SCHOOL friends from York are aiming to smash a world record by rowing across the Atlantic together.

Tom Riley, an NHS paramedic, and Rob Lucas, who works for a charity promoting cycling, both 31 and from Strensall, first met at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy.

The pair will join friends James Davidson, 38, and Justin Coleman, 56, who together have set their sights on breaking the Atlantic rowing world record by rowing 4,600 miles from Portugal to French Guiana.

Under the name ‘Mainland 2 Mainland Atlantic Four’, they will set out in December, and hope to complete the fastest crossing from mainland Europe to mainland South America. The current record stands at 48 days, four hours and 53 minutes.

The team aims to raise £20,000 for the charities Surfers Against Sewage and Our Blue Light - the latter supports emergency workers with their mental and physical health.

Rob said: “It took all of five minutes for me to say yes to this, it’s a huge challenge and I can’t wait to get started!”

The team are no strangers to challenges – in 2011 Tom and Rob cycled around the world, setting off from York Minster. Jim has walked the length of New Zealand, and Justin has already rowed the Atlantic in 2018.

“The enjoyment comes from pushing yourself to the limit and discovering what you’re capable of, we are also really looking forward to the isolation and solitude.”

They are in for a gruelling journey across the Atlantic, encountering 40-foot waves, hurricane winds, and temperatures reaching 40 degrees, battle through bruises, blisters, burns, fatigue and sleep deprivation.

The team has already been training hard for two years, rowing hundreds of miles in the North Sea and on rowing machines, strength training, and taking courses on sea survival, first aid, navigation and radio use.

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