Racing solo across the Atlantic
*scroll down to watch our video interview with Tim*
If you haven’t heard about the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge – well, it’s time you did.
Considered the world’s toughest row, it’s an annual ocean race of more than 3000 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies.
It begins this year on 12th December, with up to 30 teams participating from around the world. Rowers battle with sleep deprivation, salt sores and physical extremes inflicted by the race. They’re left with their own thoughts, an expanse of the ocean, and the job of getting the boat safely to the other side.
With more people having climbed Everest or even been into space than have successfully rowed the Atlantic, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
So why do it?
The race attracts thrill seekers and endurance athletes alike, who want to take on and beat the elements. But not only that, the race raises money and awareness of topics close to the rower’s heart.
In Tim’s case, this is mental health.
As a Special Forces veteran, he has spent his life in and out of warzones. He saw first-hand the effects of anxiety, depression, alienation and suicidal thoughts brought on by life on the front line. After the jarring loss of a friend, he was left with a sense of longing to do more to help on a larger scale. The primary purpose of his campaign is to raise awareness and education around mental health. He has chosen two charities, both with the shared mission of addressing mental health and the effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries with the ultimate aim to prevent veteran suicide. As a dual citizen, he’ll be supporting veterans on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the UK - Combat Stress is the UK's leading veterans' mental health charity. The organisation treats a range of mental health conditions including PTSD, depression and anxiety. Mental health issues can affect ex-servicemen and women of all ages and right now, the charity has more than 6,000 veterans registered with them for support. Combat Stress is a vital lifeline for those veterans, and their families.
In the United States, Tim is partnered with Give an Hour, whose mission is to develop a national network of volunteers that are willing to provide their skills and expertise to help and support those that need it the most.
“Raising money for these charities is important, as they do so much for so many. But money isn’t all there is – for me, this row is also about awareness: the self-awareness to recognize it’s ok not to be ok and to ask for help if you need it. The greater awareness piece is the need to remove the stigma associated with mental health. It’s ok to say you need help and If you do, know that you are not alone and there are many resources available.”
We managed to fit in an interview with Tim just days before he's set to depart. He told us how he's feeling, what inspired him to take part, and the meaning behind the name of his boat, The Kraken.
To find out more about Tim's cause or make a donation, visit https://www.tamethekraken.org/
For more information on the challenge, visit https://www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com/the-challenge/