C Group Fundraising Dinner

5 October 2012

Last night I went to the Annual C Group Charity fundraising dinner at Park Lane in London. I shared a table with General Andy Salmon, the founder of the charity, and most of the Arctic Expedition crew I met from Goldman Sachs. John Inverdale from the BBC hosted the evening and the guests included the likes of Double Gold medalist Pete Reed, Stuart Lancaster and most of our past and present England rugby legends….yes, the big household names we all know, too many to mention. There were also leaders in industry and a few well known celebrities from TV. On top of that, we were entertained by the Royal Marines Band and able and injured Royal Marines joined the guests at every table. In all, the room was filled with amazing people from all walks of life sharing one common goal to help in any way towards raising the much needed funds and profile of this essential cause.

With a few hours warning, I was told John would be interviewing me in front of these mighty people about my planned row and of my experience on the previous expedition to the Arctic last winter. I felt about that big (see small petit pois), but actually I think it came off ok and the interview is shown on my News page. If you watch it, you will hear this lot were a rowdy bunch, but John soon tells them to zip it! An auction followed and nearly £100,000 was raised. I don't have enough money to bid, but if I had, there were some cracking Lots including my favorite…a signed framed photograph of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah together doing their victory signs. How cool would that be in my gym for inspiration!

Inspiration is fuel we all need as part of the ingredient in obtaining success and this can come in any form. On my first record breaking row across the Atlantic, there were times when I was feeling really down, in the gutter, but I only had to think about how hard it was for Tom Crean in serving both Scott and Shackleton on their expeditions and I could immediately pull myself up and get on with the job in hand. There are two different people I felt inspired by last night and know their achievements will help me along in my next quest. Consider rowing nearly 3,000 miles across an ocean which will take me about six weeks. Now consider rowing almost everyday and putting your body through hell in the process for well over eight years to represent your country. Pete Reed is a Towering Gentleman and the commitment he has given to one cause for so long is what makes him a Great Briton. The weak link in my long distance rowing is my back. Often I have and will shed man tears from the pain and wonder why I set out on these miserable challenges in the first place. We have got guys serving our country and putting their lives on the line for us. The physical and mental pain our injured boys incure in the process is just not something any of us want to think about. I can now think about this when my back is next sore and I'll be just fine!

The evening ended at breakfast time and it was straight into today's list of things to do. I am now about to put in a training session on the ergo. No doubt, my performance will be rubbish, but at least I can say I haven't missed my training and will have my rest day tomorrow!!