Robust Girls: ‘I learnt to swim final 12 months, now I hope to be the oldest girl to row the Atlantic solo’

Robust Girls is a sequence that celebrates range on the planet of sport and health.

Somewhat than presenting a singular picture of the ‘superb’ feminine type, this sequence champions girls of all ages, races, sizes and skills who’re match, sturdy and love their our bodies.

Sport England discovered that 40% of girls are postpone being bodily energetic due to a concern of judgement, and that’s what we wish to change.

Every week we communicate to inspirational girls who’re redefining what it means to be sturdy and difficult preconceptions.

Shirley Thompson is 61 and solely took up rowing final 12 months. In three months she’s going to try to grow to be the oldest girl to row the Atlantic solo.

She tried the problem final 12 months however needed to be rescued by a helicopter when her boat started to sink – however she’s not going to let that put her off.

Shirley Thompson on a boat

‘I’ve grow to be more and more pissed off by how society tends to low cost older girls.’ (Image: Shirley Thompson)

What impressed you to undertake such an unimaginable problem?

I wished to do one thing monumental to have fun being 60.

As I’ve bought older, I’ve grow to be more and more pissed off by how society tends to low cost older girls – particularly within the profession area and as soon as we attain menopause and past.

I wish to show to myself and to others that age is only a quantity and that somebody bizarre can do one thing extraordinary.

What does rowing imply to you?

I solely took up rowing final summer season, which can be once I learnt to swim!

I’m an extremely runner and have been since my early forties, however I wished to tackle a problem exterior of my consolation zone, therefore the ocean row – as I don’t actually just like the water.

In actual fact I set off final November, however after 17 days at sea my boat began to sink, I misplaced all my electrics and I needed to be rescued.

I’m decided to get throughout so I’ve put all my vitality into rescuing my boat and getting it repaired and again on the water in a few months.

Shirley Thompson rowing her boat

‘If I really feel frightened, I’ll shut my eyes and consider Paddington Bear my canine.’ (Image: Shirley Thompson)

What has been the toughest factor about coaching?

To be trustworthy, the toughest a part of this entire course of is attending to the beginning.

Shopping for a ship, making ready it, elevating company sponsorship, making ready for 3 months at sea. I attempt to hold match, and naturally I’ve spent many, many hours on the water and on a rowing machine.

I’m most nervous about capsizes and in addition having to get into the ocean and clear the hull of the boat figuring out the ocean will be will be 5km deep.

What is going to it imply to you to finish this problem?

I shall be comfortable to have examined myself to the max and having managed the crossing.

I do know issues may get actually robust on the market, however I’ve a number of issues that can hold me going. Firstly, my mantra: ‘how do you eat an elephant? One chunk at a time!’ One coping mechanism I’ve is to by no means take a look at the problem as an entire – simply in little items.

If I really feel frightened, I’ll shut my eyes and consider Paddington Bear my canine, and snuggling as much as him – that can assist me to really feel comforted.

Additionally, I not too long ago needed to put my different canine, Pixie Belle, to sleep. I’m taking her ashes with me to scatter within the ocean (she was a Newfoundland, so a water canine) and I count on I’ll speak to her ashes once I really feel low.


‘I’m sturdy as a result of I’m a lady, however no much less or greater than different girls.’ (Image: Shirley Thompson)

What does the time period ‘sturdy girl’ imply to you?

I believe all girls are sturdy. Regardless of makes an attempt to vary the stability, girls nonetheless typically should struggle to be heard, appreciated or valued.

I’m sturdy as a result of I’m a lady, however no much less or greater than different girls. All of us have an unimaginable inside energy.

I’d love folks to understand that older girls are as succesful as older males and as succesful as youthful girls.

For me, age has introduced elevated my knowledge, my psychological tenacity and my dedication. As I’m a agency believer that the psychological drives the bodily, it will likely be my psychological energy that can hopefully get me throughout.

I’m Staff GB

Toyota has teamed up with Staff GB to re-launch the vastly profitable participation marketing campaign ‘I’m Staff GB’.

Impressed by the achievements of Staff GB athletes and the superb efforts of area people heroes, Staff GB has created ‘The Nation’s Largest Sports activities Day’, which can happen on the 24thAugust.

Over the weekend, there shall be tons of of free and enjoyable actions throughout the nation, placed on by a military of volunteers; the ‘I’m Staff GB Video games Makers’.

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