Inspiring Business by Sharing Success


Risk management and insurance broking advisers, JLT Specialty, which has offices in Nottingham is backing a former Nottingham University graduate in a quest to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Nottingham based company ‘PlayerLayer’ has also agreed to be a sports clothing sponsor.

Max Thorpe and team mate Chris Williams are planning to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which involves rowing east to west across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted from La Gomera to Antigua. The 3000 mile journey starts on 12 December and involves the duo, who are both 24, rowing constantly for 24 hours in alternating shifts in a race that is estimated to last between 40 and 90 days. Competing under the team name “Team Tensing,” they are pushing their bodies to mental and physical limits to raise awareness for the charity “CRY - Cardiac Risk in the Young.” 

Motivated by personal experiences – Chris’s cousin Jacob Long suffered a cardiac arrest at age 21 in 2016, and whilst at university, his good friend Tommy Hardman died suddenly of a heart condition. Shockingly, tragedies of this nature occur on average 14 times a week in the UK. CRY has become even more prominent following cases involving many high-profile sports people. These include Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba and England and Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club player James Taylor.

Commenting, Max said, “I love the thought of being pushed to my absolute mental and physical limits and hopefully cross over into a potential I never thought I could reach whilst helping to raise awareness of this illness.”

Max and Chris have a fund-raising target of £100,000 and to date have raised £45,000 from sponsorship and donations. As well as raising money for CRY, they also plan to help raise awareness of ocean pollution.

Chris added, “This race is known at the world’s toughest race. We will be facing ocean storms, 40 foot waves and expect to experience extreme fatigue and hallucinations. We will be doing our best to complete the race to achieve both our financial target and to raise awareness of ocean pollution.”

Commenting, Sally Swann, Head of the Midlands Practice for JLT said, “CRY do amazing work to prevent sudden cardiac death in young people and in supporting the families who have lost love ones. JLT is always keen to partner with fellow specialists who deliver winning results. This is going to be an ultimate test in strength and character and we wish Max and Chris all good fortune in their quest to reach the finishing line.”

Max has just graduated from Nottingham University, and Chris, who studied at University in Leeds has just returned from coaching cricket in Australia. When the opportunity to take part in the race arose, both felt it was a chance to raise money for charity whilst also getting outside of their comfort zone to try something extraordinary whilst still young and fit enough to endure the challenges they face.

Both Max and Chris are currently living in Kent to allow them to combine their physical training with time testing and rowing the boat in coastal sea water. 

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