Before heading to Oregon for the massive Gorge Paddle Challenge next week, I decided I needed one last European summer adventure. So when the local paddlers from the island of Jersey* invited me over for a race called the ‘Round Island Challenge’ I was seriously considering it.
It sounded like a real adventure: Paddling 55kms (34 miles) non-stop around an island steeped in history. However, when they explained it was all to raise money for a very worthy charity, I decided that my lack of training and general fear of endurance competition was no excuse. Next stop: Jersey.
LET’S RACE AROUND AN ISLAND…
Jersey’s ‘Round Island Challenge‘ is a unique event that definitely lives up to its name: this is going to be a challenge in every sense of the word.
Competitors can run, swim, or paddle their way around the island, with the paddling option being about 55kms. I say “about” because the exact length depends on tidal flows: Jersey has some of the biggest tides in the world, and at low tide this island’s land mass grows by 30%.
It’s a non-stop race, so it’ll probably take the fastest paddlers about 6 hours. For the rest of us, much longer.
Though it seems like less of a race and more of a personal challenge; I’d say most of us (me in particular) will just be happy to reach the finish.
The Round Island Challenge is happening this Sunday (about 24 hours from now), when I’ll be joining the enthusiastic (but also quite clearly bonkers) local paddling community for an almighty adventure.
ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE
We’re doing this race for the fun, the challenge and the spirit of adventure, however we’re also doing it for something much more important.
Everyone that competes in the Round Island Challenge is raising money for the Grace Crocker Family Support Foundation, a Jersey charity that supports families with sick children needing treatment over in the UK.
There must be nothing worse than having a seriously ill young child, and the last thing you want to think about is how to cover your travel expenses or pay the rent while you’re sitting bedside in a hospital far from home.
I think it’s a really important cause, and I know that when I inevitably hit the wall halfway through Sunday’s race, I’ll be channeling my inner-Dave Kalama (“Don’t Get Back in The Boat.”) and thinking of those families to make sure I don’t give up.
So, if you want to see me suffer my way through 34 miles of open ocean paddling – that’s longer than Molokai – on the back of very little training (read: none), then please click the link below to donate if you can.
SUFFERING RACE LIVE
The runners will be doing the race Saturday, while all of us ocean competitors (SUP, surf ski, prone, rowing, swimming) will be out there on Sunday. The challenge begins about 9:45am British time on Sunday, and I don’t expect to finish til late afternoon.
You can track us with the LIVE GPS TRACKING MAP.
I figured I’ll probably be taking quite a few rest stops along the way so might as well make good use of them!
Mercifully, I’ll now be doing the race in an OC-1 (one man outrigger canoe). I didn’t want to keep everyone waiting at the finish, so I figured I’d take the fastest craft I could find.
And remember: donate if you can. That’s what this Round Island Challenge is all about.
* Where/what is Jersey? No, we’re not in “New” Jersey, we’re in old Jersey. It’s kind of British but is located right off the coast of France. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s actually a country or not…