(Neil Phipps, Kevin Thomson, Dean Hachey,
Mike McGuinness, Jono Willcocks)
(scroll down for bio's)
(apologies to anyone
we've missed on this list ... email me
to be added)
Kevin’s background is in electronics,
computers, customer service, hospitality, event management and
outdoor recreation. He started long distance running while involved
with his Vancouver business (Carpe Diem Adventures) that created
activities for people to expand their comfort zones. After seeing
hundreds of members address their fears, he began to think he could
do anything. So he ran solo across Canada (www.runninginto2000.com).
During that run in 1999, Kevin pondered
the obvious questions: “How far to the next washroom?”,
“When’s dinner?” and “How fast can human beings travel this
rather large country under their own power?” He was to find out
the exact answers to his first two questions in every instance
(although not always to his satisfaction), but he has yet to
discover the answer to the latter. So here we are.
As leader of this record attempt, Kevin
has gathered up some of his favourite people on the planet to share
this unique adventure with him. He believes that just because
something has never been done, does not make it impossible. It just
makes it more interesting.
Born in Montreal, Quebec; raised in
Colgate, Saskatchewan; Sutton,
Quebec; and Saint John,
New Brunswick; schooled in Toronto and now living in Vancouver,
gives Kevin a full sense of the Canadian experience. He intends to
cross Canada by many means having so far managed car, train, air and
foot. Each trip is a unique experience, and every crossing exposes
him to a different perspective of this huge and wonderful country.
Kevin’s parents live in London,
Ontario and continue to encourage him to chase his dreams. They do
however hope for him to someday dream of settling down somewhere and
get a real job. Thankfully, his brother Scott, had the good sense to
marry a fine woman and raise up a dazzling child to take care of the
Once the record attempt is complete,
Kevin intends to settle down and plan the next crossing while doing
some event management in between his dreams. Stay tuned!
Jonathan and his wife Cheryl are the directors of Pinnacle
Pursuits, which is a Vancouver-based experiential learning and leadership adventure company that specializes in large youth events, leadership training and mentoring programs, team-building, outdoor adventure and wilderness instruction, and unique custom projects.
Jonathan's university training is in Kinesiology and Human Potential. He graduated in 1995 from university in Victoria, where he lived for 14 years after moving to Canada from the U.K. After university, Jono moved to Vancouver, where he established his own fitness consulting and outdoor adventure business as well as continued to work as a wilderness boot camp instructor and motivational lifestyle counselor for youth offenders in Squamish, which he had been doing since 1993. Over the past several years, Jonathan has worked for numerous organizations in a motivational, educational and leadership training capacity including school classes, sports teams, youth at risk, and specialized adult groups. Jonathan is certified in all areas of wilderness adventure and has worked extensively as a wilderness guide for youth and adults within the Outward Bound structure both in the United Kingdom and in Canada.
Athletically, Jono has excelled in both team sports and solo adventures. His accomplishments include completing several half-marathons, marathons, triathlons, and adventure races. As a youth he was can avid soccer player and as an adult has focused primarily on running, mountain-biking, mountaineering and eco-adventure racing. He spends his spare time in the outdoors and enjoys fly-fishing, paddling, skiing, tandem biking, and all season backpacking. Jonathan loves to travel and to write and reflect on his adventures with groups and in the wilderness.
Jonathan's enthusiasm and love for life is vibrant and contagious! He is totally excited to be one of the members of the Rowing Across Canada team. He is looking forward to participating for several reasons: both the physical as well as the emotional challenge and accomplishment of the journey, the thrill and enjoyment of working in an intense and dynamic team environment with incredible people, including his wife who will be one of the support people, and of course the wonderful opportunity to help plan the event and then to travel across the largest country in the world in such an incredibly unique (and challenging) way!
Dean’s background is in High Tech, having the good fortune to work for great companies like Apple, Compaq, and currently i2 Technologies in Markham, Ontario. Dean has an extremely fulfilling professional life.
