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THE SUGARMAN SAYS

 Do not go where the path may lead, 
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

The Sugarman returns today with a story of courage, inspiration, and endeavor. 

As a nation of seafarers history has always bestowed us with heroic tales of life on the ocean wave. Sir Francis Drake, James Cook, Horatio Nelson and the owl and the pussycat to name but four of our aquatic immortals. 

Cast the net further a field and one mustn’t forget Popeye, Sinbad (the sailor not the fat scouser out of ‘Brookside’) and Alex Briley from the village people. 

All legends who donned their respective navy uniforms. However, the Sugarman breaks rank, in that the seafaring God I wish to add to that list today………. Is female. 

On November 27th last year, Roz Savage, a 37 year-old former management consultant, set out to row single-handed across the Atlantic from the Canaries to Antigua. She is the only solo female competitor in the 3000 mile ‘Atlantic Rowing Race’

At first glance, the Oxford blue from Cheshire, a daughter of Methodist preachers, hardly seems the type of character to warrant the Sugarman to ‘doth his cap in appreciation’. 

However, dig a little deeper and it quickly emerges that Roz Savage is certainly not some plumy voiced, jolly hockey sticks, horsey set type who got bored and jumped in a boat because she thought it would be ‘such fun’. 

Roz’ sporting prowess is top draw, she’s ran the London and New York marathons finishing in the top 2% for women in each, and has a marathon P.B of 3 hours 19 minutes. She’s twice won blades in the university boat races, and her membership of the royal geographical society has taken her on expeditions to Peru, and the Andean cloudforests near Machu Picchu. 

Savage is something of a real life Indiana Jones.

View of Roz Savage rowing in her boat Sedna Solo across the Atlantic

 
 

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When asked why she was embarking on the life threatening mission across the Atlantic she replied... 

'I was looking for a challenge to take me outside my comfort zone, to test my limits. It had to involve travel and adventure, and it had to be environmentally friendly. The Atlantic Rowing Race is perfect for me and I can´t wait to get going!'

Roz is currently about 3 weeks away from finishing the race and with it raising over £30,000 for charity. One mustn’t underestimate the sheer physical, technical, and mental triumph this will be if she pulls it off. 

Roz recognises the limitations of her physique. She is 5 foot 4 inches tall, and usually weighs 8 stone (112 pounds), but has bulked up to 9 stone (126 pounds) in preparation for the race. 

As rowers go, this is not big. But she does have certain advantages - a genetically low resting heart rate (around 38 bpm), a high proportion of slow twitch muscle fibres, and good natural stamina makes her almost ‘made for rowing’. 

Mentally she has also approached the task in the right manner. Psychological gurus has focused on controlling where she puts her attention in order to help stay on task even when facing the toughest challenges. 

When under stress it is all too easy for athletes to start focusing on the wrong things - the competition, physical niggles, issues from the past and the future, and so on. These things are largely outside the athlete’s control, and as such are not a productive use of mental energy. 

With training, an athlete can learn to focus correctly the things that they can control, and hence concentrate on the process that will lead to achieving their overall objective. These two factors, of the physical and mental, coupled with the technical skills needed to negotiate waves in excess of 50 feet, in one of the world’s most dangerous oceans make this a superhuman effort. 

She’s sponsored by Paradisebet, and I suggest the good people of Bookiebusters join me on raising a glass to Roz Savage in acknowledgment of a genuine act of courage. Roz Savage sponsored by Paradisebet

A few days ago, television presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic champion James Cracknell, crossed the same finish line Roz Savage is currently heading toward. 

The Olympic pin up boy and his TV sidekick may have grabbed the headlines for finishing third overall in the two man class, but is it justified? I for one think not. 

In a mahogany and glass picture frame in James Cracknell’s house, in pride of place above his fireplace, sit his two Olympic gold medals. 

Engraved on the back are the words “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, the Olympic motto meaning “swifter, higher, stronger”…….. 

Agreed Cracknell was certainly swifter, for all I know he may well have sailed higher…. 

But is he really stronger than a five foot four, nine stone woman, who did exactly the same thing on her own? 

Its just a thought……

 
 
 

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