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Glimpse into the mind of Phuket’s Row2Rio adventurer

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Glimpse into the mind of Phuket’s Row2Rio adventurer | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Australian head coach at Phuket’s Unit 27, Luke Richmond, sat down in an exclusive interview with the Phuket Gazette after completing a world-record setting rowboat journey from Portugal to Brazil.

Divided into three legs, Row2Rio honors the Olympics as the Olympic stadium moved from London to Rio de Janeiro. The test of endurance began with a cycling trek setting off from the Olympic Park in London to Lagos through France, Spain and Portugal. The second leg was the 3,400 mile row to Brazil, and then back in the saddle to cycle to Rio de Janeiro.

Mr Richmond – already in peak condition from incorporating a NeuroPhysics training program from Ken Ware into his weekly schedule of CrossFit, climbing and adventure training – was invited to join the Row2Rio challenge after one of the team members was struck with appendicitis just a few weeks from their scheduled departure at the end of February. Without hesitation, Mr Richmond jumped on a plane to meet with Susannah Cass from Ireland, Mel Parker from the UK, and Jake Heath, also from the UK.

After 3,400 miles and 55 days at sea the team landed 35 miles north of Recife, Brazil.

Gazette: In the past five years, you have climbed the biggest mountains on six continents, been held captive in West Papua and has endured many ‘suffer-fests’ on expeditions around the world. Why was this the toughest adventure so far?

Richmond: This was the toughest adventure so far simply due to the fact it was one continuous cycle. I have had tougher single days in the mountains, but being on a cycle of two hours work and two hour rest is a mental and physical test of endurance.

Gazette
: What ended up being the most difficult part?

Richmond: The most difficult part was the final two weeks. Our auto tiller had failed, so we were manually steering; we were encountering strong head winds – it was a brutal slog to stay on course.

Gazette: How has this extraordinary experience changed your outlook on life?

Richmond: This experience hasn’t changed my outlook on life at all – it has solidified it. I already believed that life is for living and have shaped my life around being able to drop everything a go on adventures just like this one. I took the call and a week later I was getting on a boat, that’s what life is about, not your job or mortgage.

Gazette: A total of 55 days is a lot of time with anyone. Were there ever any tense moments on the boat?

Richmond: Of course there were tense moments, I don’t think you can ever have four strangers thrown together and their not be. However, no matter what the issue was, it was always quickly resolved, and it was back to business as usual. It was too tough an ordeal to hold grudges; we had to work as a team to get the job done.

Gazette: How does it feel to set a world record? [Record, still to be confirmed, was for the ocean route pioneered by the mixed-gender rowing team.]

Richmond: The world record never really entered my mind, the journey itself gave me the biggest sense of achievement. The record would never be enough motivation to go through what we did you have to enjoy and cherish the hard times and the journey itself. But hey, it always looks great on the CV.

Gazette: Having never rowed a boat more than a few hundred meters before joining the Row2Rio adventure, Did anything in Phuket prepare you for what you for the undertaking?

Richmond: Phuket most definitely prepared me for this. I coach CrossFit at Unit 27 and our entire philosophy is to gain a fitness level that makes you ready for anything. This is achievable for everybody, it just takes hard work and some lifestyle changes. I was ready to row the Atlantic even though I didn’t train for that task specifically.

Gazette: The physical, mental and emotional toll of two hours working, two hours resting must have taken a massive toll on your body. By the end of the trip, how had your body changed?

Richmond: My poor body. I’ve lost 15 kilograms of body weight and have worn my body out to within and inch of breaking, but he got me through to the end.

Out on the ocean, we didn’t have time to recover. Now that I’m on shore, it is trying to repair and I’m in a fair amount of pain. It will be a long road back to full strength, but this is what life is about, not looking good and walking around in a gym, but putting your body and mind to the ultimate tests – that’s how we grow.

Gazette: What was the emotional impact of the journey?

Richmond: I had to keep some emotional control while out on the water, but once I hit land it all overtook me and I cried like a baby: all the pain, stress and hardship came out of me. Having my family at the finish was also amazing and we all had a little cry together.

