2019 saw Marloe Watch Company be a part of its first event; Monster the Loch. It was everything we could have asked for as a corporate sponsor and Official Timekeeper, and brought to us many things that we didn't expect and hadn’t imagined. It was profoundly inspiring, moving, and resonates with us to this day. We came away knowing that we had been part of something meaningful, exciting and adventurous; all the things that make us tick as individuals and as a company.
So, when a group of local chaps in their mid-twenties approached us a few weeks ago, asking if we could help them with a challenge they were undertaking as Official Timekeepers, we were all ears. We just didn't know quite how big of a challenge it was going to be...
James, Lirim, Charlie and Rufus are a group of friends whose relationship is, very shortly, going to be tested to the limits. A software developer, a chef, a business development consultant and a student get into a 7m by 2m rowing boat for over a month... it sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it's far from it. It's the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. In just 6 days time, The Dorabros - named after the Dorado fish- are setting sail from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, to row across the Atlantic to Antigua, in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. They cannot accept help, food, water or repairs from support crews during their row, and they are racing against over 30 other crews. As you read, The Dorabros are undertaking final preparations in La Gomera; ensuring that their boat is ready, that their provisions are checked and stored safely, having their last chats and hugs with loved ones for a while, and trying to eat as much as is humanly possible to account for the 12kg each man is likely to lose during the challenge. The row can take anything from 35 days to over 90 days, taking in excess of 1.5 million strokes of the oar, and each member of the 4-person crew will row 2 hours on, 2 hours off for the duration - no days off.
The Dorabros will burn over 5000 calories per day, they will need to drink over 10 litres of water daily, and they will face anything and everything from 20 foot waves to painful salt sores, enormous blisters, and extreme fatigue right through to bumping into all manners of marine life and having to share a single bucket, in the open boat, for all bathroom activities. The team will also spend this Christmas Day away from their friends and family, with no means of communicating outside the boat, and with only each other for company, rowing across the Atlantic; there'll be no turkey or bottles of bubbly stashed in their carefully considered, weighed and streamlined rations. With only one of the four lads experienced in rowing, one lad whose greatest fear is open water, and all four already battle-worn from a year of extreme challenges, it's quite the endeavour.
It's the sort of challenge which most of us would balk at; but it's just the latest in a long list of extreme adventures that this group of friends have undertaken. Within the last year, they have run the Marathon de Sables across 251km of the Sahara - that's 6 marathons in 5 days, on sand, in searing heat- as well as cycling from 'Rome to Home', a 2,100km cycle through the Alps, completing an IronMan challenge, conquering a relay English Channel swim with nothing but goose fat for protection in freezing September waters, and holding a number of additional fundraising events in between. It's all for one reason; to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. They are aiming to raise a minimum of £100,000 to finance and support a new treatment unit at the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre in London. The boys regularly visit the hospital, where they spend time with the young patients who are taking on the biggest challenge of their lives. I am sure every reader knows someone who has lost their life to cancer; and I'm sure we are all too aware of its refusal to discriminate. Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly alike battle this disease on a daily basis; both them and their loved ones trying to keep strength and positivity in the face of arguably one of the most terrifying diagnoses possible.
Seven young people, aged 13-24, are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. Fighting cancer while trying to navigate the complexities of 'normal' teenage life is a challenge which few of us can fully comprehend, but it's one that the Dorabros are all too familiar with. Rufus lost his close friend Harry to a rare form of brain cancer in February, and James, Lirim and Charlie lost a school pal, Andre, to cancer after he battled through arduous treatment during their school days. In the eyes of the Dorabros, anyone who has faced cancer has endured more than anything that the Sahara, the Channel, or the Atlantic could throw at them. They are racing for those who can’t.
One example of a project the boys specifically want to support is the use of “Chemo Backpacks”; chemotherapy given in a portable backpack. This allows the treatment to be delivered to teens by the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre in London, during a supported exploration of the city, rather than being stuck on a hospital ward. Alongside the gruelling physical challenges of living with cancer, the mental and emotional toll is huge, and enabling young people to get out and about around London while undergoing treatment and to keep their mind off things wherever possible has a huge benefit in recuperation, recovery and in the fight against this awful disease.
The passion and heart that these young men have put into their efforts so far, and the courage with which they face the challenge ahead, is admirable and Marloe Watch Company would like to take this opportunity to wish them, once again, the very best of luck. We will be with them every step of the way, both in spirit and in the form of the Morar dive watch which each member of the crew will wear - a suitably robust timepiece to see them through this demanding challenge.
The Dorabros will be recording a video diary of their time at sea; look out for this upon their return. We're sure there will be some entertaining, awe-inspiring and moving content to share with you in the New Year once they safely reach land. We'll also be tracking them across the Atlantic and updating you on their progress over the festive period.
We believe in the power of the Marloe Watch Company community; so please, spare a thought on Christmas Day while you take your hard-earned turkey nap, not just for the lads as they continue their arduous row, but for the young people who are fighting cancer right now. Please consider donating - no matter how small an amount - via Justgiving or Virgin Money Giving today to make a real difference to these brave young people's lives, and to put a smile on the (most likely weathered and slightly gaunt) faces of the Dorabros when they reach Antigua to - hopefully - be greeted by the news that they have achieved their fundraising target.