London account manager swaps big data for big waves

Mark Johnson's picture

A records management professional is swapping big data for big waves and has today begun a gruelling 65-day charity row across the Atlantic Ocean.

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

Company sponsored 

Allison has pulled off an incredible coup – by persuading her employers to sponsor the team’s Rannoch ocean rowing boat and allow her to take three months off to take on the challenge.

Crown Records Management, an information management and document storage company, 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.

Novice rower 

Allinson, 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.

“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” she said.

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

“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. I’m so grateful that everyone at work has gotten behind my big dream!”

Cross Fit fan

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 Allinson.

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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