Ex Royal Marine, Tim Crockett, is set to embark on an epic solo row from the Canaries to Antigua at the beginning of December. Originally from Hereford, Tim, who is Security VP for HX Global, the US division of Healix International, is one of just five solo rowers taking on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which will see 28 boats crossing the 3,000 nautical miles in what is the world’s toughest ocean endurance race.
Tim is aiming to heighten awareness of the mental health challenges faced by ex-service veterans, as well as raise vital funds for two charities which support veterans with PTSD and other mental health problems. As an ex-Royal Marine Commando in the Special Boat Service, Tim has a close affinity with these issues.
“Two years ago I reconnected with a fellow veteran who had suffered with PTSD for many years. Some weeks later he took his own life. While I had always been aware of the emotional and mental impact war zones can have on the military and civilians, this jarring loss spurred me into action. I decided I needed to do something bigger, to have a real impact. A gruelling 3,000-mile row across the Atlantic, raising money for veteran mental health charities, seemed to fit the bill.”
The charities benefitting from Tim’s challenge are UK-based Combat Stress and US-based Give an Hour. These charities have a shared mission and common goals – to address mental health and the effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries, with the ultimate aim of preventing veteran suicide.
Tim’s goal is to reach Antigua in 50 days or less, which means he will have to row an average of 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) per day. He will celebrate Christmas, New Year’s and his 48th birthday alone on the open ocean.
During the row, Tim will battle sleep deprivation, unpredictable weather, salt sores, infections and exhaustion. And he will depend heavily on the support of his employer and headline sponsor, Healix International, the global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services.
Healix has sponsored the custom build of Tim’s boat, and will be providing him with 24/7 assistance should he require it. A team of doctors, nurses and fellow security experts will be available for telemedicine consults via the satellite communications system on the boat. And they will provide him with the insight he needs to keep up with the required pace and ensure his physical and mental health remain strong.
Healix International CEO, Mike Webb said, “The challenge Tim is about to face is on a scale many of us find unimaginable. But that’s almost the point. Tim wants to raise awareness – and money – for the mental health of fellow veterans whose personal challenges are often unimaginable by society as a whole. Healix International is honoured to support this incredibly important cause and we look forward to further supporting Tim throughout his Atlantic row.”
Tim continued: “Raising money for the charities is important, as they do so much for so many. But money isn’t all there is. For me, this row is also about awareness: the self-awareness to recognise it’s ok not to be ok and to ask for help if you need it. We need to remove the stigma associated with mental health. It’s ok to say you need help and If you do, know that you are not alone and there are many resources available.”
Tim’s boat has been named The Kraken: “The Kraken is a mythical sea creature found to have its origins in Norse mythology. Believed to have immense power, enough to sink enormous ships by wrapping its tentacles around the hull before dragging it into the depths of the ocean. History has made it easy to relate the Kraken to something dark, feared and misunderstood. And just as the Kraken was misunderstood all too often so is someone suffering from PTSD, who is likely wrestling with his or her own dark monster being dragged down into the Abyss. To some the Kraken symbolizes power, not necessarily physical strength but an inner strength and just like an octopus, the Kraken is thought to have the ability to regenerate a lost limb and grow.
“My boat ‘The Kraken’ symbolizes the struggle many experience when dealing with mental health issues and PTSD. Those that have gone through or are dealing with the effects brought on by traumatic events need to know that, just like the limbs of the Kraken can grow back so should one’s life continue to grow after a difficult phase.”
To sponsor Tim, visit his website: www.tamethekraken.org