Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #5

Talisker Challenge

Growing up in Galway city, Damian Browne would have been all too familiar with the Bon Jovi hair styles of the late ’80s punks that roamed the streets. Jon Bon Jovi and his band spent 4 weeks at no. 1 in the 1987 charts and their hit song rang out

Woah, we're half way there. Woah, livin' on a prayer

A few days ago Damian passed the halfway stage as refereed to in the last diary entry here (http://www.theeye.news/2018/01/11/damian-brownes-atlantic-diary-4/) .

American rock band Bon Jovi backstage before a performance, Illinois, early March, 1987. Pictured are, from left, David Bryan, Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Alec John Such. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

American rock band Bon Jovi backstage before a performance, Illinois, early March, 1987. Pictured are, from left, David Bryan, Tico Torres, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Alec John Such. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Now, one could be forgiven for thinking that he is on the home run. However, it must be remembered that completing this race at all is a truly remarkable achievement. Irish history in this race shows that only Galway’s Gavan Hennigan in 2016 ( completed in 49 days) and Limerick’s Sean McGowan in 2010 (completed it in 118 days) have been able to do it. So, effectively of the two Irish men that have completed the race so far, one finished in more than double the time of the other. In fact, some crews don’t actually finish the race at all.

In 2014 an English pair namely Lauren Morton and Hannah Lawton encountered massive trouble throughout the race despite having intense motivation to complete it in honour of their dear friend who died from cancer. Both women rowed together and were sternly motivated to finish despite still rowing 2 whole weeks after the official race finish. They failed to complete the race!

So with some competitors finishing in more than double the time of others and with some not finishing at all, it begs the question ‘what is the half way mark?’

The reality is the ‘half way mark’ is a hypothetical marking point that is based on the first half of the nautical miles completed which are calculated against the overall amount of miles of the planned race route from the outset of the race. By drawing a line on a map, competitors plan their half way point. In this particular year and race route the full distance is 2, 575 nautical miles. So yes, mathematically speaking right now, Brownie has reached that  ‘half way’ point but, with the wilds of the ocean, the reality is anything can happen from here until the finish line. Even when (always optimistic for this amazing man!) he completes the race, he may look back on what he calculated as being, at the time, his ‘half way’ mark and realise that it was but another mile during his early race days on the Atlantic.

Of course, this all leads to anxiety for his family, friends and followers for the duration of his efforts to come. That said though, let’s remember what Damian is made of and breath a communal assured breath that he will be flowing into Antigua very safely and in high spirits before long.

For now we can all be very happy with Damian in reaching the hypothetical half-way stage in the Talisker Whiskey Challenge and for the fact that he is raising money for such worthy causes. Damian has brought thousands of people into conversation together online and is no doubt loving the rapport with his well wishers.

For sure Médecins San Frontiéres Ireland, the Strong Roots Foundation, Rwanda and Madra will be happy with his efforts and maybe for now we should all just echo the lines of Bon Jovi who sang:

We've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot

Woah, we're half way there. Woah, livin' on a prayer

Or maybe we should be a little more upbeat and continue to share and like all posts connected to Damian’s efforts which encourages the massive commitment that he has made over the past 22 months of training for this once in a lifetime adventure. By doing so, Damian will be most happy as his charities will get more exposure and it will give him added motivation to continue with gusto. Before long then, we may be actually completing the song with a mate in chanting:

Take my hand, we'll make it I swear. Woah, livin' on a prayer!

About the Author

Conor Hogan
As a native Galwegian, Conor Hogan teaches and consults across the areas of education, well-being and health while also researching human behaviour for his PhD at NUI Galway. After winning regional and national leadership awards, he blogged and co-authored a book on Mental Health for Millennials. He tells us he will endeavour to enrapture the glint of the Galway Eye 🙂 You can find out more about Conor at https://www.docconor.com