Gazette: What made you decided to propose to your girlfriend from the middle of the Atlantic?

Richmond: Throughout the journey I was making a series of videos for the beautiful Elise, culminating in a marriage proposal from the middle of the Atlantic as I was being towed behind our boat on a rope like a human lure. I thought it would be an unique and beautiful way to go.

She said yes, so we are off to a flying start.

Gazette: The Row2Rio challenge was also to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. How much money did the Row2Rio team raise?

Richmond: So far, the Row2Rio team have raised close to 80,000 pounds. Once the adventure is finished, the boat will be put up for sale and that money too will be donated to Macmillan Cancer support. [Ms Cass, Ms Parker and Mr Heath have the final cycling leg of the journey still to complete.]

Gazette: Will you be coming to back to Phuket?

Richmond: I’m definitely coming back to Phuket, we are upgrading our entire Unit27 CrossFit Phuket facility and I’ll be running the show throughout the coming high season.

Gazette: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Richmond: That’s about it mate. Just want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all my supporters in Phuket. I hope I see you all for training at the Unit in the high season.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli



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Phuket

Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong

The Thaiger

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Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | The Thaiger

A district livestock development office in Phuket province has announced a Rabies outbreak zone in the Chalong area yesterday.

Sutat Niyomthai, Chief of livestock development officer of Mueang Phuket District, has announced that the Baan Na Yai, Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong is a designated outbreak zone after a dog tested positive for Rabies.

A rabies temporary control zone will run from January 17 to February 16 in a radius around the Moo 4 village in Tambon Chalong:

• North to Baan Ketho in Moo 7, Kathu.

• South: to Baan Bang Kontee in Moo 5, Rawai.

• East: To Baan Borea in Moo 6, Wichit.

• West: To Karon Temple in Moo 1, Karon.

Phuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The ThaigerPhuket declares rabies outbreak zone in Chalong | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery

The Thaiger

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Chumphon woman, working in Phuket, wins first prize in lottery | The Thaiger

A woman from Chumphon, who helps out her sister in Phuket, returned to her hometown last week where she bought a lottery ticket.

The ticket won her the first prize in the lottery.

38 year old Thai woman Chonrada Laimer from Chumphon went to Chalong Police Station yesterday with the first prize lottery ticket number 197079. The weekly lottery numbers were announced yesterday. She claims 6 million baht as the first prize.

Khun Chonrada says, “I am from Chumphon. I help my sister to sell goods in Rawai during high season. I had to visit my home in Chumphon last week and bought the lottery ticket there. It is the number of my car number plate. Then I returned to Phuket.”

“I am very happy. I will use this money to fix my parent’s house. I will still help my sister to sell goods.”

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Phuket

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days

The Thaiger

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Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook/Claire Johnson

An Australian woman, who was caught overstaying her visa by 111 days, will be released from detention and deported by Thai authorities tonight.

She came to the media’s attention on Monday after sending urgent messages to a friend saying that she was being taken to a detention centre and that “they are taking my phone”.

46 year old Claire Amelia Johnson is an Australian Gold Coast resident. She will depart Bangkok on a QANTAS flight scheduled to arrive in Sydney tomorrow (Friday) morning.

She was due to return to Australia more than a week ago but on Monday evening sent messages to her friend Juliet Potter and told her that she was in an immigration detention centre in Bangkok and begged her to please “help me”.

Read The Thaiger story about her desperate pleas HERE.

Ms Johnson had been running a medical tourism business called Cosmetic Holidays International that offered cosmetic packages in Phuket”.

The business was voluntarily deregistered with the Australian Securities Commission in May 2017, after five years of operation, but her social media accounts continued to promote her cosmetic-surgery tourism business.

Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, told Australia’s Fairfax media that Ms Johnson had been arrested, as well as fined, and would be deported after overstaying her tourist visa by more than 100 days.

“My Immigration Department will send her to Australia. She leaves tonight.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would say only that it was “providing consular assistance to an Australian woman detained in Thailand”, without naming Claire.

Australian woman deported for overstaying visa by over 100 days | News by The Thaiger

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