Sponsorship call out for ocean rower
Elaine Hopley hopes to become one of the fastest women to row 3,000 nautical miles solo and unsupported when she joins the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge later this year.
The Dunblane athlete will take part in what is described as the world’s toughest ocean row. She will be the only woman racing solo in the December from La Gomera to Antigua. Her aim is to finish in 60 to 70 days.
As well as raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland, she has to find another £20,000 in sponsorship to meet the cost of her race entry and shipping fees.
Elaine is keen to hear from anyone who can help. See Sponsor Elaine
Elaine’s love of big adventures
Elaine, 45, is no stranger to sporting challenges. In the early 1990s she won the inaugural Woman’s Scottish Mountain Bike Cross Country series and defended her title for a number of years.
In 1993, she won a place in the British team in the European Adidas Challenge.
She has completed solo and unsupported bicycle tours of Australia, New Zealand and Chile.
She rode 1,000 mile from Land’s End to John O’ Groats – again solo and unsupported – in seven days.
Elaine has won many podiums places in 10 and 24-hour mountain bike endurance races.
Now classed as a super vet, Elaine entered the first Red Bull Foxhunt with Rachel Atherton (current No 1) last year. Out of 117 riders, across all age categories, she took third place.
Elaine has skied (BASI Instructor), sea paddled, sailed, canoe surfed and paraglided extensively in Scotland and other locations worldwide.
She says: “I love taking on new adventures and I always like to challenge myself. I think my strengths lie on both my mental attitude and physical stamina and fitness.
“The Atlantic ocean row has been something I have dreamed of doing for many years and although it is a huge challenge I think I am prepared for it and I am looking forward to doing it.
“I believe in challenging myself and doing epic adventures.”
The challenge of solo rowing
Elaine will face huge mental and physical challenges during the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, not least being on her own in a small boat for at least two months.
The weather and sea conditions are likely to be very unpredictable, while there will be the obvious dangers of crossing a major shipping passage.
She will need to sleep in a small cabin on her 6.87m-long craft called Jan, after her mum, and carry all her food for the full row.
The race organisers demand a high level of fitness and ability from rowers and Elaine has been required to undergo tests and take part in a programme of training. Her boat has also been rigorously checked.
Elaine will also need to cope with her medical condition, ulcerated colitis. She says: “I have lived with this disease for 15 years although at the time of diagnosis I was very ill.
“I lost two stones and could hardly walk more than a few metres. These days I have to follow a strict dietary plan and this is something that has needed very serious consideration ahead of the rowing challenge.”
Inspiring through education
As part of the ocean rowing bid, Elaine is working with Scottish teachers to create an educational package that focuses on the many aspects of such an endeavour.
Elaine, who is the parent of two boys, says: “Already some schools in Stirlingshire have embraced the idea of using my rowing challenge as part of their educational programme for this year.
“Sport, endurance, science nutrition and geography, to name but a few aspects, each play a role in the challenge. All this fits in well with the Curriculum for Excellence education goals.
“Now we are keen to partner with other schools and we would like to hear from teachers who would be interested in finding out more.
“I want to inspire other people to do the same and especially to inspire young people to think big.”
It’s hoped that school pupils will also track Elaine’s progress on the live tracker at www.taliskerwhiskyatlanticchalkenge.co.uk.
A poignant charity
Alzheimer’s Scotland is Elaine’s chosen charity after personally caring for her mum, Jan, who died two years ago. She is hoping to raise as much money as possible for the charity once she is on the water.
Find out more and contacts
See Elaine’s website
To help with sponsorship or to find out more about the education package please contact either Elaine or her partner Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org