Hannah Lawton Atlantic Crossing


  • “Not many people in life get to go to that deep, dark place, where you feel broken, helpless and insignificant. The place where everything seems to be against you. But rowing the Atlantic did that for me, it broke me down and I had to build myself back up. Which in itself is something I would strive to do again." – Hannah Lawton

One of the coaches cheering her rowers on this past weekend, Hannah Lawton, also knows the challenge…and failure of an Atlantic crossing by row boat. I’ve had to pleasure to get to know and work with Hannah with British Pararowing. She shared with me some of her reflections on her own ‘happy failure’.

  • “Out in the middle of the Atlantic, it’s an obsolete place. Boredom strikes on a daily basis, thoughts revolve around your head…past experiences, future ambitions, lessons learnt, feelings felt, why, when, where. It’s a cauldron of what ifs and future plans. Only to be dropped with a sudden thump as soon as you get off your tiny ocean rowing boat that had been your home for the last 4 months and you become overwhelmed by the wealth of people who were supporting you and the sheer emotion of seeing family and friends for the first time since the fog horn went on the start line.”

You would think that nearly 100 days of rowing would at least provide the dividend of unprecedented fitness…

  • “There were niggles for weeks after, niggles that made it hard to walk, let alone do anything else! But it was only when I got back into training that I noticed the true proportion of what the Atlantic had done to my body. It can be fixed, don’t get me wrong. But I’m talking about power, stability and strength. All of which seems to of been lost. General day to day work I hadn’t really noticed a change. Back on the ergo however and in the weights room, massive changes had occurred. I felt weaker than I ever had before.”

But what captivated me the most was her articulation of the very of the challenge…

  • “For a competitive person in a competitive environment it’s an endless fear of being judged, put aside because you aren’t hitting the target scores and above all the negative voice inside you that says why are you even bothering. But the struggle goes on.”