Jo Moseley is rowing one million metres on a rowing machine for Macmillan Cancer Support. Catherine Scott finds out why.
Jo Moseley took up rowing after a friend suggested it might help her sleep.
“My mum had recently died of cancer and I wasn’t sleeping very well due to stress and all manner of things and then I just lost it in the supermarket one day with my sons. So a friend suggested taking up rowing,” explains mum of two Jo.
“She might just have been trying to get rid of her rowing machine but I gave it a go and loved it. I started to sleep better almost straight away.
“I wanted to join a rowing club but their is a huge waiting list for Leeds Rowing Club. I have two teenage sons and they were sick of tripping over the rowing machine and so I joined Craven Gym instead.”
Jo came up with the idea of an epic fund-raising row – to row one million metres (682 miles) – after her parents were both hit by cancer.
“My Dad has had breast, bowel and skin cancer and my Mum was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012,” explains Jo. “She underwent chemotherapy with great spirit and good humour. We thought she had made as good a recovery as can be possible but in November last year, she became poorly again.
“We were told weeks, maybe months. Two weeks later she died in Harrogate District Hospital with my Dad, sister and me by her side.
“When mum got poorly again I knew I wanted to do something for Macmillan who have been such a great support to us over the last few years. I needed something that I could fit in around work and children so I came up with the challenge to row a million metres on the Concept 2 rowing machine.”
Jo started on May 5, her parent’s wedding anniversary, and will finish it with a gala event in Ilkley on December 21, the first anniversary of her mum’s death.
She is already nearly half way and plans to complete her challenge by rowing a marathon, 42,195m.
“The goal is to raise £4,219.50 for Macmillan Cancer who have helped my family. I’m hoping December 21 will be quite a celebratory day, with fairy lights, a glitter ball, Mum loved Strictly Come Dancing, tea and cake. I’m inviting people to join me on the day for cake and row alongside me.”
Jo has currently done 412,000m and she recently went to a sports scientist for a specific technique assessment and marathon training plan. “He was brilliant and I’m much more clear about my plan for the next five months.”
Jo tries to do seven training sessions over two weeks and is often seen donning the Lycra at Craven Gym.
“I am defintely no gym bunny,” says the 49-year-old.
“I haven’t been in a gym for more than 20 years but they are so friendly. I try to do around two hours, which tends to be a half marathon and is a distance I love.
“I am very enthusiastic about what a fantastic sport it is, especially for people of my age as it is a full body workout and low impact on joints. Nothing gives you the same workout other than cross country skiing.
“It has helped me physically, mentally and emotionally as I come to terms with losing Mum. I cannot speak more highly of the monster of a machine it is.
“I’m setting up a blog to share my experiences and to encourage other people to have go .”
Jo has also found the use of social media, especially Twitter, really helpful.
“My fundraising is going well and I’ve had huge support from friends I’ve ‘met’ only via Twitter.
“As a busy working mum of two teenage boys, time is limited but social media helps spread the word about how fantastic Macmillan Cancer Support is and why I’m raising the money.
“Rowing a marathon is still quite a unique venture. Only two women in my age group (40-49) posted marathon rows in 2013-2014 in the UK, 31 worldwide. I think it’ll take me about four to four and a half hours. It is going to be really tough as it’s a long time to be sitting down, but I know with the support of all my friends and family I will do it.”
Jo has already raised more than £1,800 towards her target.
• Anyone who would like to sponsor Jo should visit www.justgiving.com/OneHappyRower/
You can follow her on Twitter @onehappyrower