Swindon couple to cross The Atlantic in 'world's toughest row'

By Tyler Ody - 15 January 2020


A four-man team to include a couple from Swindon is set to take part in a 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.

The 2020 Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge voyage, dubbed ‘the world’s toughest row’ will
see the team of four rowing non-stop for the target 45-day Atlantic crossing, with each of
them taking it in turns to row for two hours and sleep for two hours each day for the duration of their journey.

Brought together by their sense of adventure, the team chose their name Generation Gap in recognition of the 31-year age gap between its oldest and youngest members.

The team includes Loughborough father and daughter duo  a couple from Swindon Roger Staniforth, age 58, and
Brittany Staniforth, 27, and their friends Victoria Mico Egea, 29, and Edward Raymont, 28, a Royal Marine. Victoria will be the first Spanish woman to row the Atlantic.

The Generation Gap team is taking on the challenge in aid of Rural Assistance Nepal, Women’s Aid, Royal Marines Charity and Mind, with the ultimate goal of raising £100,000 to share between the four charities.

So far, several organisations have signed-up as the team’s sponsors and supporters, including ASAP Promotion, Gallagher, Hegarty’s Solicitors, Ian Dearman Media, Moore  Accountants, Nova Laboratories, Rare Disease Therapeutics, V Formation, and Anytime Fitness.

The team believes their balance of wisdom, experience and tenacity will help them to bridge  the generation gap and go the distance: “We each have different skills that we can bring to the table,” explains Brittany, “and the  diversity in the ages of our team members goes to show that there really are no barriers, especially age, when it comes to taking on challenges in life.” The team hopes that their combined experience of competing in endurance events will help
them face the gruelling challenge ahead, during which they will have to consume around
6,000 calories and ten litres of water each day to take on the 1.5 million oar strokes they’re
predicted to make over the duration of the race.

They will face 20ft waves – higher than a double decker bus - in their 28.35ft by 5.7ft boat, which has been built to order and is named ‘Mandy’ in honour of Roger’s wife and Brittany’s  mum.

As well as rowing, every five to six days the team will have to brave the Atlantic’s waters to  scrape the barnacles from the bottom of the boat.

“Having a father and daughter and boyfriend and girlfriend living in such a small space for  two months may be the real challenge in all this – we just hope we’ll all still be talking to  each other at the end!” Roger says. “Though we will be out on the open sea, feeling  claustrophobic can be a real issue, as there is nowhere to escape to.”

The team is already four months into an 18-month training programme necessary to
prepare physically for the endurance race, and having Anytime Fitness as a sponsor means the team has no excuses for skipping a gym session. Roger says: “Having Anytime Fitness as one of our sponsors is fantastic. With over 160 gyms across the country, the team is able to train anywhere!”

Last year, Anytime Fitness partnered with Mind, one of Generation Gap’s chosen charities, to educate people on the importance being physically active to support your mental health.

Roger says: “I will use my local Anytime Fitness in Loughborough for indoor training, Mico and Ed can use their local Swindon branch, and Britt the Anytime Fitness gym in Leeds.”

He adds: “We expect that exhaustion will be a big hurdle that we all have to overcome during the race, and  managing fatigue is something that is tough to train for. As well as the indoor training, we’re really looking forward to getting as much on-water training as possible over the next few months, going out on the boat at weekends and using indoor  rowers and weights during the week to increase our fitness levels. Our aim is to build  stamina, cardio and flexibility through endurance training.” If you are interested in sponsoring or supporting Generation Gap, and for details of where  you can meet the team and Mandy ahead of the race please visit:  https://atlanticgenerationgap.com

Follow the team on Instagram: @atlanticgenerationgap and on Facebook: Generation Gap

Generation Gap departs for La Gomera in December 2020.

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