life of adventure, new experiences and challenges to test my boundaries. When it comes to the end of my time, I wanted to make sure that I have lived and that there is no mileage left in the clock of life. To row across the Atlantic is something I have read about, and wanted to do for some time. The challenge certainly seems like an amazing way to use up 3000miles on the life clock. I know that the thought of being out in the middle of the great ocean with nothing to hear but your own thoughts and nothing to see but miles of endless water does terrify people, for me it is bliss. With the support of my family and friends, I’ll be leaving my native Yorkshire and its comforts (apart from Yorkshire Tea) behind to head for the Atlantic Ocean. Having embarked on a few extreme endurance challenges in the past I know the physical and mental strength needed and while relishing the test this offers, and being able to prepare physically for the rowing, I am aware of the highs and lows that may be ahead of me It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, either during or after a career in Sport and despite the importance of mental health regularly hitting the headlines, many sports people still suffer in silence with the stigma of mental health haunting them in the shadows and not asking for the help that they need. Sporting Chance do incredible work supporting both individuals and organisations across the world of sport, to address mental health, emotional welfare and addictive disorders; a very fitting charity for such a sporting endeavour as rowing the Atlantic.
I started a career of playing rugby when I was about eight years old. I never consciously wanted to play. It was just a what seemed to happen in our house. At the time my dad was playing professionally at Bradford Northern. As a family we would always go to the games, so, rugby was all around me. I was just fortunate that I maybe had a little bit of talent for the game and in the end, I signed a professional contract with a new team called Scarborough Pirates at the age of 20.
At the end of that first season unfortunately the team folded, and I then began a bit of a journey of being on trial at a few clubs before ending up back at my amateur rugby club, Heworth. And at the time it was probably the best thing that could have happened for me. I then enjoyed two great seasons playing with a great group of players and worked my way back to a professional contract with York Wasps.
My record shows that I played 78 games for York Wasps beginning in 1995, followed by two extremely enjoyable years playing for Doncaster Dragons. Those ended when I took the decision to re-join my hometown club York Knights as they had reformed.
A Grand final defeat in 2004 and a league winner’s trophy in 2005, followed by an injury riddled start to the 2006 season made me decide to bring down the curtain on a my second 55 game stint with York and a career that had spanned over 17 seasons in all.
And one which I would do all again given the opportunity.
Throwing my energy into business lasted only so long before the lack of physical activity began to dig into my skin and soon 10K runs began to become an obsession of finishing faster than the last time. A request from a friend to partake in a duathlon was met with an immediate “yes”, even though I had no idea what it entailed. So I purchased a bike as it was needed for the Duathlon (running, cycling and running again). Next I joined a local cycling club and that’s when the rugby retirement gets totally forgotten about.
In April 2012 I entered the London Marathon. I had always thought that a marathon run was way beyond on my capabilities, but the offer of a place to raise money for an Autistic school was too much to turn down. My body was almost correct in thinking that a marathon was too much for me to endure, but I crossed the finish line with my best hobbled run. Done! I still say it’s the toughest thing I have ever done…………. So far.
In August 2012 I was invited to take part in a coast to coast bike ride to raise awareness and funds for Prostate cancer. It seemed a totally sensible thing to do when a marathon had almost broken me.
In addition my application to take part in the 2013/14 Clipper Round the World race was accepted around this time. The first week’s training in a harsh November weather with force nine winds wasn’t enough to put me off. Sea sickness came close though. However, seeing a beautiful new, never been sailed 70ft yacht in St Katherines Dock in London the following January had me hooked. I immediately went from sailing two legs of the race to a circumnavigator. And so a gap year of sailing began in August 2013 and gave me the opportunity to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer, The Steve Prescott Foundation and the Rugby League Benevolent fund until I was forced back to the reality of life back on land and wearing shoes in July 2014.
Once I had regained my land legs I was off again. In August 2015 I entered Ride 24 which is a cycle ride form Newcastle to London that must be completed in under 24 hours. I cycled 312 miles in less than 21 hours and raised money for the great Martin House charity whilst doing it.
Next came an invitation to take part in a rowing race from Barcelona to Sardinia, which seemed too much to pass up, something new and out of any comfort zone. The race across to Sardinia was cut short due to an unexpected storm that passed through the Mediterranean Sea and our crew was picked up by the support yacht. I did however get the opportunity to complete crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a rowing boat, when I skippered a crew of five who rowed the return race. And as the only boat to finish the race due to a second storm in the area we were declared winners.
2016 seemed to be a year of challenges. In March of that year I completed my second crossing of the North Pacific Ocean on a sailing boat. Later on in September I competed a solo cycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in a little over five days. A request from a friend of my father to raise money for a local Down Syndrome charity coupled with Autism UK and SNAPPY (a local respite care charity) allowed me the time to tick off a ride I had wanted to challenge myself with for some time.
Feeling that the training for LeJog would possibly have me as fit as I could be gave me the inspiration to challenge myself further by entering Yak Attack, the world’s highest mountain bike race. A journey to Nepal little over 12 months after the region had suffered a severe earthquake brought home how fragile we are on this planet. But the scenery of the countryside took my breath away more than the exertion of the mountain biking. And the friendliness of the people gave me bigger smiles than the racing.
A third crossing of the mighty North Pacific Ocean in March 2018 has hopefully brought to a close my winter adventures in that body of water (but only time will confirm that). But a challenge is always required I feel and so I entered the one day, 105-mile run-ride-kayak adventure race in September that year.
I now know the time is right to take part in the Talisker 2020 Atlantic rowing race to complete the next chapter of this journey I call life.
17 seasons of Semi-Pro Rugby League
Coast to Coast Cycling Race
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
Newcastle to London Cycling Race
Barcelona to Sardinia Rowing Race
North Pacific Ocean crossing #2
Lands End to John O'Groats Cycle
Yak Attack Mountain Bike Race
North Pacific Ocean Crossing #3
105 mile Run/Ride/Kayak