Fan mail to: 17° 57.61 N, 042° 45.72 W
No, I didn’t receive any. I’m writing it. A first timer in 33 years. Last time I considered doing that I was 13 years old and the lucky recipient would have been Mark Owen from Take That. I didn’t end up doing it.
20 years onwards and equipped with slightly enhanced English skills, I’m giving it a try. Not to Mark though, sorry buddy. This letter is for a woman, a colleague, a friend.
While I’m currently writing this (10pm, Monday night), Olivia and the other incredible Row Like a Girl girls are probably lying in the cabins of their rowing boat “Mrs Nelson”, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They will be unable to row tonight, as a big storm with south-westerly winds has hit the fleet, forcing them to deploy their parachute anchor and waiting for the storm to pass – hopefully leaving the girls, the boat and all devices on board unharmed.
This is Day 23 of the race and just to get things into perspective: each girl on that boat has rowed about 270 hours and approx. 830 nautical miles by now within their 2 hours on, 2 hours off shifts. (Talking about perspective: I have eight blisters on my hands after rowing for 1 hour). Add massive waves, torrential rain, high winds, relentless seasickness and very painful salt water sores to the sleep deprivation and you get an idea of why this is called the world’s toughest row. If you’re not deeply impressed by these facts in itself – would it be helpful to tell you that the RLAG girls are holding 2nd position out of 26 very male boats (except 1) for more than a week now? I’m sure that many of the men out there wish they could Row Like a Girl?!
Talking about strong women: Olivia wrote a blog last year about the powerful type of girls that we see more of in recent marketing, and the shift from size zero towards healthier and more athletic (role) models. She also referred to the ‘This Girl Can’ and ‘Like a Girl’ campaigns, probably not knowing she herself would be an ambassador not even a year later. Olivia’s perception of this trend was also backed up by an article in the renowned German newspaper ‘Die Welt’ last year, an interesting read for the German speaking ones amongst you.
Olivia, Lauren, Bella & Gee: I’m taking my hat off, you girls are absolutely nuts and your unrivalled strong & positive spirit is an incredible inspiration to many women out there and the best proof that being strong and being female does not contradict, but wonderfully complement each other!
#THISGIRLCAN…or to be more precise: #WEGIRLSCAN!
To follow the challenge on their journey, check out the Yellowbrick race tracker for their daily progress to Antigua. If you would like to support the girls and their chosen charity Plan International, please donate through the RLAG website to make a difference to many other women’s life out there.