Published: 18/05/2018 13:07 - Updated: 21/05/2018 11:08

Rowing 1400 miles is Elgin man inspired by brotherly love

Written byLeanne Murray

 

23-year-old, Michael Prendergast.
23-year-old, Michael Prendergast.

A ROWER is tackling an ultimate endurance challenge to raise money for his younger brother, who has Down’s Syndrome and autism.

Michael Prendergast (23) will make the daunting journey from California to Hawaii when he gets on the water on June 2.

Michael, who lives near Spynie Castle, will be competing in the Great Pacifc Race.

It will take him from Monterrey in California to Honolulu in Hawaii.

It is expected to take just over six weeks to complete the race, which has been described as the world’s ultimate endurance challenge.

On board his both will be Michael and his three American team mates. They will each take shifts with two hours on the oars and two hours rest in a seven metre by 1.8 metre ocean rowing boat, named Isabel.

The inspiration behind the fundraising is Michael’s 16-year-old younger brother Andrew.

Michael’s set goal is to raise £40,000, with all remaining costs going towards Down’s Syndrome Scotland.

Michael, who went to Gordonstoun School, said: “It is really exciting, but I am also very nervous about it.

“I have been training every day on the rowing machine and I fly over to California on May 15 so we will be training as a team then.

“The shortest route between the start and finish is a little over 2400 miles but with the winds, the current and less than perfect steering means that we will cover closer to 3000 miles.”

Michael also said that his education at Aberlour House and Gordonstoun School instilled in him, a great sense of adventure, coupled with a drive to succeed.

Michael applied for the post of the fourth member of Team Uniting Nations after receiving an email in March.

This stated that a world record could be broken, should the feat be completed in 39 weeks.

After having a couple interviews, Michael was told on March 15 that he was officially the fourth member of the team.

Cheering him on will be Andrew and the rest of his family, which include five other siblings.

They also supported Michael in a cycle challenge in 2014, when he cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats for Autism Scotland.

Michael, who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2016, added: “Everyday is a challenge for Andrew, and simple tasks can present themselves as major obstacles and yet he is a very happy young man who loves to celebrate the achievements of all those close to him.

“I am taking part in the race to fundraise for Down’s Syndrome Scotland because it is a charity I am passionate about and would very much like to support.

“I would like to be able to help Andrew, as well as many others with these difficulties, so that the charity can continue to offer support.”

After Michael finishes the race he will not have much time to rest before he starts training for a new job with the Royal Marines, which starts in September.

Michael is currently looking for sponsorship for his rowing challenge and has urged anyone interested to either phone him on 07526 116286 or go to Michael's Just Giving Page online at for more details.

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