Powered by Kent: Helping four athletes take on the Atlantic Ocean

A team of sports scientists from Kent have supported Team “This Way Up” as they took on the ultimate challenge of rowing the Atlantic.

The four endurance athletes, Edward Ogden, Jos Pape, James Peet and Oliver Browne, had already between them climbed mountains, completed marathons and tackled triathlons. Having all recently turned 40, they were looking for their next challenge – and adventure.

They settled on the ultimate mental and physical test – rowing the Atlantic. As well as rowing the 3,000 miles, the team set themselves a goal of raising £250,00 for Starlight UK – who use the power of play to make the experience of illness and treatment better for children and their families.

For a challenge so big, the rowers enlisted a team of experts who study and prepare professional athletes every day. Their training and nutrition programme was been designed by PhD students from Kent’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSES) – which has developed expertise and a great reputation from working with high performance individuals and teams.

The team spent a couple of hours on the rowing machine most days, as well as doing weights, outside of any actual rowing at sea, with regular progress checks with the University team, to ensure that they were are peak fitness for the race start.

James Hopker, who heads up the Sports and Science team at Kent said: ‘Huge congratulations to Team This Way Up! They are now the 8th fastest crew to two across the Atlantic, and raised a tremendous amount for the Starlight Charity. It has been an honour working with them over the past year, helping them to prepare for their extraordinary challenge of rowing non-stop across the Atlantic. As well as prescribing training to improve the rowing related fitness, the team had access to our fantastic sports science laboratories and strength and conditioning facilities.’

The team completed the race in 32 days. 13 hours. 23 minutes, claiming 2nd place out of 43 boats and being the 8th fastest crossing of all time.

Of working with the team from SSES, Olly Browne said: ‘‘It has been such a great year and experience, really interesting and enjoyable to be a part of such a professional set up as amateurs to experience this professional training programme.’