PHIL EVANS

Why am I doing this row?

 

Hi there, I’m Phil. Before the conception of our wonderful daughter Myah, people would say to me “you should hurry up and have kids, they’re wonderful”. The fact that I had been trying for years with my wife never crossed people's minds. After 3 or so years of going through the highs and lows of doing pregnancy tests, and the stress and the emotional rollercoaster of it all, we finally achieved our goal with the help from a specialist. Hurray!

 

I see myself as quite a strong bloke with a stiff upper lip, but when I look back on that time in our life, I can see it was a strain, not only on ourselves but also on our relationship at times.

 

I’ve competed in Ironman, tough guys, marathons and ultras, and even worked around the world on various projects, but I could always control those aspects of life. So when we couldn’t conceive...that’s stress. Thoughts go through your head, is it me? Is it her? Can we ever have kids? Your mind goes into overdrive, but for the wrong reasons. You feel a failure and I guess it could spiral into depression.

I want to raise awareness not only for those who are struggling to conceive, but also to those who should think before they speak, as many couples are actually trying, but to no avail.

 

There are charities like FNUK who are there to support couples, and a listening ear for those who need it and I am proud to support them!

DAN MAGRATH

Why am I doing this row?

Ultimately, I love a challenge and finding out what my limits are, then pushing past them; any challenge I have approached, it has come down to grit, determination, and pure stubbornness; never giving in until the job is done! I believe this applies to most challenges in life, with the right mind set, there is always something you can do to get through. However, failure to conceive naturally after several years of trying was a kick in the teeth and difficult to come to terms with, a challenge I felt ill prepared. It had never crossed my mind that I would be classed as an ‘infertile’, another statistic in the land of “unexplained fertility’. I thought that having a child and becoming a family was a given, I never believed that it would be a problem for my wife and I. The strain this puts on a relationship is huge; the length of time to get treatment, the available NHS funding and the number of rounds available for couples wanting to start a family are all postcode dependent. This is just the beginning of the process! Once started, there are different treatment protocols to consider, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF). This consisted of several weeks of sniffing, injecting, scans, intrusive procedures, wanking in a cup, a sperm egg brewing cocktail, a 3–5 day wait and finally egg transfer. To top this off, if you are lucky, only an 30–50%* chance of success. Throughout the process you are managing each other’s expectations with the feelings of going it alone, not fitting in, that there is something wrong with you, all while friends and loved ones are popping out babies like there is no tomorrow!

 

I am doing this row because I want to raise awareness of fertility issues. I want people (and men especially) to have open and honest conversations about infertility. To know that they are not alone, they are not the first and they will not be the last. Around 1 in 7 UK* couples will experience fertility issues, that means at the very least we will all know of someone who is struggling or has struggled with infertility.

 

Let’s be sensitive, let’s educate ourselves of the IVF process so that we can be more supportive and let those who are struggling with infertility know that we are here for them.

BIO

Age at time of row: 38

 

Height:  175 cm

 

Weight: 78.5 kg

 

Location: Shrewsbury, England

 

Hometown: Shrewsbury

 

Endurance experience:

2 x ultra running events, 3 x full Ironman, 5 x half Ironman,

3 x marathons, 9 x half marathons,

3 x Tough Guy events, 2 x Tough Mudder events

 

Best sporting moment:

Achieving the qualifying time in the 100 meters to compete in the English schools athletics championships.

Crossing the finish line at Ironman Wales (toughest Ironman triathlon in the world)

 

Worst moment:

Damaging my back at 17 during a training session resulting in 6 fractures over 3 vertebrae (injured for 13 months)

 

Biggest fear for the row:

Having a vital piece of equipment being damaged or lost during the row, resulting in us not being able to complete the race 

Most missed item:

No items as I'm not materialistic, but will miss family and the sound of birds

 

Most looking forward to:

The simplicity of eat, sleep, row, repeat. No phone calls. Seeing nature in its natural environment

BIO

Age at time of row: 38

 

Height: 168 cm

 

Weight: 70 kg

 

Location: Didcot, England

 

Hometown: Shrewsbury

 

Endurance experience:

Half marathons, mud runs, obstacle course, Tough Guy marathon, three peaks, 7 ½ marathons in 7 days.

 

Best sporting moment:

Finishing the Tough Guy Marathon obstacle course in joint 5th place.

 

Worst moment:

Snapping a metatarsal (bone in the foot) whilst chasing for third place during the last 400 meters of an obstacle race… still managed to finish in 4th place!

Biggest fear for the row:

Never getting to the start line owing to massive financial undertaking that is required just to get there!

 

Most missed item:

 

Most looking forward to:

Early morning rowing, simplicity; eat, row, try to sleep, repeat. Time to reflect without the normal distractions of everyday life.

 

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