Rower with MS aims to complete gruelling 100km return trip from Boston to Lincoln

Ultra-marathon rower Lucy Radley, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, will attempt to row 100km from Boston Rowing Club to Lincoln and back tomorrow (Saturday).

Lucy Radley

The gruelling trip will see her embark on around 12 hours of continuous rowing to raise money for the Boston Rowing Community Programme, to support young people of the Haven High School in Boston which has an above average proportion of disadvantaged children.

Money raised will help with funding a coach to run the programme for an academic year as well as costs for equipment and resources.

Triple Olympic gold medalist rower Andrew Triggs Hodge, now director with non-profit organisation London Youth Rowing (LYR) which is supporting Lucy will accompany her during her row, cycling alongside her.

Lucy, who took up rowing following her diagnosis, is a former long-distance lorry driver from the Teeside area, but has strong links to Boston and the rowing club.

Fifteen years ago, former long-distance lorry driver Lucy was diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS).

Within two years of her diagnosis, she found it very difficult to walk and turned to rowing to help increase her mobility and slow down the onset of the physical symptoms of the disease.

She went from a beginner’s class at her local rowing club ten years ago to have now become an ultra-marathon rower training who trains six days a week.

Lucy said: “I use rowing to keep me walking, but I don't run my life around MS. Training for these events gives me a goal that is nothing to do with disease and disability, and hence keeps me motivated.

“My greatest achievement though, is that I am now 15 years post-PPMS diagnosis and, by training six days a week in the boat/on the erg (when forced) I'm still walking. Which I'm told I shouldn't be by this stage. So, for me, that's what matters, that's what keeps me going, so that'll do.”

Andy Triggs Hodge said: “Lucy is a force of nature; she is a passionate person who gives and gives. She mucks in where others fear to tread and it's because of her and people like her the sport of rowing operates at all - it's thankless hard work.

“However, her love for the sport and the challenges she takes on does not stop there: she is challenging herself to an incredible 100km row; in one go which will take around 12 hours of near continuous rowing. This feat is to be feared, and it will make any rowing Olympian quiver with dread.”