They must be nuts!


Between them, they have already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, run a marathon in the Arctic circle, kayaked down the Zambezi and driven a Mototaxi across Peru.

This week, four friends from Bristol are taking on their biggest challenge yet – to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic.

Despite no previous rowing experience, Mark Gibson, Jon Lakin and brothers Steve and Dan Baker, who together form the ‘Nuts over the Atlantic’ team, are taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which starts on December 12.

The foursome is taking on the challenge in aid of the Movember Foundation, a charity committed to eliminating testicular and
prostate cancer and helping tackle mental health issues amongst men.

To raise awareness of the challenge and generate support and sponsorship, Nuts over the Atlantic has completed their #NutsGoRow tour, a series of seven 36-hour non-stop rows all over the UK, with the last one taking place in London.

Friends Mark, 29, Jon, 29, Dan, 29 and Steve, 26, decided to take on a challenge to raise money for a worthy cause but also to inspire others to believe they are capable of such amazing feats.

University of Bath graduate Mark, who now works at the Ministry of Defence in Bristol, said: “I think a lot of people hear about
challenges like this and just think, ‘Well there’s no way I could do that.’ “But we are just four normal guys, none of us have done any rowing until now, so if we can do it, anyone can.”

They have set up a company, By the Hundred, through which they hope to take on more challenges in the future to empower others to believe no challenge is impossible.

Having joined Bristol Rowing Club, the four men have been training hard on the water and in the gym for the past year to build up the strength and muscle needed to survive the six-weeks at sea.

Jon, who works for Babcock, said: “The most important thing is making sure you put on enough muscle mass to sustain you for the
crossing as it is likely you will lose a lot of weight on the challenge.”

Leaving in December once the Hurricane season has finished, Team Nuts will head west from San Sebastian in the Canary Is- lands off West Africa and finish in Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour in Antigua.

Whilst the team is aiming to complete this crossing in a world record 40 days, the young men will need to be prepared for it taking more than 60. They will sleep in two-hour cycles alternating throughout.

The team is aiming to raise £100,000 to support the Movember Foundation. To help the team, visit uk.movember.com/donate/ payment/team_id/2232792

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.