June 9, 2021 3.48 pm

Rower with MS to tackle 100km challenge for Boston community project

Good luck Lucy!

A woman with Multiple Sclerosis is raising money for a Lincolnshire community project by rowing 100km from Boston Rowing Club to Lincoln and back.

Lucy Radley, who is from Teeside but is well known in Boston and with the local rowing club, will take on the challenge with the support of non-profit organisation London Youth Rowing (LYR), on Saturday, June 12.

The challenge will see Lucy, who was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) in 2006, attempt 12 hours of continuous rowing. She has previously done five Boston Rowing Marathons over the years and holds the women’s para-rowing record for it.

It is believed that nobody has ever done it there and back in a single scull before – a total of 100km – so the 44-year-old wanted to give it a go.

She will be accompanied by her friend – triple Olympic gold medalist Andrew Triggs Hodge – who is the Director of LYR and will cycle alongside her. He formed a friendship with her after Lucy participated in endurance events hosted by LYR back in 2016.

Lucy will be raising money for the Boston Rowing Community Programme to support young people at Haven High School. Money raised will help with funding a coach to run the programme for an academic year, as well as costs for equipment and resources – you can make a donation here.

Lucy (left) pictured with her friend Angie (right) at the end of the Boston Rowing Marathon in 2018.

The former long-distance lorry driver discovered her love for rowing after her diagnosis. She had hated sport at school and did her best to avoid it, but after her diagnosis of PPMS and finding out there’s no treatment she wanted to lose excess weight.

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 her condition. She got a new lease of life joining a local rowing club, and she was able to walk again as a result.

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

Lucy turned to rowing to help increase her mobility and slow down the onset of the physical symptoms of her condition.

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.”

Andrew 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.”

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