200 miles. 72 hours. 32 degree heat. Cargo ships. Blisters. Saddle sores. A wrong turn. Sunburn. Seasickness. These are just a few of the obstacles that stood in the way of the nine traders who rowed the Med for charity last week – but they made it!
In what may well be one of the most interesting ways to get from Barcelona to Ibiza (or at least the most exhausting) the nine men split into two teams and raced 200 miles in an entirely man-powered race – no sails, no motors, just two hours and on and two hours off of persistent rowing.
The cause? The NOMAN campaign – an organization aimed at increasing awareness of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and its connected to 5% of all cancers while raising funds for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation in the process.
Taking the oars were one team of four and one team of five men from the financial industry, hailing from New York, Dublin, London and San Francisco and firms including Goldman Sachs, Thiel Marco and Morgan Stanley. The UK contingent (Ellis Kitchener, Tim Glynn, Conor Murphy, Nick Bowles and Jonah Van Bourg) made up Team Isabel and faced the US participants in Team Danielle (Stephen Burton, David Hemming, Oivind Lorentzen and Jason Lupatkin).
The teams took to the seas in two identical 24ft ocean rowing boats fitted with two rowing seats, two tiny cabins and precious little room for manouevre without falling overboard – not quite luxury superyachts, then. And taking it in turns to row and sleep, each team member had a key role to play in making the tough expedition, burning an estimated 25,000 calories each along the way. That’s the equivalent of 1,612 apples or 141 cheeseburgers. So they’ll be eating what they like guilt-free for a while.
After a tough and closely-fought battle, Team Danielle emerged victorious, finishing four hours ahead of Team Isabel. One of the winning team, Jason Lupatkin, said “It’s been an interesting thing, we were ahead for a little while, but I think we all realized that you don’t finish a race like this strong simply because you want to beat the other boat. It’s more about the greater purpose here – and the cause. Although we would be lying if we said we didn’t want to get off this boat!” We bet.
And Tim Glynn of Team Isabel (from Goldman Sachs) admitted the race was hard going at times, commenting: “The obstacles in the water like tide, current, navigation and wind were tough going – on our second night the winds came up and it was tough mentally. But what an unbelievable feeling to be on dry land, though! It’s just not as straightforward as pure willpower with ocean rowing – it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
The real winners, of course, were the cause Jason referred to: the NOMAN campaign. To date, the race has raised over £89,695 for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, where the money will go towards the charity’s aims of extending the current HPV vaccination programme to boys, de-stigmatizing HPV-related diseases and improving prevention protocols and therapeutic research for cancer sufferers. Now that’s what we call a good cause.
As the sunburn dies down and the blisters heal, we’d like to give everyone involved in the NOMAN race a big high five for a job well done!
About the NOMAN Campaign
The NOMAN Campaign’s Race to End HPV is more than a race, it’s a call to action. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes 5% of cancers worldwide and 80% of people will come into contact with the virus at some point.
Simply vaccinating boys and girls against this devastating virus can prevent the majority of HPV-related cancers. NOMAN aims to raise awareness about the HPV-related cancer epidemic in men and women and campaign for universal HPV vaccination while challenging participants to extreme endurance races across the world. The campaign is a program of the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.