Row-a-marathon challenge raises cash for Paignton Zoo

Marathon rower Becki Haddock

Marathon rower Becki Haddock - Credit: Archant

Imagine completing a marathon distance on a rowing machine in the heart of lockdown and imagine doing it when your previous experience of such a notoriously tough sport amounts to a few ten-minute stints.

Save Paignton Zoo

Save Paignton Zoo - Credit: Archant

Teignmouth-born Becki Haddock, who has recently returned to South Devon after three years in London, decided to take on this immense challenge as her way of raising funds and awareness for Paignton Zoo.

After three weeks of intense training and just under four hours of intense pain, Becki completed the marathon and was able to hand over more than £1,000 to a very grateful zoo.

'I rowed a marathon on a Concept Two rowing machine,' said Becki. 'It was right in the thick of lockdown and I did the marathon all in one go, taking a total of three hours and 59 minutes.

'The third hour was brutal, really difficult, and I was just thinking about the finish. I hadn't stepped on a rowing machine for longer than ten minutes before that but my step-dad is an avid rower, and he had the machine at the house.

'I trained every day for three weeks in preparation, so it was an intense experience.'

Like many fundraisers, Becki took inspiration from special childhood experiences at Paignton Zoo and the wonderful support being shown to this Torbay icon continues to amaze.

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'I raised £1,300 and the motivation to help Paignton Zoo comes from a love for animals,' said Becki. 'I've got so many childhood memories from the zoo and I couldn't bare the thought of anything happening to the animals.

'I knew the zoo was struggling and I think it was a little forgotten about at the start of the crisis. They weren't getting support from the Government, so they had to rely on fundraising.

'They were very happy when I handed over the cheque but I purely did it to be a helping hand.'

• If you know of any individuals or businesses raising money for Paignton Zoo, let us know - email