TRAINING is well under way for this
year’s Ark-low to Aberystwyth Celtic Challenge, and as a club we are aiming to build on the men's fantastic achievement of winning the biennial race in 2010.
men hope to beat the winning time in 2010 of 14 hours, 47 minutes and 50
seconds, and have been following a tough training schedule throughout the
winter, rowing in all conditions, to be in peak condition when the race takes
place in May.
This year Aberdyfi Rowing Club is also entering an enthusiastic
ladies team who will be taking part in the gruelling challenge for the first
time. Both teams can be seen regularly out training in all weathers on the Dyfi
estuary and out to sea.
Club captain Alun Stedman , men's captain Paul Chesworth and ladies captain Jude Evans confirm that both men and ladies teams are showing great commitment to training and thank all those in the club who have been helping out every training session, whether rowing or coxing.
The Celtic Challenge is one of the World’s longest true
rowing races and starts in Arklow in County Wicklow to finish in Aberystwyth,
covering a distance of over 96 nautical miles across the Irish Sea. It involves
Celtic and Pembrokeshire longboats, about 8m long, with four fixed seats and one
cox. Each team consists of 12 people, who take it in turns to row, spending the
time in between on a support boat.
A small inflatable is used to transfer people
between the support boat and the rowing boat. How often teams swap rowers, and
how people are utilised, is all part of the race tactics. The race is an extreme
test of endurance, with rowers being exposed to the elements through the night,
and it generally takes between 15 and 24 hours to complete, depending on the
The origins of the race go back to 1989 when a crew from Aberystwyth
RNLI rowed from Ark-low to Aberystwyth to raise money for Bronglais Hospital,
taking well over 22 hours to complete it.
In 1991 the Lifeboat crew did another
sponsored row from Arklow to Aberystwyth, raising money towards the new Lifeboat
Station at Aberystwyth. It was from these two sponsored crossings from Arklow
that the idea for the Celtic Challenge was conceived and in 1993 the first Celtic
Challenge Rowing race took place. Else thing is you may need fashion replica handbags
Since then it has taken place seven times,
every two years, with the exception of 2004 when it was cancelled due to bad
weather. The 2012 event promises to the biggest in history, with 22 teams
preparing to compete.
One notable absentee, however, will be the Arklow men, who
have competed in the challenge since it began in 1989, and have been winners on
several occasions. This year’s race also marks the end of an era, with the
retirement of three integral committee members, Dai and Sonia Jenkins, and Alan
The Celtic Challenge begins in Arklow between 4 and 7 May, depending on
the weather conditions.
Not so far away now....!