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Scouters conquer historic Devizes row unaided
TWO young scout leaders stole a march on the competition to ensure their sponsors weren't let down.
Oliver Green, 21, and 24 year-old Elliot Blaine , both leaders of the 1st Harlington scout group, had signed up for the historic Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon, run from Wiltshire to central London using the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Thames.
But two weeks before the start date they had been told that they were not registered and could not compete.
Not wanting to let the scouts or their sponsors down, they decided to do the row independently, setting off at 6am the day before the official race.
They battled freezing temperatures and strong headwinds, paddling all day and throughout the night without the support of event organisers, and negotiating their way around the 77 locks on the 125km route.
Supported every step of the way by fellow scouters Jon Walls and Michael Ayres, after 25 hours and 50 minutes they were cheered to the finishing line by family and friends.
Oliver's mum Mary Green said: "I am so proud of the boys.
"They were absolutely shattered at the end, and many times they felt like giving up as they were exhausted and in pain, but they kept going.
"To finish it is an achievement, but the fact they did it all on their own makes it even more incredible.
"Sir Steve Redgrave quit this year's race this year because it was too tough, so you can imagine what it's like."
The lads, friends since their time as scouts with the group, raised more than £2,500 to pay for a summer sailing trip along the south coast for the 1st Harlington.
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