From sunrise till sunset, myself and Ebo decided to do a rowing challenge on top of Roseberry Topping, on the second longest day of the year (second by a whole 4 seconds). At first whilst planning this event we didn’t take into consideration how tough it could potentially be. But one thing that dawned on us both in the three weeks build up as we would go and do our weekly rowing session, was that it was going to be an incredibly tough, long, drawn out day. This challenge consisted of the pair of us doing a continuous row, we would start rowing at 0429, and then as a team work consistently over the coming hours to finish on the evening at 2143. We intended on doing this in blocks of 1-hour, where we would take turns rowing and resting throughout the day for 1-hour duration’s.
We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by an incredibly supportive group of people, and the day began by meeting in the car park of Roseberry Topping at 0315, with the night sky already beginning to lighten, we knew we were going to be blessed with one of the finest sunrises that our area has to offer, and we were getting to watch it rise from one of our most treasured local icons – Roseberry Topping. But before we got the privilege of witnessing this spectacle, we first had to get all of our kit and equipment up to the top, which included two rowing machines, 40L of water, food, a table, two chairs, and many other little bits of things that would come in handy to myself and Ebo throughout the day, this alone was a challenge in itself.
Once on top we knew we could settle a little bit, and with time to spare it gave us a chance to just take it all in, and show gratitude towards the position we had put ourselves in. We knew at this point that the day ahead was going to be a tough one, a long one, but it was something myself and Ebo both very much relished. Even over the years of the two of us competing with each other, nothing brought us closer together than to do a challenge alongside each other. We both knew that throughout the day ahead we would go through a similar thought process, a similar struggle, but also alongside this we would experience similar highs that always make these kinds of days very much worthwhile.
Once 0429 came and went, I was the first up on the rowing machine. Taking it all in my stride, this first hour for me was very much about just settling into a nice rhythm and not rushing off at a pace that I felt I would not be able to sustain throughout the day. The next few hours came and went. The pair of us felt good and we were pushing a pretty strong pace. As the day grew in daylight hours, so did the number of people who were taking their own annual trip up Roseberry Topping. In all the times I have visited this place, I have never seen quite so many people manage to squeeze onto the top. This for me however brought a new beauty. It gave me the opportunity to speak to some of the most positively minded, and motivating people I have ever had the privilege of coming across. With one of those stories sticking in mind more than any other.
After conversing with a lady for a period of time, she explained to me how this is the first time she has ever managed to get to the top. Earlier in the year she was at a point in life where she wasn’t even physically capable of walking more than 3000 steps, struggling from a few different issues and depression being one of them, she decided that enough was enough and she was going to take control back in her life, and due to this she gave herself a number of challenges. One of which was to get to the top of Roseberry Topping before the end of the year. At this moment in time I felt incredibly privileged to have encountered her the very first time she managed to experience this for herself. Earlier in the year she had attempted to go for the summit, but half way up had felt the pain in her legs unbearable, and decided to turn back around and go down.
This is when it dawned on me. It really doesn’t matter if you are rowing dawn till dusk, running 60 miles, running your local park run, have entered a half marathon, or whether your challenge is just
to get out of bed that morning. The most important thing is that as a society we seek out that connection between each other, which will drive us forward to become better people. As human beings we can help inspire each other to do the most incredible things, the most courageous things, and each individual has their own personal limitations and it does not matter what these are. What matters is that we help each other get there, and we help each other achieve the personal ambitions and goals that each other has set. Once we seek out that connection with likeminded individuals, we realise that our limitations keep on gaining momentum.
After this conversation I myself felt very much invigorated. The day was beginning to get tough, and the muscles were beginning to get sore. The age old phrase kept coming back to me, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’. I felt incredibly humbled after hearing some personal stories, and I knew all I had to do was keep on bending my knees in time with my arms, and the rowing machine would keep adding on the metres.
As the day grew in age, I knew we were nearing our target. We had set a personal ambition of 200km, but that target was looking to be smashed out of the park. With still a couple hours left of rowing, we surpassed our target, and I know myself and Ebo both felt a sense of pride in this.
The closing hour came, and we were joined by a number of friends who had decided to make the trip back up Roseberry Topping, in order to help us get all of our kit and equipment back down. This again was another incredibly humbling experience for us both. We had friends up there with us all day, helping out in every possible way we could ask for and more and I could never quite show how thankful I am for this. In order to be successful in any ambition you have, it generally takes a team around you to help make it work. This for me was the highlight of the day, seeing people united and willing to work together.
The countdown for the last 10 seconds began, and with that followed a cheer. The end of a very successful day.
Time rowed – 17 hours and 14 minutes.
Distance rowed – 234,271m