Monday 16 September 2019

Browne's Atlantic row ends in glory

Damian Browne in Antigua after rowing 4,800km
Damian Browne in Antigua after rowing 4,800km

Brendan Loughnane

Damian Browne, a former Connacht player and brother of current Connacht lock Andrew Browne, has completed his epic solo journey after rowing 4,800 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean.

Browne set off on his journey on Thursday, December 14 and battled through the Atlantic elements for 64 days, landing in Antigua on Thursday of last week.

Browne completed the solo expedition as a participant in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The journey is an extreme trial of mental and physical strength as participants are required to complete the journey with no support vessel and must carry their own food supply throughout the crossing.

Greeting him upon his arrival to dry land were his parents Mary and Joe, sister Gillian and brother Andrew. On completion of the epic journey, Browne thanked his supporters for the huge level of support he received over the past few months.

"It feels so good to finally arrive to such an amazing welcome in Antigua after nine weeks of suffering and hardship. Without a doubt this is the toughest challenge I have ever taken on - but one I'll never forget," said Damian.

He completed the journey in an effort to raise funds for his chosen charities MADRA Dog Rescue and Adoption, Médecins Sans Frontieres and the Strong Roots Foundation School Rwanda.

Browne played for Connacht from 2001 to 2004 before going on to play in England, France and for Leinster, where he earned Heineken Cup, Challenge Cup and Pro12 medals.

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Even during his playing career, he was no stranger to testing himself in extreme events. In April 2016, he ran the Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara. In that six-day event he covered a distance of 250km in soaring temperatures.

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