“My surreal 9,600-mile row was all mind over matter”

“My surreal 9,600-mile row was all mind over matter”

Natalia (far left) and her crew at the launch of their 9,600 mile row across the Pacific

Record-breaking rower Natalia Cohen admits the magnitude of her task still hasn’t fully sunk in.

Cohen, 40, was part of the first ever all-female crew to row across the Pacific, covering 9,600 miles in 257 days, yet while she’s now back in the UK and on dry land, she’s still struggling to comprehend the magnitude of her accomplishment.

She said: “It’s all still incredibly surreal to be honest, I still seem very detached and it seems like someone else has completed this enormous challenge and not me. Getting back to the UK and having time to reflect will hopefully allow that to sink in, it will take a little time, but that’s natural.”

Saying the trek was more of a mental than physical challenge, she said: “Without a doubt I’d say it was a 95 percent mental challenge. I always expected any physical issues which arose would have to be dealt with by the mind and that’s what happened. It’s incredible what we can achieve with our minds, everything is a state of mind, absolutely everything we do.”

Saying the time on the sea as opposed to a lack of food or sleep was her biggest challenge, she explains: “It took three months longer than anticipated, we were out on the ocean for nine months which is a huge amount of time. I’d say the hardest part for me was probably the last 48 hours. We were fighting currents, we were rowing our hearts out, rowing as hard as we could because we had a time frame. Being so close to the end, mentally I was trying to pretend it was the middle of the journey rather than the end, and that was definitely the most difficult part for me.”

With the challenge now over, Natalia and the rest of the crew are spending time with the media, which will also serve to highlight the charities they’re raising money for. “The media we’re doing now is crucial to helping to continue raising those funds”, she says. “It’s great, exciting and an opportunity to hopefully reach out to more people and let them know what we’ve done and hoping to achieve.”

Looking ahead to future trips and challenges, she said: “I’ve not thought of it to be honest – we still have another six months of fundraising and also have a documentary which is hopefully coming out later this year.

“We’ve also started a hashtag #MyPacific where we’re hoping to create a platform for anyyone who has their own challenge. Although we’ve crossed our literal Pacific, we believe everyone has their own Pacific to cross and we want everyone to be able to share their challenges.

“In terms of another actual endurance event or adventure, we’ll see which way the wind blows and which way the current flows… “

• Raising money for both Walking with the Wounded and Breast Cancer Care, you can make a donation at

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