Miriam Payne, 23, from Market Weighton, was one of over 40 teams taking part in this year’s Talisker Whiskey Challenge, which sees competitors race to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
She set off on her solo race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on December 12, with the aim of reaching the race’s finish line at Antigua’s English Harbour within two months.
The physics and astrophysics graduate crossed the finish line in the early hours of this morning (February 10) having rowed for 59 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes, beating the previous women’s solo record from 2016 by two hours and 38 minutes.
READ MORE: Young York chef wins national culinary award
She was the 35th team, the third soloist, and the quickest female soloist to cross the line in her boat Seas the Day.
The challenge has seen Miriam row for over 15 hours a day through temperatures often above 30 degrees, in her bid to raise awareness and funds for two charities – Mind Hull and East Yorkshire, and Wellbeing of Woman.
She has documented her journey, which involved her spending Christmas Day over 23,000 miles away from home with a broken oar, on social media under the handle ‘Seastheday2022’, and has amassed over 100,000 followers on TikTok.
@seastheday2022 Miriam officially crossed the finish line in Antigua after 59 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes out at sea. Smashing the race record by 2 hours and 38 minutes. Proud is an understatement. 📸credit: @Atlantic Campaigns #seastheday2022 #atlanticocean ##taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge##oceanrower##ocean##rowingtok ♬ original sound – Miriam Payne
So far, the 23-year-old has raised over £11,400 of her £15,000 target for both charities, according to race organisers.
“I’m absolutely knackered to be honest with you!” She told reporters after reaching dry land.
“I didn’t think that (the race record) was going to happen 12 hours ago. It’s been a long slog and I’ve been rowing since half six yesterday morning, so I’m glad to just finally be back on land.
“It was really wonderful. Everyone’s going into it to get the absolute most out of it and I really did.
“I enjoyed as much of it as I can. There were obviously some real lows but I made it through and just kept going with it.”
READ MORE: York Knights boss addresses ‘half back headache’
Spending Christmas Day over 2,300 miles from home, Miriam swapped turkey for a freeze dried meal and chocolate, and she admitted that she was looking forward to eating ‘proper’ food again.
When asked what she would like to eat and drink first, she said: “Just anything that’s not freeze dried!”
“A chocolate orange – I wouldn’t say no!
Could another extreme sporting challenge be on the horizon for Miriam?
“I’ll get over this one first,” she laughed. “And then I’m just not sure what yet.”
To help Miriam raise money for charity, donate at: Donate — Seas the Day (seastheday2022.com)