Naomi Riches – The Great Thames Row

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naomi riches paralympics sign
photo credit: Richard Shymansky

Later this year, Marlow’s Paralympian Golden Girl Naomi Riches will be undertaking a huge challenge – to set a new World Record for the fastest woman to row down the River Thames… 165miles from Lechlade to Gravesend! The goal is to do it in less than 50 hours, over the course of the 17th-19th September 2016.

The all-time record currently stands at 43hours 40mins 56seconds set by Malcolm Knight in 2005 – and knowing how competitive Naomi is, we can see her targeting that too!

A key driver for Naomi taking on this challenge is to raise £1,000 per mile, i.e. £165,000 for IN-vision, the charity she is patron of.

About the IN-vision charity

Naomi was diagnosed with Nystagmus (amongst other things) when a young child and her parents struggled at the time in getting answers and information they wanted and needed.  Liz Charter, founder of IN-vision had the same issues when her son was born and as a result of her frustration a she founded the charity.  The aim is to further the research into, and raise awareness of, Infantile Nystagmus which affects 1 in 1,000 children.  As it happens, both Liz and the charity are Marlow based too!

It’s all in the planning….

Meticulous planning will be required, some of it complete – much yet to be done. For example, Naomi and Liz have already met with the Port of London Authority – who offered important advice regarding tides which helped determine the ideal dates for the attempt.  In addition there is much to know regarding permissions and logistics of rowing through London!

Naomi has also met with Malcolm Knight, the current record holder – with the introduction conveniently being made by another Marlow Rowing Club member you might have heard of – Sir Steve Redrave!

Of course there is also the physical preparation, and Naomi got back into training “properly” at the end of 2015. She will also have to be mentally prepared – and is planning on midnight training sessions amongst other things to help in this respect.

A whole boatload of help is needed!

The challenge will involve the support of many – during the planning and preparation, but also during the attempt itself.

Naomi will have a support boat following, calling out instructions as needed to guide her – the goal is to rotate the people involved in this aspect

Each lock will need  a crew in place to help her through, provide her with food and drink

As the plans develop, there will be more detail on all this – keep following the regular blog updates from Naomi – right here on!

More on the story so far?

Naomi has already written a series of blogs building up to The Great Thames Row, and they really are worth a read to understand more about Naomi’s motivation, the charitable aims, and what has been achieved so far!

The full archive of blogs can be found here:

If you would like to find out more about getting involved  you can contact    Website for the charity

And finally ,you can follow/contact on Twitter…

@TGTR2016   @INvision_buzz    @NaomiRichesMBE 

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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