A 23-year-old woman just set the Talisker Challenge record for the fastest solo row across the Atlantic.
Departing from the Canary Islands on the 10th of December, Mariam Payne rowed 59 days, 16 hours, and 36 minutes, before arriving in Antigua last Friday.
The extraordinary feat was accomplished to raise money for the east Yorkshire charity Wellbeing of Women and Mind, Hull and East Yorkshire for which more than €13,000 ($14,200) was raised.
“The last eight to 10 miles were actually really hard,” Payne told the BBC. “It’s that point where you know you’re there and you’ve done it, but you just have to finish it off. So eight miles is nothing in the grand scheme of 3,000 or whatever, but it felt like some of the longest.”
The event was the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, described as the toughest endurance event on Earth. No support is allowed—all food, water, and other necessities must be brought along. Talisker describes the Atlantic Challenge thusly.
“Sleep deprivation, hallucinations, hunger and the ultimate test of body and mind will be balanced by sighting incredible marine life, witnessing the breaking of a new day and sun sets that cannot be viewed by land.”
Payne rowed 15 hours per day alone in the vast Atlantic Ocean during 86°F days with strong winds. She spent Christmas Day rowing, and during parts of the journey was closer to crew on the International Space Station than to anyone else.
NASA Awards Canfield Students Flight Opportunity in TechRise Challenge(Opens in a new browser tab)“The week before last, I thought I wasn’t going to get the record anymore because the wind dropped and I was going nowhere,” she told The Guardian. “There was one day where I rowed for 18 hours and I got less than 10 miles, so that was pretty demoralizing. I could just feel the race record slipping away.”
She felt she received a burst of energy when, approaching Antigua, she could hear the screams from her family and friends waiting for her.
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