We managed to steal some time with Carsten Heron Olsen (that’s the CEO of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to you and me) And here’s what he had to say…

How did you come to be the CEO and race organiser of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

My brother participated in the race in 2009/10 as a pair – this was before Talisker became the title sponsor of the race. I took care of their campaign in regards to logistics, website and land support. When I was in La Gomera and in Antigua to help the team I immediately saw the beauty of the race and more importantly what it could be developed in to. At that time the race was very differently organised but the possibilities were obvious, so the idea about taking the race to the next level was planted and became a reality in May 2012 when Atlantic Campaigns were set up in the Canaries and we took over the race… The rest is history!

 

Have you had your own experience with ocean rowing?

Only through the above! However, I have always been attracted to endurance sports – something that properly started when I was a Sergeant in The Danish Marine Corps.

On the business side of things, building the new Race structure has been a big challenge although I haven’t had one single regret or doubt. I love what I do and if I had the chance I would do it all over again!!

 

Sharks, cargo ships, 40 foot waves! What’s the biggest challenge the rowers face once they’re out on the water?

Easiest answer would be: Ask an ocean rower!! However as seen from a Race Organisers eyes it varies from team to team and participant to participant, but one of the biggest challenges is that you can’t just quit when you are out there.

In many endurance challenges you can “simply” get of your bike, take off your running shoes or just say `come and pick me up’. When you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean there are big consequences if you quit, not only the difficulties in being picked up but you would also have to say good bye to a campaign that may have been part of your life for more 2 years.

The rowers feel very attached and dedicated to their chosen charities so feelings are involved making it difficult to quit. Another factor is Mother Nature, she can be a tricky one to deal with. One day the rowers see her beauty in the form of a beautiful sunrise or sunset and the next day there is rain, lighting and 40 foot waves. Boats get rolled and equipment is lost but all teams are trained well and they are prepared for the dangers of the ocean. Safety is a key word in our race and we constantly monitor our rules and equipment list making sure our race is the safest Ocean Rowing event in the world.

 

This is a very tough challenge! How do you convince people it’s the right race for them?

Previous participants stories `sell´ the race, we don’t need to convince people. What we do and can promise is a life changing experience! This is not only words but a promise we keep. The rowers we say goodbye to in La Gomera are not the same people we welcome into Antigua.

This is one of the biggest rewards I as a Race Organizer receive, it’s very emotional and I feel privileged to be part of it.

We hear from a lot of participants that at some point in their lives they hear about the race and a seed is planted, the thought of doing it themselves grows and when the time is right they sign up and become part of Ocean Rowing History.

The number of people who have done this race is still small compared to other endurance events so it’s a very exclusive club that our participants become a member of!

                 

What’s it like to organise a race on such an epic scale?

`Challenging´ is the first word that pops in to my mind but at the same time the most interesting, fun, rewarding thing I have ever been part of. Luckily we are a great team working with the best of the best within Ocean Rowing. It’s quite a big set up with Duty officers, Event Co-ordinators, Support boats, Race doctors, a PR agency, Media Distributors, a Production team, title sponsor and last but not least the involved authorities in La Gomera and Antigua. The fact that our race starts and finishes in two different countries with different rules and logistics makes the organising part of things quite challenging…but thinking about what our teams go through on the Atlantic we are not complaining!!

 

What’s the most important thing to you, as a race organiser?

Obviously the number one thing for me is that our teams make it all the way to Antigua safe and sound!

But it is also very important for me that we constantly are on top of things in regards to safety and new developments within the sport, that we constantly improve and make the race even better than the last, always with the goal of taking the race one step further.

 

Describe in 3 words, how you’re feeling the night before the race start.

Proud, nervous and excited!

 

Who’s impressed you the most from the 2015 race so far?

Our 26 teams and 62 participants – I can say this from the bottom of my heart. Getting to the start line is a huge challenge and I honestly admire every single soul we have in our race.

 

How can people get involved in the 2016 race?

Go to our website atlanticcampaigns.com and sign up!

Before signing up we send out a Race Introduction Pack to give potential participants and idea about the challenge.

