Rower breaks three records in challenge

A DEDICATED fundraiser smashed three world records in a gruelling 80 hour indoor rowing challenge.

Neal Marsh, 46, of Timberleys, Littlehampton, covered 578,900 metres and has so far raised £2,450 for the Love Your Hospital charity, with the money going towards equipment for Worthing Hospital’s neonatal unit.

The Worthing Rowing Club member and Atlantic Splash skipper started his attempt at 9am last Thursday and after 26 hours broke the first record for the time rowed for someone of his age and weight.

The second world record was for the total distance he rowed and the third for completing 80 continuous hours – beating the previous record held by a New Zealander by six hours.

Neal said: “I was absolutely ecstatic.

“Everybody around me – my family, my friends, hospital staff and sponsors were just amazing.”

As sleep deprivation became a factor, Neal said he pictured himself in various locations, from a field to mountain range. However, he was always aware of what was real and what was not.

In the build-up to the challenge, Neal ran from Littlehampton to Bexhill, the equivalent to a double marathon and practised depriving his body of sleep.

Following his Atlantic Splash disappointment last year (Neal was part of a team which attempted to row across the Atlantic, only for adverse weather conditions to end their effort just days into the journey) Neal said he felt like he needed to give something back to the community.

“To be out of it relatively quickly, I think it was a big letdown to everybody. I was the skipper. I felt I wanted to put something back into the local community because it helped so much. I wanted to really prove to myself that I can do this.”

As a nod to the Atlantic challenge, Neal’s indoor row took place a year to the day of the attempt.

During his three-day stint in the hospital, 22 babies were born – seven of whom needed to be cared for in the special baby unit.

“It’s quite a profound stat,” said Neal. “That’s quite a high proportion when you think about it.”

JSPC Computer Services and Freedom Leisure sponsored Neal’s record attempt.

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