May completes incredible indoor rowing charity challenges

May Firoozmand has recently completed not one but two 100km ultra-marathon rows – one tandem and one solo – within less than a week, raising over £5,000 for charity


On 1 June 2024 – International Children’s Day – May celebrated graduating as a dentist in Varna, Bulgaria in the highly unusual manner of taking on a tandem 100km indoor row with a colleague. She explained, “We dedicated this event to a Children’s Charity, supporting children and youth coming from less privileged backgrounds, aspiring to be the future teachers, dentists and doctors of today. The success of the event was overwhelming, with over 500 participants and raising over £4,000.”

Just four days later, shortly after returning home to the UK, she doubled the challenge by completing a solo 100km for Dentaid, a charity that provides dental care and oral health advice for people experiencing homelessness, abuse, poverty and harm. May said, “I chose a dental orientated charity due to pursuing a career in dentistry.”

She took her first stroke at 8:45am… and finished a gruelling 8 hrs 52 minutes later! “The longest distance I had rowed in training was 66km, so 100km was the furthest I had ever attempted. It was both a physical and mental challenge, however, I powered through it,” she said.

Her row took place at Oundle School Sports Centre in Northamptonshire. Local people, children, parents and teachers passing cheered her on throughout. “They encircled me with warmth, which encouraged me to keep on going despite the ongoing muscle cramps and the occasional thoughts of stopping. Another machine was placed alongside so members of the public could row alongside me. A parent joined me for the last 2.5 km and we raced to the finish line! The success of the event would not have been possible without the cooperation and help from so many kind people.”

May is delighted to report that she has reached her fundraising target of over £1,000, which will be going towards purchasing another mobile clinic to deliver dental services to more and more remote communities. Supporters can donate to Dentaid UK via her JustGiving page.

Having first started rowing when she was 12 at Peterborough City RC, May is looking forwards to getting back into on-water rowing again soon.