Katie Spotz becomes youngest ever to row an ocean solo

Katie Spotz appears to be a normal 22-year-old woman. But inside her beats the heart of a survivor.

Katie Spotz, before her Atlantic mission. (Photo: Picasa)

“Endurance is patience concentrated.” – Thomas Carlyle

Katie Spotz, 22, knows something about endurance. After 2,817 miles of rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, she endured all that the elements and her body could throw at her. Now she is the youngest person ever to row across an ocean solo. Her 70-day, five-hour, 22-minute journey from Dakar, Senegal, to Georgetown, Guyana, is complete, and while Katie Spotz reaps the rewards of her momentous achievement, the real winners are those in need of clean water. According to the New York Times, Katie Spotz’ “Row for Water” raised more than $70,000 for The Blue Planet Run, a San Francisco-based non-profit committed to providing safe drinking water for people in need. These dollars are gifts of life.

‘You really have to dig deep,’ said Katie Spotz to the Times

Considering that ocean currents forced her to change course – a move that added about 400 miles to her trip – there’s no doubt that Katie Spotz had to tap into an inner strength and determination. Yet her view of it was very pragmatic: You’re trapped in that boat, so what else are you going to do? Wind, currents, 20-foot waves, exposure and difficulty sleeping come with the territory.

What did Katie Spotz eat?

A better question would be if she had enough food to last the trip. Fortunately, she did. In fact, she had packed 110 days worth of food – from freeze-dried meals to granola and dried fruit that wouldn’t easily expire. Even if things had gone wrong and her life was at risk, Katie Spotz had a satellite phone and GPS. Her boat had solar panels as well, so dead batteries weren’t going to be an issue. Those panels also powered a machine that made it safe for her to drink ocean water, so she wouldn’t become dehydrated.

And what did Cleveland-born-and-bred Katie Spotz do to keep from getting bored when rowing wasn’t enough? Her iPod was loaded with audio books. Thank goodness for solar panels.

From Cleveland to the shores of greatness

Many things are said about what makes a person great. When it comes to physical achievement, our society tends to reward athletes with special status – and why shouldn’t we? Human achievement can be measured in many ways, including those physical accomplishments that cause some to simply wonder in awe while inspiring others to reach beyond limits in everything that they do. Katie Spotz becoming the youngest ever to row an ocean solo once again proves that humanity will constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. Dedicating her “Row for Water” to such a good cause proves that a noble heart beats within.

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