Each day the NOMEN's hands get more blistered, and their stomachs decrease in size, but as Chris has said: “The worse thing by far is the pain in our backsides. Spending pretty much 24 hours a day either sitting or lying on them, they are now not in the best of conditions. Nick and I are on a constant stream of painkillers just to get through the days.”
Despite the extremity of the race, there have been moments of fun for the boys. The NOMEN enjoy bossing around the Port of Los Angeles-bound oil tankers on the VHF who seem to be rather confused by the sighting of 24 foot ocean rowing vessels. They have also communicated with the US Navy. LCDR Travis Gill of the Navy had this message for the NOMEN:
“It was the VX-30 Bloodhounds who were trying to locate you that morning. With the moderate sea state and the multitude of white caps it was very difficult to find you visually from 1,000 feet. We were able to see you once you helped talk us onto your position. Thank you for your cooperation ... Best of luck to you all, your journey to Hawaii, and your fight to end HPV.”
It is the night-shifts battling the cold, the spray and the darkness that are the toughest. But from their berth aboard Isabel, Mark had this message for NOMAN supporters: "Please don't let our sacrifice be in vain! The reason we are putting ourselves through this hell is to raise awareness about HPV related cancers. HPV is the cause of 5% of cancers worldwide. Which is huge! Currently there is a vaccine to prevent the spread of this virus, but the issue is only women getting the vaccine in the UK. We want to see universal vaccination for girls and boys so that finally we can end 5% of cancer, something so massive yet so obtainable."
Here's hoping the conditions ease for the NOMEN in the second half of the race as they close in on Hawaii, and the prospect of a Domino's pizza!
Please do carry on sending your messages of support through to the NOMEN, they are greatly appreciated and serve to keep the boys motivated during their record attempt! Email email@example.com
Where are the NOMEN now? Track the rowers here!