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  • Rower and cancer survivor smashes solo Atlantic rowing record: 'I had barely any muscle soreness thanks to CurraNZ'

Rower and cancer survivor smashes solo Atlantic rowing record: 'I had barely any muscle soreness thanks to CurraNZ'

on March 28, 2018

CurraNZ ambassador Kiko Matthews, 36, has become the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic solo, smashing the record by a phenomenal six days and becoming only the seventh woman to achieve the feat.

The Londoner arrived in Barbados on Thursday evening to throngs of people, including her family, who welcomed her in after completing the 3,000-mile crossing from Gran Canaria.

Kiko, who had never rowed before the challenge, described CurraNZ as ‘my blackcurrant lifesavers’ that she says spared her from any significant muscle soreness.

After reaching land, Kiko said: “I literally can not believe I rowed 3,000 miles and barely had any muscle pain at all. It’s unheard of and I can not attribute this to anything else other than the two lots of CurraNZ I used daily. 

“In fact the last day I forgot and it was the only day I had muscle aches. It’s true.

"I didn’t use a foam roller or do any stretches, except for elevating my legs once or twice. Towards the end I massaged my forearms as I was getting claw hand, but I think that was inevitable!”

Kiko endured 15-hour rowing shifts on as little as two hours’ sleep, clocking up over 700 hours of rowing in a range of extreme conditions that pushed her to her mental and physical limits.

Considered one of the most gruelling endurance challenges known to man, this was the first time any athlete has used CurraNZ for a physical test of this scale and duration.

Experienced ocean rower and expert Angus Collins describes Kiko's DOMS-free experience as 'very rare'.

The adventurer, who has three record-breaking ocean rows to his name, says: "Muscle pain in ocean rowers is hard to measure. In my eyes 90% do not physically train in the right way and almost 100% of them do not look after themselves when at sea. They have this theory that because you are rowing an ocean, you will be in pain. There are a combination of factors here, from lack of stretching, nutrition and not taking correct supplements. 
"What I will say though is that Kiko not having any muscle aches is extremely rare."

During her crossing Kiko encountered sharks, whales, severe blistering on her feet and hands, huge ocean-going vessels and massive 70-foot waves. She had to be her own doctor, navigator and counsellor, and forgo any creature comforts for almost two months.

Only a year ago Kiko was in King’s College hospital receiving life-saving brain surgery for treatment of a rare cancer. This caused the debilitating condition, Cushing’s disease, which resulted in psychosis, diabetes, severe muscle wasting and extreme fatigue.

Kiko decided to do ‘something big’ to show her gratitude hospital for saving her life, and enable them to continue their incredible work in an improved facility. Her epic achievement is in aid of the hospital’s new intensive care wing. So far, Kiko has raised a phenomenal £84,700 of the £100,000 target.

As well as providing Kiko with lots of ‘magic berries’ for her training and challenge, CurraNZ was part of the 100togHER initiative that sponsored her. Atlantic crossing. 

To donate to the King’s College intensive care facility fund, to donate, go to