Shock and oar... rowers see off injury and sharks to complete Atlantic challenge

TWO Yorkshire rowers have completed one of the world's toughest races after battling injury and evading sharks while crossing the Atlantic.

Old school friends Alex Macdonald, 23, and Luke Grose, 24, completed the Woodvale Challenge Atlantic Rowing Race on Monday after setting off from the island of La Gomera near Tenerife on January 4.

During the gruelling contest, they struggled through storms, rowed alongside dolphins, crossed tanker lanes and even spotted sharks as they covered 3,000 miles in their boat, the JCT600 Yorkshire Challenger.

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The pair, from Settle in North Yorkshire, crossed the finish line in Antigua at 16.30GMT after rowing for 84 days, despite an early injury making it difficult for Mr Macdonald to participate during the first few weeks.

A 100-strong crowd, armed with banners, flares and champagne, welcomed the pair at English Harbour in Antigua, before the rowers enjoyed their first meal back on dry land – chicken and chips. The demands of the two hours on, two hours off rowing shifts led to the pair losing four stone in weight between them and they will spend the next four days on the island adjusting back to normality.

Mr Macdonald said: "It was an incredible experience, very tough mentally and physically at times, but worth every stroke. Arriving in English Harbour is something I will never forget and it was a privilege to go through the whole journey with Luke."

Mr Macdonald and Mr Grose, who have raised more than 10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, secured 16th place in the pairs competition and finished in 21st place overall out of 30 teams.

Another competitor, Matthew Mackaness, 28, originally from Harrogate and who now lives in London, took just under 68 days to complete the race with a fellow rower, Charlie Marlow, also 28 and from London, on March 13.

They finished in third place in the pairs contest and fifth overall.