Sport

Invictus Games Athletes Row Hundreds Of Miles In Charity Challenge

Four competitors from Team UK completed 100 miles each on their indoor rowing machines to raise money for Help For Heroes.

Four athletes from Team UK's Invictus Games squad have been taking on a rowing challenge for charity during lockdown.

After the postponement of the 2020 Invictus Games, the quartet each started a 100-mile rowing challenge in an effort to raise money for Help For Heroes.

The 400-mile distance completed is equivalent of going from London to Edinburgh.

Chris Anslow spent 21 years in the Royal Engineers and went above and beyond during his rowing.

He racked up nine British indoor rowing records during his 100 miles, including racing away with 100 metres in just 17.2 seconds.

"This was going to be quite something for me to finish as I row in a static seated position using just my arms and shoulders to row with," Chris said.

"I just wanted to make sure during this global pandemic that we could keep Help for Heroes going and let somebody else get some help from them.

"If I was going to get some blisters on my hand doing this, I really didn’t mind that."

He was joined on the challenge by Kelly Leonard, who is the Team UK vice-captain.

She had a motorbike accident in 2000 which almost led to her having her foot amputated.

It has left her with arthritis in her ankle and needing to use crutches on bad days. 

The challenge has helped her stave off any mental health problems during the lockdown.

"I got on board with this challenge because I found when we went into lockdown and Invictus was postponed, it was difficult to get some focus and keep me training," she said.

“I’d get up and do the odd session and then the next day, there would be no accountability for me to do something.

"I found my mental health started spiralling.

"When I heard a couple of team-mates talking about the challenge, I jumped at it."

All four of the athletes were chosen as part of Team UK's Invictus Games 2020 squad ahead of the postponement.

Lucy Holt has been spearheading the money-raising effort for the team and you can donate here.

She suffered an injury while playing netball for the Royal Air Force and after three operations, she has limited movement in her foot.

The injury has caused the 27-year-old to suffer with mental health problems but she has loved being part of the challenge.

She said: "We set a challenge back in the beginning of June that we had to do 100 miles of rowing on our indoor rowing machines by 20 June.

"It has not been easy but we have completed it as a team.

"It has been amazing. We’ve had a love-hate relationship all the way through with our rowing machines.

"Together, we have completed it and the support that we have received has been amazing."

The idea for the rowing test first came from Warrant Officer Class 2 Vicki Ross.

She was struggling to adapt to the changes lockdown has brought and thought the charity challenge was a good way to keep herself busy.

She said: “Since the start of lockdown, the first week of working from home was a little bit crazy to say the least.

“At first it was nice to have a break but after a week, I knew I needed something to keep me going.

“I needed something to keep on top of my own mental health and my physical well-being.”

So far, the team have beat their target by raising over £1,500 for Help for Heroes.