We managed to steal some time with Carsten Heron Olsen (that’s the CEO of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to you and me) And here’s what he had to say…

How did you come to be the CEO and race organiser of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

My brother participated in the race in 2009/10 as a pair – this was before Talisker became the title sponsor of the race. I took care of their campaign in regards to logistics, website and land support. When I was in La Gomera and in Antigua to help the team I immediately saw the beauty of the race and more importantly what it could be developed in to. At that time the race was very differently organised but the possibilities were obvious, so the idea about taking the race to the next level was planted and became a reality in May 2012 when Atlantic Campaigns were set up in the Canaries and we took over the race… The rest is history!

 

Have you had your own experience with ocean rowing?

Only through the above! However, I have always been attracted to endurance sports – something that properly started when I was a Sergeant in The Danish Marine Corps.

On the business side of things, building the new Race structure has been a big challenge although I haven’t had one single regret or doubt. I love what I do and if I had the chance I would do it all over again!!

 

Sharks, cargo ships, 40 foot waves! What’s the biggest challenge the rowers face once they’re out on the water?

Easiest answer would be: Ask an ocean rower!! However as seen from a Race Organisers eyes it varies from team to team and participant to participant, but one of the biggest challenges is that you can’t just quit when you are out there.

In many endurance challenges you can “simply” get of your bike, take off your running shoes or just say `come and pick me up’. When you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean there are big consequences if you quit, not only the difficulties in being picked up but you would also have to say good bye to a campaign that may have been part of your life for more 2 years.

The rowers feel very attached and dedicated to their chosen charities so feelings are involved making it difficult to quit. Another factor is Mother Nature, she can be a tricky one to deal with. One day the rowers see her beauty in the form of a beautiful sunrise or sunset and the next day there is rain, lighting and 40 foot waves. Boats get rolled and equipment is lost but all teams are trained well and they are prepared for the dangers of the ocean. Safety is a key word in our race and we constantly monitor our rules and equipment list making sure our race is the safest Ocean Rowing event in the world.

 

This is a very tough challenge! How do you convince people it’s the right race for them?

Previous participants stories `sell´ the race, we don’t need to convince people. What we do and can promise is a life changing experience! This is not only words but a promise we keep. The rowers we say goodbye to in La Gomera are not the same people we welcome into Antigua.

This is one of the biggest rewards I as a Race Organizer receive, it’s very emotional and I feel privileged to be part of it.

We hear from a lot of participants that at some point in their lives they hear about the race and a seed is planted, the thought of doing it themselves grows and when the time is right they sign up and become part of Ocean Rowing History.

The number of people who have done this race is still small compared to other endurance events so it’s a very exclusive club that our participants become a member of!

                 

What’s it like to organise a race on such an epic scale?

`Challenging´ is the first word that pops in to my mind but at the same time the most interesting, fun, rewarding thing I have ever been part of. Luckily we are a great team working with the best of the best within Ocean Rowing. It’s quite a big set up with Duty officers, Event Co-ordinators, Support boats, Race doctors, a PR agency, Media Distributors, a Production team, title sponsor and last but not least the involved authorities in La Gomera and Antigua. The fact that our race starts and finishes in two different countries with different rules and logistics makes the organising part of things quite challenging…but thinking about what our teams go through on the Atlantic we are not complaining!!

 

What’s the most important thing to you, as a race organiser?

Obviously the number one thing for me is that our teams make it all the way to Antigua safe and sound!

But it is also very important for me that we constantly are on top of things in regards to safety and new developments within the sport, that we constantly improve and make the race even better than the last, always with the goal of taking the race one step further.

 

Describe in 3 words, how you’re feeling the night before the race start.

Proud, nervous and excited!

 

Who’s impressed you the most from the 2015 race so far?

Our 26 teams and 62 participants – I can say this from the bottom of my heart. Getting to the start line is a huge challenge and I honestly admire every single soul we have in our race.

 

How can people get involved in the 2016 race?

Go to our website atlanticcampaigns.com and sign up!

Before signing up we send out a Race Introduction Pack to give potential participants and idea about the challenge.