Nathalie Benoit’s New Challenge: Rowing from Paris to Marseilles

HTBS’s Hélène Rémond writes from France,

In October 2012 on HTBS, French Paralympic Athlete Nathalie Benoit announced her new goal: ‘It’s not to row fast, but to row for a long time.’ Today, at 1 p.m., she will leave the port of Austerlitz in Paris for a 39-day trip to Marseilles, through Lyon (France’s three biggest cities).

At 33, Nathalie, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, wants to discover French inland waterways and share close relationships with people who will join her on the water in the 509 cities she will be passing.

Propelled only by Nathalie’s arms, the boat will run at an average pace of 5 km per hour, spanning more than 1,000 km and passing 174 locks. It means a total of about 300,000 oar strokes. One of the difficulties laying ahead is rowing against the stream of the river Seine, a distance of 90 km. It’s a unique performance never carried out before on the French inland waterways.

To fulfill her aim, Nathalie has been mentally preparing and training punctuated with chromotherapy and shiatsu sessions. Her challenge definitely demonstrates a huge amount of courage and perseverance.

To follow her progression, a map is displayed online at Please feel free to send encouraging messages to Nathalie here.

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