After several months of intensive training, Team Intrepid Duck took to the water yesterday to undertake the great Solent Marathon.
Francisco Roque de Pinho our cox goaded us on with constant comedy and multilingual banter for 5 hours 12 minutes. Noteworthy incidents being a hastily executed 360 degree turn to retrieve his camera which flew off the back of the boat, a near incident where he too almost ended up in the sea, and a celebratory champagne showering of himself and Kedge who was at that point in the stroke seat upon our arrival at Langstone Marina having completed the challenge. He skillfully kept us out of harm’s way in spite of a Blue Funnel Ferry and an out of control sailing boat so hell bent on finding the best wind that it almost wiped us out… Durham University rowing club’s former secret weapon Matthew Evans took the stroke seat, and set a pace for us all to follow. We were quite good at this, some of the time. Mark Chamberlen, challenge junky and ‘fitness fanatic’ sat behind Matt in seat number five, in front of the legendary Guy Martin, our youngest team member, who returned to full fitness after a tennis injury just in time for the great day. Worried about fire power in the boat we’d recently managed to persuade former Olympic sailor Francisco Lobato (aka Kiko) to join us. His oarsman ship, developed over many years played a significant part in our success.
Margarida Villas-Boas was allowed off the naughty step by Shelley our coach to take part on the day. Apart from keeping us all amused by multi lingual chatter with our cox, she was also the whistle blower on anyone wanting to have a pee in the back of the boat. Jax and Kiko suffered stage fright as a result and arguably completed the challenge in more pain than they would have done otherwise….. Jax Fanshawe is famous for many things, not only did she give her all as an oarsman, but she also contributed the best ‘super food’ to the team lunch box. Ask Jax about her Rocky Road and you’ll understand what I mean. And finally Kedge Martin, who inspired us all by her level of commitment to personal fitness. If Kedge asks you to take part in the next challenge she thinks off, get straight down to the gym and get fit, because she has very high expectations of her team mates!!!!!
We are all still here to tell the tale. It was a hilarious experience as we all knew it would be. Everyone returned to shore in one piece, unanimously overjoyed that it is now all over. We are all touched and delighted by the interest that our challenge has caused, and thank our sponsors and donors for their continued support of Ace Africa through our efforts.
Team Intrepid Duck has raised to date £7,028 and is about to reach their target of £8,000 to help our programmes in rural Kenya and Tanzania. If you wish to support their efforts please donate here