Proud of Stephen Shanly

Extreme challenges require a huge amount of hard work, dedication and not least, the right mindset.

Having taken part in many challenges all over the world, I can safely say that being physically fit isn’t enough – you need the strength of mind, a positive outlook and the support of others to get through the hardest moments.

Big Change, Solo Row, Atlantic, Stephen Shanly

My good friend and fellow Striver, Steve Shanly, has just completed a gruelling solo row across the Atlantic, spending almost two months alone in a boat and braving the elements in solitude.

It’s hard to even comprehend just how big a feat Steve has accomplished. The strain he will have undergone both physically and mentally will have been relentless, but he did it; and more than that, he did it with good humour and a smile on his face.

Steve is such an incredible human with so much love and energy and the vlogs he filmed and posted throughout the journey really capture his spirit and strength. They’re on Instagram and I really recommend checking them out.


Tuesday 16th (Day 13), 8:30am. Capsized three times last night, each time the sea anchor falls over the tiller. Each time I have to open the stern (rear) cabin, with waves crashing over, lean in and fix the mess, praying I don’t get capsized again while doing it, as that’s where my batteries are. There’s nothing to fasten these big heavy bags down, no hooks, no rings, nothing. I’m annoyed I didn’t think about this before. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail... I’ll have to think of something 🤔. (Day 13) 11:30am, I’ve rearranged everything at the back, stuffed some extra bags in, and used the spare rudder as a bracing wall to stop anything falling onto the tiller arm (steering arm). Hope it works. Getting used to arms only rowing is frustrating, but I’m getting there. (Day 13) 5:30pm. Really starting to notice myself going through the time zones now. I’m staying on UK time, as it’s best for communication. The sun isn’t up until about 8:40am now. And it’s disappearing at around 7:10pm ☀️. No idea what time I’m actually in now. My rowing feels pretty feeble, and my blow up cushion is already flat. I may have to sacrifice one of my fetching purple scatter cushions and increase the stroke pace. Each stroke is still a stroke closer though 🚣‍♂️ 💨. Tracker - #soloatlanticrow #3000milerow #bigchange #oceanunite #populationmatters #strive #sealife #virgin #leightons #theprojectpool #propdevcapital #fitforties #justsayyes #explore #love #laugh #live #justrow #pma #boats #shannersexpress #aboveandbeyond #extramile #shanners #barbados #grancanaria

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Setting sail in Gran Canaria and finishing in Barbados, Steve’s solo row was demanding and relentless – conditions were so severe at one point that he was left wet and cold for days, with all the boats contents thrown from ceiling to floor whilst battling to stay afloat!

I’m so proud of his drive and passion for life and attitude to tackling such a huge challenge the only way; by seeing it as an opportunity to learn and grow and by making it as fun as possible.

There will always be highs and lows during any challenge, but it’s when we dig deep and embrace the challenge for what it is and focus on what we want to achieve, that it becomes worthwhile. Above all, it's when we are broken to our core that we learn the most about ourselves and the world and grow in courage.

Huge well done to you Steve – you smashed it! – and thanks for raising funds for Big Change along the way. Better get planning the next adventure... Strive Challenge 2018?!

Sam :)


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