LAURA TRY danced from a young age but was never a particularly sporty person. This all changed when she decided to get fit before hitting 30 and she started hitting the gym and running.
It wasn’t long before she found herself entering races and then marathons – she had well and truly caught the ‘running bug’.
At the end of last year Laura became interested in a new sport and decided to set herself the challenge to row around the coast of Great Britain. Here she talks to us about what inspired her to take on that challenge and the charity she’ll be raising money for.
Read on to find out about Laura’s hopes and fears from the row as well as other challenges she has planned for the future!
Have you always been a sporty person and if so what are any early memorable sporting moments or successes you had?
I wouldn’t say I have always been a sporty person. I was a dancer from the age of three. I took part in dance competitions all over the UK form a young age which is where I think I got my competitive streak from. It also gave me great foundation for strength, flexibility and fitness.
As for sports, I wasn’t really into them. I wasn’t that fast at running, not great at netball, terrible at gymnastics and only really cared about dancing.
My most memorable sporting moment, if you can call it that, was winning a bronze medal at the England finals dressed as Mr Fox in a dancing competition.
Tell us about some of the adventures and challenges you’ve been on in recent years and what charities you’ve raised money for?
I started running at the age of 29. After being a gym bunny for many years, i wanted to be able to run in the countryside and up mountains. Approaching 30 was a big thing for me and that was enough to buy me a pair of trainers and get better at running.
My first run was 1.4 miles and was a disaster! I ran to the bridge at the end of my road and back and I barely made it home in one piece. My knees hurt. My lungs were burning and I was extremely frustrated. I thought it would be easier.
After a few weeks of training I was up to 5k and started taking part in obstacle course events. It started with 5k and then 10k, which then became half marathons and marathons. The more I pushed, the more I found I wanted more.
Eventually, this lead me onto a 48-hour adventure race in the Peak District. An event that involved physical and mental challenges, all with no sleep and whilst carrying all my own food and water for the entire event. It was tough and I loved it! I realised I could push beyond what I thought possible which then left me wanting more.
When did you come up with the idea to row the 1,800 miles around the coast of Great Britain and why did you choose to raise money for the charity CentrePoint?
I originally saw the event advertised on Facebook. I had already entered into a race to row row across the Atlantic ocean, so open rowing was on my radar. When I saw this I thought it would be a great ‘warm-up’ for the Atlantic, but it turns out this challenge is meant to be tougher!
Centrepoint is the UK’s largest charity for homeless young people aged between 16 and 25. I chose the charity because I, myself, was homeless for three months during 2016. I wasn’t sleeping on the streets but was sofa surfing at friends’ houses and sometimes had to sleep in my van in supermarket car parks. It was an extremely scary and low point in my life and now I am in a good job and have a home, I want to make a difference to other people’s lives with no where to live.
How can people get behind you and donate to the cause?
The challenge is costing £21,000 to take part in. This covers the cost of hiring the boat, purchasing the safety equipment and all the necessary kit to keep me going for 56 days.
I do not earn enough money to pay for the entire challenge myself so have been seeking sponsorship from individuals, businesses and companies to support me.
I still have a little way to go to reach my goal. You can support my challenge at www.gofundme.com/ltfactor.
I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube at @LTFactor.
When did you start rowing and how intense has your training had to be to prepare yourself for June?
I started rowing in October 2015 when I agreed to row across the Atlantic with three friends.
Having had no rowing experience whatsoever ever, I bought a concept2 rowing machine and trained every morning, pulling my technique apart until I got it right.
I have very little experience of rowing on the water as I am not part of a rowing club and do not live near the water. But this is all part of my plan to demonstrate you don’t need experience (or money) to make things happen.
I was training twice per day for nearly a year – rowing in the morning in my shed and then weight lifting in the evening. Sadly, I have had to reduce my training significantly as I am spending so much time fundraising for the challenge. I can be as strong as an ox but if i do not have the finances, I won’t be able to get anywhere.
What are you most looking forward to about the row and what do you think will be the toughest elements of the challenge?
I am most looking forward to taking just three pairs of clothes and living a simple life. I imagine myself being like Pi from The Life of Pi (except no tiger).
Seeing our beautiful British coastline is going to be a dream, and seeing the sky full of stars at night in the Scottish Highlands is going to be magic.
But navigating through the Irish sea and the Scottish Islands is going to be tough. Our boat is tiny and doesn’t weigh much so if Mother Nature decides to take us off course, we are going to have to row hard and stay on the ball!
Tell us about your blog and who you try to reach out to?
My blog covers my adventures, fitness articles, recipes and random thoughts that help keep me inspired.
I like to demonstrate that having less material items and more experiences makes for a happier, more fulfilled life.
And that we don’t need lots of money and experience to make our dreams come true.
I hope that people will follow my journey because I am a normal girl (well, maybe not normal), with a normal background showing that extraordinary things can be done when we put our minds to it.
There’s no fuss, its say what see and having a good time.
Do you have any other challenges and projects planned for after June and if so what are they?
When I get back from rowing around Great Britain, I would love to cycle around Great Britain and then run. I have been offered to become the first women to ‘RoadRower’ from Landsend to John O’Groats and also plan on doing the Penine Way so there is lots in the pipeline!
I am also still planning to row across the Atlantic in December 2018. I have a cunning plan on how I am going to raise the £100,000 needed to do this and will reveal all when I get back from my GB row. I’d love to find a female to join me in this, as there’s a female pairs World Record up for grabs and think it has my name on it!