John all set for epic row following heart surgery

John Beeden
John Beeden
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ROWING across Graves Park boating lake is enough for most people.

But for Sheffielder John Beeden that would be like a drop in the ocean.

Never mind the boating lake, 49-year-old John, who grew up in Woodseats, plans to row all the away across the Atlantic - and he’s doing it solo.

A former member of Hallamshire Harriers and Sheffield AC, John first came up with the idea a few years ago.

Now living in Toronto, Canada with his wife Cheryl and two daughters Georgina and Libby, he regularly makes the trip across the pond as he commutes to the UK in his position as director of the Virgin London Marathon exhibition.

And it was on one of his trips it dawned on him - why not do it in a boat?

But then came a shock.

All John’s plans were put on hold when doctors told him he needed open-heart surgery.

But he wasn’t going to let that stand in his way. Two years after the operation and now he’s fully prepared for his epic journey.

Depending on prevailing weather conditions he starts his row from the Canary Islands tomorrow and hopes to make it to Barbados some 60 to 80 days later.

John’s journey of approximately 2,600 nautical miles could see him celebrate his 50th birthday on January 24 at sea.

But he reckons he’s up for it: “I decided to go solo on this adventure because I believe the crossing is a true test of mental and physical strength, not just while at sea but in the preparation for the challenge as well.

“It is a personal battle between me, the ocean and Mother Nature.”

John’s adventure will also raise funds for the The Prostate Cancer Charity and Breast Cancer Care.

n Log on to www.soloatlanticrow.com to make a donation and read John’s blog.