Off The Ball
Off The Ball

12.25 13 Feb 2017


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Irish adventurer Gavan Hennigan woke up on Irish soil on Monday morning for the first time in 2017.

The Galwayman returned to Dublin Airport on Sunday afternoon, just over a week after rowing across the Atlantic. Hennigan competed in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, finishing the race in third place. He was the first solo rower to complete the race, in just under 50 days.

Hennigan joined The Pat Kenny Show to look back at a historic achievement from an Irish athlete. He became the quickest Irishman to row single-handedly across the Atlantic.

Despite being by himself for almost two months, Hennigan told Pat Kenny that he had to keep himself motivated throughout the race.

"I did have to play the mental game, where I would be reminding myself, saying; 'Look! This is a once in a lifetime thing'. I'm out in this crazy and dynamic environment, and just try to take it all in and enjoy it."

A former drug addict, who has received treatment for substance abuse, Hennigan added that he found the race to very spiritual, and spent many moments looking back on his recovery.

"I was really thinking about my life then and my life now. I tried to put things into context. I was very grateful to have been able to row across the Atlantic and be able to pull it off from where I came from. Personally it's a miracle"

"I just remind myself that I'm very privileged to be doing this. A lot of people in the world are living hand-to-mouth, and I'm paying to do this crazy adventure. That really helps me to have this perspective the whole time."

Hennigan broke the Irish record of Sean McGowan by almost 70 days, and he told Pat Kenny that he went to McGowan looking for advice before the race.

"The first thing he told me was; 'There's nothing you can do, that will prepare you for what it's really like out there'. I was like; 'That sounds like my cup of tea'".

Despite breaking the record, Gavan added that the boat he was using was a quicker boat that the one McGowan used in 2010.

A commercial diver by trade, Hennigan said he was "trying to figure things out" before completing his next challenge.

Gavan Hennigan on the "miracle" of rowing the Atlantic

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