RowGlobal spoke with Matthew Knight, one of the four crew members that make up the Endurance Limits Rowing Team that are competing in the Great Pacific Race in order to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Matthew’s Friends (a charity that often works alongside GOSH and specialises in medical Ketogenic Dietary Therapies).
Having never rowed properly before, on June 4th 2016, Darren Clawson, Raf Schildermans, Arron Worbey and Matthew Knight will attempt the World’s leading human endurance challenge, comprising of a 2,400 mile journey across the world’s largest ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. All in the name of raising money for charity, winning and hopefully breaking a world record in the process.
How is preparation going? You’re 87 days out – explain the schedule of training ahead.
Prep has actually slowed down a bit, as we’re focusing on the logistical side of the challenge – for example, getting the boat itself to Monterey. As a crew we’ve been in and out of the gym, and had about eight outings together as it has been mainly land based so far. To be honest, I’d have like to have done more at this stage in the boat, but it’s proving a feat in itself to get the crew in the same place at the same time as we’ve all got full‐time jobs and one of the guys works in Belgium.
Having said that, each of us have our own individual tasks to complete, so we’re just cracking on.
Your background is ultra‐sport. How much of a different challenge do you expect this to be?
We have all done jungle and desert marathons but they’ve not taken longer than seven days and although we’ve all helped each other through stages of these types of races, they’re ultimately not supposed to be a team effort. We’re all different characters, so we’ve got to get used to pulling together when it gets tough and making sure we don’t just drift apart. Nutritionally, it’s going to be harder too as we’ll be eating expedition food on-board for around forty days straight. However we should have an advantage due to our backgrounds and our characters. The fact that we’re all really good mates should work in our favour though as it’s not as if we’ve been hand‐selected to be part of this team. When the going gets tough, this and the fact that we do have a lot of combined experience in endurance competitions should work in our favour.
Obviously you aim to raise money, but you could have done that by other means. Why a Pacific row? Is it a feasible goal to win?
When you’re doing these kinds of races regularly you do take to the internet to seek out the next big challenge. It has only been done once before and Darren (our Team Captain) likes to do new races so he approached us about it. We are competitive, so having invested a lot of money, time and effort into it, we do want to win it and have a stab at smashing that world record. It’s as simple as that.
Tell me a little bit about Matthew’s Friends
The charity has five main aims.
- To publicise Ketogenic Dietary Therapies and make them more available to all those who should need them, be it child or adult.
- Together with our medical board, give parents and patients an informed choice about Ketogenic therapies and to source and provide the latest information available.
- To support families and patients through their dietary therapy.
- To support professionals in their administration of dietary therapies by way of literature, ketogenic starter packs and files, educational conferences and training meetings and provide funding, where possible.
- To support Research projects into the efficacy of these dietary therapies for use in Epilepsy and other conditions, whilst always working with medical professionals to ensure our information is safe, relevant and current.