Indoor rowers set new 30-hour record to raise men’s mental health awareness
Isaac Kenyon, Alex Pierrot and Graham Moore finished their marathon row on 25 November after clocking up 320,000m, and have raised over £1,250 so far
Isaac Kenyon, 29, a British adventurer and endurance athlete based in Devon, Alex Pierrot, 28, an IT Engineer, and PhD student Graham Moore, 26 (both based in London) successfully extended the previous 26-hour world record for the longest continual Lightweight indoor row by a small, male-only team aged 20-29 using a single indoor rowing machine to a truly gruelling 30 hours.
Rowing in one-hour rotations, which meant that each man did 10 one-hour shifts, they competed their goal at 1pm on Saturday, 25 November 2023, at Rowbots City fitness studio, in east London, after starting at 7am the previous day.
Their dual aims were to encourage people to talk about men’s mental health issues and to raise £2,000 as part of the annual ‘Movember’ campaign and movement, which funds mental health projects worldwide.
“We believe you can live well with a mental health condition, so long as you open up to somebody about it”
“We chose this particular challenge because it symbolically highlights how battling with your mental health can leave you “trapped”, but getting support from others can help you through them,” Isaac explains. “All three of us have had our own struggles with mental health and have bravely shared our experiences. This played a pivotal role in our healing journeys. We believe you can live well with a mental health condition, so long as you open up to somebody about it and build a support network around you.” Incredibly, Alex and Graham were new to endurance rowing of this kind. “I was really pleased to see them just absolutely smash it out of the park,” Isaac said.
Having a support network proved crucial to achieving the challenge. “The night shifts between 12 am and 6 am were incredibly hard because our body clocks were screaming at us to go to sleep. But we got through it by engaging each other in conversation and getting food or drink for the person rowing. We also did lots of positive self-talk to overcome the negative emotions and that kept us going.”
Isaac added, “Lots of supporters came and visited us – coworkers as well as family, friends – and we had all sorts of amazing mental health conversations. Knowing we were helping to open up conversations around men’s mental health and encouraging and inspiring men to talk to someone to get help was really motivating. All three of our partners stayed with us all the way through the night, they were really our rocks. A lot of people supported us online too. which was incredible.”
The money they are raising will go to Movember, and their fundraising link is still live – can you help them get over the line on that part of their challenge too?
Isaac’s final word is, “We worry about the quiet ones – the ones who (we) may not know have issues – and we would really love it if those people could find the courage to open up like we did as things will get better.”