ROWING across the Atlantic Ocean is the task that lies ahead for a Bradford on Avon woman who is busy training for the gargantuan challenge.

Alison Wannell, of Church Street, and three friends from London will set off on the challenge of a lifetime on December 12, 2017, to row 3000miles for mental health charity Mind and Combat Stress.

The 38-year-old, one of only a few women entered in the race, will set off from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands and finishing between 40-90 days later in Antigua as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - something she cannot wait for.

"I am really looking forward to this venture. Sometimes late at night I wonder what I am doing and am aware that it is only going to get worse the closer we get but I am as equally excited," said Ms Wannell.

"I really want to do this but not unsurprisingly there is not a large pool of crewmates to choose from. Ocean rowing is a dangerous sport.

"If I had waited for the possibility of an all woman crew, I might have missed out. I did not want being a woman to stop me achieving my goal and am lucky to have found three great guys to share this experience with.

"Women may be put off by thinking that a red face and getting sweaty is not very ladylike but after a hot shower I feel like a million dollars and ready to take on the world."

The crew will row in pairs in two hour shifts around the clock and will be in a 24ft x 6ft boat which will carry the required equipment, food and a water mater that turns sea water into drinking water.

As well as the gruelling shift pattern causing sleep deprivation, the crew will face blisters, saltwater sores, seasickness and bruised and battered bodies, as well as being at the mercy of huge waves, scorching temperatures and powerful winds.

"This is something that has been on my radar for a while and now it is time to push myself," said Ms Wannell, who has been rowing on and off for 19 years and is currently training at the town's rowing club.

"There will be some incredibly scary moments but I am looking forward to the physical and mental challenge. I am 38 now and if we do not get to Antigua by mid-February I risk spending my 40th birthday out on the Atlantic."

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