"This adventure will be a great advert for our distance learning programmes, potentially for years to come."
Dr Tony Craig, Associate Professor in Modern History
A Staffordshire graduate has this week set sail in a solo attempt to complete the World's Toughest Row.
MA Intelligence and International Relations graduate, and British Army Officer, David 'Wez' Weston is attempting the 3000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge.
Father of two, David, from Cheshire, is tackling the 60-90 day journey from La Gomera to Antigua in aid of The British Heart Foundation and The Intelligence Corps Association. Staffordshire University is supporting the challenge, contributing towards the cost of specialist rowing equipment.
David, who has taken on many challenges before – from marathons, cycling, skydiving and sailing – has only taken 92 days worth of food and plans to row 50 miles every day.
David said: “I'm going to row two hours on, two hours off, seven days a week until the thing is done. So I think when I get into week two, three, four, five and six and onwards, my body is going to hate me.”
As the only British solo competitor, David is aiming to row to victory.
He added “A successful crossing for me would be a safe one. However it is a race, so if I'm in a position where I can compete then I'm definitely going to go for it.”
Dr Tony Craig, Associate Professor in Modern History, said: “This adventure will be a great advert for our distance learning programmes, potentially for years to come. Now all Dave has to do is row the Atlantic. Fingers crossed for him.”
David has to follow a strict set of rules, and apart from the occasional use of a satellite phone, he will have no contact with the outside world. Neither he nor his boat, Ravi, can take any repair or additional help, in the form of or food and water, for the duration of the crossing.
The two charities are special to David and The British Heart Foundation (BHF) was chosen because David's brother-in-law underwent a heart transplant in 2015.
“It was tough going at one stage, but thanks to BHF and the really good work of the hospital that he was in, he's in good health and he's back at work.”
The Intelligence Corps is also a charity that David wanted to give something back to.
“I've seen exactly what they do, how they help out people who have fallen on hard times previously. And the guys that we've lost, I've seen how they deal with their families.”
Anyone who would like to support David and donate to his chosen charities can do so here.