Connector March 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 44 CONNECTOR.AE 45 Health and Wellness Health and Wellness Initially, the group was made of his brother, Harry Amos, his father and his Uncle. Oliver said, “I called my brother first, he was my first call. Initially, the team was me, my dad, my brother and my uncle, which is two sets of brothers. But my dad and uncle pulled out they looked at the expedition and thought this is a bit too much.” Now in need of two more people to join the team, Paris Norriss, famously known for his adventure specials called ‘Guy In Dubai’, currently being aired on Amazon Prime, Dubai One, Apple TV and more, was the first call, with Barney Lewis, Oliver’s best friend of over 25 years, the fourth member. With the team now formed, the planning and training phase of the challenge began. The team hired Gus Barton, an experienced trainer who has previously trained over 10 world-record rowing teams. Training for the group runs for five to six days a week, and includes an average of 40 to 60 kilometres for three days, as well as weight training done over two days. Oliver mentioned, “We, at the moment, are doing five to six days a week, with three days of rowing. Sundays are always a large row. We also have high-interval training and weight training dedicated to muscle groups for rowing, as we have to enhance our muscle mass.” Currently, in their last few weeks before the big row, the training for the tournament has ramped up, and is now focused on building strength and endurance, and getting race ready. As the group will be rowing without any stops, mental and survival training is a crucial part of their coaching. Paris said, “We have all done courses in first aid, sea survival, and ocean rowing because when we are out in the Pacific, we are in a remote area that is closer to the astronauts on the space station. We have to be self-sufficient, if anybody gets injured, we have to be able to fix it on the go.” The inspiration to take part in the expedition came from Cayle Royce, a British Army veteran who served alongside Harry Amos. While serving in Afghanistan, Cayle stepped on an explosive device which led to him losing both his legs, a part of his hand and a part of his face. Almost a year to the date of the incident, Cayle rowed across the Atlantic, and then again a second time with an all-amputee crew. Oliver said, “When I saw him doing it, he was a real big inspiration for me to row an ocean and in my eyes, it was now or never.” “I always had the vision to make the expedition slightly larger than I was able to, and there is one thing about getting fit to do an expedition like this while also raising money,” Oliver added. To help give back to the community, the group is raising money to donate to two organisations, The Invictus Games and the Blue Marine Foundation. The causes for picking the charities, as Oliver mentioned, “We needed to do this for charity and while choosing our charities, The Invictus Games helped Cayle Royce, and Blue Marine Foundation, which is an ocean marine conservation charity, ties in with our expedition.” Paris added, “We are all friends and get along really well. The idea that we are doing this adventure for us is fun, and as we are getting what we need out of this, if we can give back to the charities, it just makes it a win-win for everybody. Hence we are being really proactive in raising money for the charities.” As they are all friends, the challenge is one they are willing to undertake, with each member responsible for various aspects, catering to their strengths. Oliver said, “Everyone has their job in this, I run the team and do most of the admin, Harry is in charge of the equipment, the safety and training given, as he is an ex-operations military, Paris is in charge of the production and the media, and Barney is in charge of the money and the gala dinner, that we are having this year.” However, rowing across the Pacific Ocean is not an easy task to take part in, as there are many unforeseeable risks involved. Paris said, “There are real risks to what we are going to do, and then there are the perceived risks, and sometimes the perceived risks seem more scary than the actual risks. Statistically, the chances of us getting eaten by a shark are very small but it keeps me up at night. Every five days, one of us has to go underneath the boat and scrub the barnacles off to keep it streamlined. At the same time, two guys have to look down with snorkels to keep a check. The reality is that actually getting eaten by a shark is low but the injuries, the boat capsizing and what to do with hurricanes are.” Oliver added, “My biggest fear since I have assembled this team is the worst case, if someone perishes and, if someone falls in when not clipped in, you will not be able to get back on the boat.”