The Great River Rowed: The Mississippi Million
Author: John Pritchard (Robinson 1983)
Publisher: Napier Publishing
After a trip to Ghana with Right To Play, John Pritchard, former Olympic rower and self-confessed middle-aged eccentric, set his next formidable challenge: to row the length of the Mississippi River and raise $1,000,000 for the charity.
John and his team would row in a Victorian Thames skiff, a wooden boat with a fixed wooden seats and fixed pins, the design of which has remained almost unchanged for nearly 200 years.
As they set off on an adventure that would take 80 days and cover 2,320 miles, John and his fellow rowers encountered snakes, jumping fish, mosquitoes and deer flies, as well as growing fatigue, and backsides that no amount of sheepskin padding could protect.
But they also learned to appreciate the majesty of this most iconic river, from its winding start past riverbanks lined with forests and peppered with water lilies, to a major industrial waterway with huge industrial barges hauling pushing hundreds of tons of cargo upstream. They experienced acts of kindness and the generosity of spirit that characterises so many people from the Midwest, and discovered while finding hidden gems of towns, tucked along the length of the Mississippi. And they discovered that most problems can be overcome with Sam Adams beer and chicken wings.
Most importantly, this is the story of how the humanity of one African child inspired an incredible feat of endurance and a display of human spirit that changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.
John Pritchard was UK Chairman of international charity Right To Play for five years and is currently Chairman of the University of Cambridge Alumni Advisory Board. He is a former Olympic rower and was director of the British Olympic Association prior to the 2012 London Games. He is the founder of Piper Pritchard and Executive Chairman of the Helix Management Services Group.