JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two men will attempt a grueling, frightening and even dangerous trip across the Atlantic Ocean in a row boat.
Mat Steinlin and Ben Odom have been training for the challenge for more than two years in Northeast Florida. They’re raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast Florida.
“At first I thought it was crazy, but then it grew on me,” explains Odom.
It’s called the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. And many still might call it crazy.
The pair are crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a boat with no sail or engine. It’s only powered by the strength and endurance of Steinlin and Odom.
“We expect if we do our jobs correctly to make it between 40 and 50 days to the finish line,” explains Odom.
The men will spend more than a month on the open sea with no stops or resupplies. Training for something like this, as you can imagine, it’s no small feat.
Especially since they both didn’t even know how to row before this.
Steinlin says, “We have purposely exposed ourselves to as much and as worse conditions as you can, but it’s a different story rowing for 40 days being on the ocean obviously we can’t train for that.”
They’ve spent 130 hours training in the Atlantic off St. Augustine to prepare.
So why go through all of this, especially with no cash prize at the end? For them it’s more than just a challenge — they’re rowing to give kids battling cancer hope.
“A lot of these kids they don’t have a choice. They are suffering through critical illnesses and we have met some of the kids. Sophia is one of them, she is so strong. She is so persistent and against all odds she makes such amazing progress.”
Their goal is to raise $50,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast Florida. A goal they say will make the grueling hours of sacrifice worth it in the end.
“We want to help grant wishes for kids,” says Odom.
The challenge starts December 12th and they’ve already raised $10,000 for the foundation. To learn more about their journey, go to row4hope.com.
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