Adventurous Marcus Beale has become a regular sight around Hartlepool as he prepares to row 3,000 single-handed miles across the Atlantic ocean.
The 49-year-old dad of two has chosen the town as his base to train for the massive challenge when he hopes to raise over £100,000 for Macmillan cancer support.
Despite living in Leeds, Marcus comes to Hartlepool Marina twice a week where his specially-designed rowing boat White Rows is berthed to practice in the North Sea.
In December, he will join 30 other small boats in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, a 3,000-mile self-supported race across the North Atlantic.
As a solo rower Marcus will battle storm systems with waves potentially 50ft-high, with only the likes of whales and sharks for company.
He is certainly one for throwing himself in at the deep end as he has never rowed before now.
A keen sportsman all his life, Marcus got a taste for such challenges in 2012 when he finished in the top 100 of his first long distance endurance race – an ultra marathon in the Saharan desert.
“That race lit the flame for further challenges and endurance events ever since,” he said.
“This will be without doubt the biggest physical and mental challenge I have attempted.
“I am the engine. The main challenge for me will be the solitude.”
A former senior partner at a global head-hunting organisation, Marcus praised the conditions here in Hartlepool and the staff at Hartlepool Marina.
He said: “The rest of the facilities on the east coast aren’t up to the standard of Hartlepool.
“The conditions are ideal. There is a lot of protection along the coast.
“And the facilities and people at the marina have been brilliant.
“They have been really supportive and couldn’t be more helpful.”
Setting off from one of Spain’s Canary Islands on December 12, Marcus plans to land safely in Antigua in the Caribbean.
He hopes to raise £101,000 to provide a 24-hour phone line for Macmillan cancer support.
Marcus’s mother is in remission from cancer and he lost his adopted sister, step-father, best friend, and uncle to the disease – all of whom received care and support from Macmillan.
He added: “I want to do something that tests my limits to honour my relatives who have died from cancer and those who have survived, as well as raise funds for Macmillan.”
To sponsor Marcus go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/whiterows
* More people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than have rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic ocean;
* The boat is just 23 feet (seven metres) long and is powered by only a pair of oars;
* The crossing is expected to take about two months to complete;
* Marcus will row for 18 hours a day and sleep for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time;
* He will take enough food to last 90 days;
* Marcus will be relying on a solar-powered water-maker to create drinking water from sea water.