Sentinel Rowing Challenge

Academics from Leeds Beckett University are supporting former SAS soldier Ian Rivers as he rows across the Atlantic Ocean for the Row Sentinel Challenge. Find out more about Ian, the challenge ahead and the expertise and research that is being put into practice.

Ian Rivers rowing
Ian Rivers

Ian Rivers

I’d describe myself as an adventurer. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, ever since I was a kid. I’ve wanted to attempt this challenge since I was in my 20s.

Ian Rivers
Ian Rivers

The challenge

Ian will be rowing a small boat over 3,100 miles, with only the stars to guide him to raise money for the SAS Regimental Association’s Sentinels programme and St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire. He will be rowing for between nine and twelve hours each day and estimates that the crossing will take him around 95 days. He will start the challenge in mid-May.

Ian's story

From tackling Everest, to escaping kidnap in Syria, Ian’s life has been anything but dull. He’s a qualified yacht master, an ex-SAS solider with 27 years of experience and a mountain guide. Now 55 and a grandfather, he’s attempting to complete a challenge that has been his ambition for decades.


Ian arrived at the Isles of Scilly on Monday 23 August, after 85 days in the Atlantic Ocean. During that time, he battled through capsizings, a force 10 storm and serious injuries. Read more about his journey. 

Ian Rivers says thank you to Leeds Beckett

Latest updates

Dr Mariana Kaiseler talks about preparing Ian for the Sentinel Rowing Challenge.

Ian Rivers

Row Sentinel

The challenge has its own dedicated website where you can find out more about Ian and his background along with a detailed breakdown of the challenge itself. The row is designed to raise money for the Special Air Service Regimental Association (SASRA) and St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford, whilst also raising awareness of the mental health challenges facing serving and veteran personnel.

Support from Leeds Beckett

Ian approached Leeds Beckett after working with the university previously when it supported the British Army’s attempt to summit Mount Everest via the West Ridge in 2006. He has been given expert advice from academics from the Carnegie School of Sport and the School of Health on various aspects of the challenge, from physiology to nutrition.

The Leeds Beckett support team comprises:

  • Physiology
    • Professor John O'Hara
    • Dr Barney Wainwright
    • Anna Nicholson-Little
    • Dan Snape
    • Craig Robertson
  • Psychology
    • Dr Andrew Manley
    • Dr Mariana Kaiseler
  • Nutrition
    • Dr Theocharis Ispoglou
    • Dr Lauren Duckworth
    • Louise Sutton
  • Physiotherapy
    • Jason Hynd
  • Strength and conditioning
    • Dr Alex Dinsdale
  • Body mapping composition
    • Dr Matt Barlow
Ian Rivers being assessed by the team at Leeds Beckett prior to starting his challenge

Ian being assessed by the team at Leeds Beckett