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  • 50 days of deafening winds & nightly blackouts during incredible 3,100km voyage.
  • 20 foot waves as well as hoards of flying fish flooding the boat and jamming equipment.
  • Rowing into the record books the four men have broken the World Record* for the youngest crew to ever cover the distance.

Four university friends have completed their epic 3,100km row from California to Hawaii as part of The Great Pacific Race, breaking a world record* in the process as the youngest crew to ever cross the distance and achieve this incredible feat.

Jack Carter, from Blackheath, Nick Kempster, from Bath, Chris Blacketer, from Ewell and Mark Gleeson from Orpington have individually rowed more than 1,500km across the Pacific Ocean since setting off from Monterey on 9th June, and reached their final destination of Honolulu after over 50 days at sea.

The foursome met while studying at the University of Exeter and have spent a year preparing and almost two months living aboard their 24 foot ocean rowing boat, Isabel, crossing the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean using no motor or sails, just sheer physical and mental determination. The boys took turns to man the oars with pairs rowing in 2 hour shifts over the course of 50 days.

The 24-year-olds, known as Team NOMAN, set out to raise awareness of HPV and funds for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation by competing as a classic four. They have so far attracted over £40,000 via the charity’s NOMAN Campaign ( arm, which challenges participants to complete extreme endurance events to raise awareness of HPV, the carcinogenic virus which causes 5% of cancer worldwide and infects one third of the UK population.

Despite emerging unscathed from the shark-infested waters of the Eastern Pacific – and even encountering dolphins one pleasant evening – the boys endured howling winds, whose noise was such that it prevented all conversation, as well as nights so dark they couldn’t see the 20 foot waves or prepare for their impact as they rowed on.

Chris Blacketer said of their journey, “each day our hands got a little more blistered and our stomachs decreased in size, which was definitely a good thing looking at some of the pre departure photos. But the worst aspect by far was the pain in our backsides. Spending pretty much 24 hours a day either sitting or lying on them, meant we were all on a constant stream of painkillers just to get through the days and be able to sit down as we were just so blistered and raw.”

They had originally hoped to complete the challenge within 40 days, but were affected by bad weather and un-favourable winds which pushed them south rather than west, and saw Great Pacific Race entrants struggling to break away from the Californian coast.

Mark Gleeson said: “after spending nearly 8 weeks in a world less than 24ft in length, Hawaii seems impossibly large. We’re in a lot of pain, and have been for a few weeks now. We are barely able to sit, let alone stand, but everyone is so proud of one another.”

Nick Kempster added: “this challenge has been immense and at times it felt like we might not be able to complete it, but everyone’s support and messages (ranging from the outright funny, to those who merely thought they were funny) as well as our ultimate aim of raising awareness of HPV, have kept us going even when we didn’t think we could give anymore. Somehow we always found the strength to keep rowing.”

“We’ve put ourselves through this for a worthy cause, and if we can make a difference in the pain in our backsides will be worth it!”

Justine Almada, co-founder of The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, reinforced the importance of this by stating: “the goal is to see universal vaccination for girls and boys so that we can eliminate 5% of cancer. Such a target might seem massive, but it is eminently obtainable. Just as the team’s incredible voyage has proved.”  

To find out more about the NOMAN Campaign and the HPV & Anal Cancer Foundation visit


*subject to approval and validation by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Race Vital Statistics

To put it in context, the race distance – California to Hawaii – corresponds to the same as:
11 River Thames
89 Marathons
1,878 Olympic Rowing Finals
11,593 Eiffel Towers
13,964 Titanic’s
341,474 London Buses

Almost 1,000 miles longer than Argentina
Over twice the distance from London to Madrid
At full pace, it would take Usain Bolt over four days and four hours to run.
At world record pace, it would take Michael Phelps 21 days, 14 hours and 24 minutes to swim butterfly.

