Graiguenamanagh Rowing Club- Rowing across the Atlantic for Spinal Injuries Ireland

Rowing across the Atlantic for Spinal Injuries Ireland and breaking a few world records along the way 

During this lockdown period all the Graiguenamanagh rowing club members have been training at home on rowing machines instead of being on the water. They decided it would be interesting to see if they could combine all of their distances to row the width of the Atlantic Ocean in aid of Spinal Injuries Ireland. Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, they took part in the Rowing Ireland Virtual Regatta where a lot of Irish records and two world records were broken. 

Both Aifric Keogh and Sanita Puspure set new Half Marathon World Records in their categories. Aifric broke the record for the 19-29 category, beating Brooke Mooney’s (USA) time of 1:19:12.6 set this year. Aifric has now set the new world record at 01:18:59.9. Sanita has broken the world record previously held by Lauren Schmetterling (USA) who set the new record earlier this year with a time of 01:18:14.8 in the 30-39 category. Sanita has now set the new world record at 01:18:13.6. 

The Atlantic challenge was the brainchild of rower Dan Walsh whose girlfriend works as a nurse on the Spinal Unit in the Mater Hospital. Initially Dan signed up a total of 34 club members, including adults, teenagers and even a few kids with a wide variety of fitness levels to take part in this epic challenge. After 3 weeks of teamwork, motivation, determination and commitment the number of participants has increased to 50 and they are over halfway across the Atlantic with a massive 2,612KM under their belts, the total journey amounting to 4,600KM or 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua.

They are pushing ahead and plan to finish early this week. 

“This is not about getting there in a record time, it’s about enjoying rowing, keeping fit and raising awareness for a fantastic cause. Even though we can’t meet up as a club at the moment, through this event we have been brought closer together than ever before” says Dan. 

Spinal Injuries Ireland relies on fundraising to cover 60% of operating costs and due to the Covid 19 pandemic have had to several major fundraising events with estimated losses of €500,000. Head of Fundraising Phil O’Kelly explains “Community fundraising is vital to us at this time due to the obliteration of our main fundraising events. We are very grateful to Dan and the members of Graiguenamanagh Rowing Club for coming up with this collaborative challenge and choosing SII as the beneficiary. It ticks so many boxes in the current climate; – ensuring they stay fit and active, keeping them connected as a club, and raising funds for a deserving cause”. 

To support Dan and the team at Graiguenamanagh Rowing Club and monitor their progress please visit : 

FOR INFORMATION: Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) is the only support and service agency in Ireland for people who have sustained a spinal cord injury and their families. On average 3 people per week sustain a Spinal Cord Injury in Ireland and we currently have over 2,100 service users. In line with Government policy the Spinal Injuries Ireland team is working remotely continuing our services online and coming up with innovative ways of engaging with our community. The Outreach team has contacted service users by phone starting with those newly discharged from hospital followed by the most vulnerable and isolated. In March alone we had almost 2500 interactions with service users. Along with one to one support, services have been delivered via our online platforms. Weekly ezines engage with service users digitally with a wide variety of information and support, including messages of support and encouragement and HSE CV19 updates. We have shared relevant information from other organizations at home and worldwide who are dealing with Covid 19 and SCI. All of this has happened against a backdrop of our fundraising being completely obliterated. We rely on fundraising to cover 60% of our operational costs and although we have cut budgets for the year, we are still very carefully managing our cashflow. 

For more information please contact Lucy on 087 2355597 or


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