Former heroin addict becomes fastest solo rower in 'world's toughest row'

Former heroin addict becomes fastest solo rower in 'world's toughest row'

Gavan Hennigan took part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (Stock image)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A former heroin addict has turned his life around and set a new record in the world's toughest rowing race.

Endurance athlete Gavan Hennigan has become the fastest-ever solo competitor in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, which has been dubbed the world’s toughest row, North West Evening Mail reported.

The challenge is to cross the Atlantic ocean and the course is 3,000 miles long. It took Hennigan 49 days, 11 hours and 37 minutes to complete the challenge.

He has also broken the record for the quickest Atlantic crossing by an Irish rower. The previous record holder, Sean McGowan, completed the crossing in 69 days. 

The row began on December 14 in the Canary Islands and finished in Antigua. The rower came third in the race, with two teams finishing above him.

As he arrived in the Caribbean he said: “It was pretty tough those last few days holding off the team behind me. I was rowing non-stop, but I was determined to finish third." 

Hennigan was previously addicted to heroin in the early 2000s, he turned to the drug after struggling to admit that he was gay and had been suicidal.

On the night before the challenge he told the Press Association: “I feel like having come back from the brink, that dark place in my mind, I don't feel like something like this challenge could faze me too much - this is just for fun."