The NOMAN Campaign would like to thank the following sponsors for all their support:

Glory Sports, BGC Voice + Electronic Brokerage, CRW Energy Corp, HUS Gallery, ION Energy, Oakley, Henri Lloyd, Bloc Eyewear, Skin Alive, and Global Telstar Communications.

For more information, imagery, interview and filming contact:
Gabby Brunton 020 3701 2150 & 07538 877 685


Editors Notes

·       New Ocean Wave’s Great Pacific Race is the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet. Ocean row-boats of one, two and four compete against each other in the world’s first rowing race on the Pacific. On June 7th 2014, teams from around the world set out on a 2,400 mile journey on the world’s largest ocean from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. This epic journey was expected to take between 30 and 90 days depending on the crew and the weather. Each boat carries no sails or engines and is only moved by the muscle of the crew pulling on the oars.
·       NOMAN is a series of extreme endurance events which test it’s participants to their absolute limits all the while raising awareness and funds for the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. NOMAN included a rowing race from Barcelona to Ibiza in 2013, the aforementioned NOMAN team in the Great Pacific Race, and Cosaveli’s Trois Etapes Giro in June, a pro-am cycle race through some of the most iconic and stunningly beautiful climbs in cycling. The 9 NOMEN were a part of the incredible team, racing for the coveted Maglia Rosa, and placed second.
·       NOMAN is not just about racing but raising awareness and resources to end the HPV-related cancer epidemic that currently exists in both men and women. HPV does not discriminate. Nearly all men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives.
·       HPV is the causal agent in 5% of all human cancers. Among cancers affecting men, it is estimated that HPV infection is associated with up to 90% of anal cancers, 60% of penile cancers, and 75% of tonsillar and base-of-tongue cancers with each of these cancers having increased in incidence over the past two decades.[ii] In addition, it accounts for 40,392 new cases of genital warts found in men in 2012, a 15% increase since 2003.[iii]
·       NOMAN is the endurance and fundraising arm of the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. Justine, Tristan and Camille Almada founded the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation in July 2010, three months after their mother, Paulette Isabel Crowther, died of HPV-related anal cancer. The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation aims to:

Ø  Highlight the relevance of human papillomavirus (HPV) in contracting cancer
Ø  Accelerate a cure for 5% of all cancers that are caused by HPV, with a focus on anal cancer
Ø  Advocate for prevention methods that will end anal cancer and HPV-related cancers, including ensuring vaccination for both boys and girls
Provide support for survivors, care-givers, scientists and providers affected by anal cancer.
Ø  Most people will contract HPV in their lifetime and clear the virus. But for some people, HPV becomes a cause of cancer—such as cervical, anal, penile, vulval, head, neck and throat cancer – and genital warts.
Ø  Cancer sites where at least a proportion is attributable to HPV:

o   Oral cancer 6767 cases cases/year, 2056 deaths/year[iv]
o   Cervical cancer 3064 cases/year, 972 deaths/year
o   Laryngeal (larynx) cancer 2360 cases/year, 798 deaths/year
o   Anal cancer 1175 cases/year, 299 deaths/year
o   Vaginal Cancer, 256 cases/year, 91 deaths/year
o   Vulval cancer 1203 cases/year, 404 deaths/year
o   Penile cancer 558 cases/year, 111 deaths/year

Ø  HPV Action estimates it would cost £24million/year to vaccinate UK boys (assuming a 90% vaccination rate).


[i] National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Update on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. Canada Communicable Disease Report; January 2012(38); ACS-1 . D’Souza G, Dempsey A. The role of HPV in head and neck cancer and review of the HPV vaccine. Preventive Medicine 2011; 53: S5-S11.
[ii] National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Update on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. Canada Communicable Disease Report; January 2012(38); ACS-1 . D’Souza G, Dempsey A. The role of HPV in head and neck cancer and review of the HPV vaccine. Preventive Medicine 2011; 53: S5-S11.
[iii] Public Health England data.
[v] Public Health England data.




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