Naomi Riches. Great Thames Row 2016

The Rotary Club of Faringdon and District is assisting the Charity "IN-Vision" to organise the start of The Great Thames Row on Saturday September 17th at the Halfpenny Bridge, Lechlade

Naomi Riches MBE



The Rotary Club of Faringdon and District is assisting the Charity “IN-Vision” to organise the start of The Great Thames Row on Saturday September 17th at the Halfpenny Bridge, Lechlade. The Row will start at 16.50. People in the Lechlade region have the opportunity to attend the Start and attractions in the two hours leading up to the Start.

The attached leaflet explains the purpose of the event and the #165 Challenge it entails. The row by Para-Olympic and World Champion Naomi Riches is 165 miles, to be completed non-stop. The young people up to the age of 18 years are encouraged to devise their own #165 Challenge to support the IN-Vision charity fund- raising.

The Rotary Club would appreciate the support of your school in these events, perhaps, by including a “story” in the School newsletter and encouraging the children to participate in a #165 Challenge?

More information can be found on the websites listed in the leaflet, particularly:   and

Excerpt from Naomi - Post row

Hey teamTGTR,

I don’t really know where to begin…

Firstly an apology that this has taken too long! 

Secondly, I cannot actually put into words how grateful I am for everything you did and in some cases are still doing… the amount of enthusiasm, passion and determination you all showed to make the row not just happen but exceed all my expectations. 

You are part of the most phenomenal team and I couldn’t have done it without you!!! 

Just wanted to share this with you.  It is the first blog that I have put out and will appear with a few tweaks in various places…

The Great Thames Row 2016 – ‘Why are you doing this?’

You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning unsure if what you did was a dream or reality?  Well the last few morning have been like that for me… but it was a reality, I did row the entire length of the Navigable Thames and I did complete it in 47hours 59minutes and 54seconds. 

Before I say anything else I need to say thank you to the TGTR2016 team, this challenge would not have happened without all their expertise, passion and enthusiasm from beginning to end.  

I say end… whilst I have crossed the finish line the fundraising for IN-vison is still going, we are still selling the miles, still encouraging people to do their own 165 challenges!  How OARsome would it be if we sold all the miles by Christmas! If you want to get involved please visit

It is going to take Guinness World Records a few months to verify my record but hopefully with the mountain of evidence we have gathered, it will be easy for them; there is no doubt however that I completed it, that I am the first women EVER to have rowed 165 from Lechlade to Gravesend in a single scull and in one hit.

One thing I will never forget about this experience is the support I had at every lock, on many of the bridges, from other river users on their boats or just from people standing on the banks.  It was phenomenal and every shout was a little energy boost which I can tell you was much needed, especially in the last few hours.   

Those last few hours will always stick in my mind as the toughest; I was past The Thames Barrier with no land marks to pass, nothing to show me how far I had come and to add to the struggle I was heading into the incoming tide so whenever I stopped to stretch, eat or drink I would float back towards London!  The QE2 Bridge nearly drove me insane… I was looking over my shoulder now and again and it didn’t get any bigger for what seemed like hours!  When I finally passed underneath though I had just 5.5miles to go, that is just over 2 laps of Dorney Rowing Lake, now that was achievable! 

A couple of days before I started The Great Thames Row at Lechlade, Jacqui Jones, a great friend and fellow rower asked me to write down the reason I was doing this bonkers challenge… first and foremost it was to raise money for IN-vision and to raise awareness of Infantile Nystagmus and it was go set a new Guinness World Record.  Underneath all that though it was much more personal… to lay to rest some of my own ghosts, to prove to myself that I could achieve despite what people in my past had told me in various different ways.  When she could see me struggling, Jacqui just asked ‘Naomi, why are you doing this?’, my response ‘BECAUSE I CAN!’

There will be more of these to come, on Facebook and goodness knows where else… I have ideas!  There are little memories that keep popping up but if you could all have a think of your favourite memories from the event then you might help me remember more. 

I say again THANK YOU… for being brilliant, for being part of this adventure and for helping me achieve something incredible!

Love to you all,

Naomi x

PS: If I have missed anyone please let me know and if possible give me an email address for them!

PPS: Apologies if you received this twice 8-)

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