|5 Oct 2022
It couldn’t have been more fitting, pointed out Head Mistress Heather Hanbury as she introduced them, because the term Remarkable Women could have been coined just to describe our three speakers. The team went on to give a gripping inside account about becoming the fastest female trio ever to row across the Atlantic in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge earlier this year.
Head of Rowing Abby Johnston, from the Class of 2007, encouraged the audience to try something new and really push themselves: “All of us can achieve far more than we believe,” she said. “You don’t know how extraordinary you can be until you try.”
Fellow alumna Charlotte Irving, from the Class of 2008, talked about the importance of a positive mindset and how they kept themselves focused and motivated by breaking things down into small achievable milestones.
Teammate Kat Cordiner, who completed the gruelling six-week row despite having incurable cancer, said she was motivated by their pioneering role as women competing in a male dominated sport. She repeated the famous Rupi Kaur quote: “I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me, thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see further?”
They each revealed their highest and lowest points – from 36-hours of non-stop seasickness just after they set out, to jaw dropping star-filled night skies, and from near capsize (as the other crew members slept) to the euphoria of a close encounter with a giant pod of minke whales.
They did battle with the elements, sang at the top of their lungs, bargained with each other to trade precious snacks, fought off hallucinations brought on by tiredness and marvelled at the breath-taking beauty of the rising sun. “Control the controllables” became one mantra, “This too shall pass” another and they all came to fully appreciate the phrase: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”.
In addition to their epic rowing achievement, the trio have put just as much effort into their massive fundraising drive for Cancer UK, MacMillan Cancer Support and The Royal Marsden, all charities particularly close to their hearts.
They set themselves the ambitious target of raising £100,000 and are now just £4,000 short of their goal. After such a rousing talk, let’s all show some LEH love and support to help them get there: https://www.weareextraoardinary.com/donate