RAF four will row Atlantic in race for three charities

Witney Gazette: Team members, from left, Howard Raw, Jane McIntosh, Liz Herbert and Warren Burns Team members, from left, Howard Raw, Jane McIntosh, Liz Herbert and Warren Burns

THEY have more than 30 years military experience between them and have faced challenging conditions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

But now a team of four at RAF Brize Norton is preparing to take on one of its toughest challenges yet in an attempt to become the world’s first mixed sex military team to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

The group will be rowing two hours on, two hours off for 24 hours per day over 3,000 nautical miles for at least 50 days.

They will endure tropical storms, sleep deprivation, sweltering heat and psychological stresses.

Jane McIntosh, air loadmaster on 216 Squadron, Warren Burns, aircraft technician on 216 Squadron, Elizabeth Herbert, pilot for 216 Squadron, and Howard Raw, air loadmaster on 47 Squadron, will set off on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on December 2.

The challenge will see a number of teams paddle their way across the ocean in a frenzied bid to row from La Gomera, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, to Antigua.

They will face waves more than 40 feet high and burn about 8,000 calories per day, losing around 20 per cent of their body weight during the race.

Miss McIntosh, 34, who splits her time between Brize Norton and her home in Worcestershire, told the Oxford Mail: “None of us have ever done anything like this before.

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“We have been doing lots of training, regularly rowing and doing lots of running and swimming.

“I just thought this has got to be the ultimate challenge and at the same time we could raise money for charities.

“It will be the biggest adventure of our life.”

The foursome – dubbed Team Atlantic Forces – will raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, Action for Children and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

There is a personal incentive for the epic journey.

Ms McIntosh said: “I sadly lost my father Jim two years ago after a long battle with dementia.

“My dad was my rock. He introduced me to sailing at a young age and instilled in me a love of the sea.

“A keen rower and captain of the RAF Brize Norton Rowing Club, I introduced my teammates to rowing and we’re all looking forward to completing this amazing challenge.

“Each of us holds our chosen charities close to our hearts and we hope to raise both awareness and funds for the causes.”

Event spokeswoman Sophie Brookes said: “We are delighted that Team Atlantic Forces have signed up to the race and wish them all the best.”

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