Married 10 years, and a father of two beautiful girls, Dean has an extremely fulfilling family life.
An avid runner, mountain biker, hockey player, and golfer, Dean has an extremely fulfilling athletic life and an unbelievably supportive and understanding wife, Judy.
As a coach for 7 years in the Canadian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association, (www.CEWHA.com) Dean has a justifiably expansive view of the potential of the human spirit. In the hockey league, children and young adults with various disabilities which have confined their bodies to an electric wheelchair, free their competitive and athletic spirits in unbelievable ways. It is with a kindred spirit that Dean approaches challenges in his life, big or small. It is that same spirit that draws Dean to accept and embrace adventures like this row.
Dean has never left a challenge on the table and loves having something this intense to train for specifically. It is certain that he is having an extremely fulfilling training schedule in order to complete his extremely fulfilling pain and suffering in May, 2001.
|Mike McGuinness (rower)
To me, Mike is defined by three things; his unchanging fun way of life; his often changing activities; and his continually changing hairstyles. I have been playing along through life with Mike for over 14 years. The guy is fantastic. I think nothing sums up more how great I think he is but the fact that my wife, Maureen, and I chose him to be our God-husband. That means, if I die, he gets Maureen. He makes the world a better place to be in. During these last 14 years, Mike and I have sweat so much together that we could probably fill an Olympic pool. In those years, I saw him change from a provincial record holding swimmer; to a big, big no neck weight lifter; then to an ultra marathon runner; followed by mountaineering. Now he wants to row across Canada. I don't know what the term for that would be: maybe Eccentric Athletics? If there is ever an Olympic event where you swim 5km; squat 300lbs; run an ultra marathon and then bag a peak it would be called the Mike-a-thon. And he could do it, no problem...
His friend, Eric
Neil was born and raised in Sudbury Ontario where he spent much of his free time preparing for and competing in running and cross-country skiing events at a wide variety of distances. After attaining
mediocrity in both sports, Neil shifted his focus to multi-sport racing in the late eighties at which he spent half a decade in a vain attempt to
achieve greatness. The most significant effect that triathlon/duathlon had on him during this period was to spark a passion for cycling which quickly evolved, more specifically and much to the detriment of his academic pursuits, into a passion for mountain biking which led him to the beautiful Coastal
Mountains of British Columbia. He was, at the time, unable to explain the euphoria he experienced while mountain biking; an activity consisting primarily of agonizing cardiovascular exertion frequently punctuated by short bursts of the mind numbing type of pain generally associated with the smashing of one's thumb with a large hammer or rag dolling down a boulder strewn mountain trail.
After nearly twenty years of endurance racing in almost every conceivable sport, with little or no tangible success, Neil has come to the sad realization that it is the human pain and suffering, particularly his own, that he is addicted to and not, as previously believed, the thrill of victory. This unfortunate ailment has left him extremely
susceptible to bizarre and stupid ideas and, therefore, clearly unable to resist the opportunity to participate Kevin's latest adventure concept.
Neil is best known for his complete and utter lack of emotion and his ability to articulately contradict even the most obvious of statements. These
characteristics, or lack there of, are expected either to provide a healthy balance for the overwhelming optimism exhibited by the rest of the group members or result in his premature demise in an
unfortunate, (and oddly unwittnessed), "accident" during one of the groups team building sessions somewhere deep in the B.C. wilderness. Either way he is anxiously expecting to experience previously unattained levels of personal suffering throughout the course of this adventure.
Pistak (Backup Rower)
Kathleen was born and raised in Trail, B.C. before moving to the big city of Vancouver to go to the University of British Columbia. In
high school, she was a member of both the track and X-country running teams.
She has worked as a lifeguard for almost four years now, and loves being in or near the water. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Science at UBC. Kathleen attended Selkirk College for two years before transferring to UBC. At UBC, she learned how to row and has had the
privilege of rowing for the UBC team this past year. Kathleen enjoys doing
duathlons and triathlons, almost as much as she loves training for them. Along with biking, swimming and running, she enjoys X-country skiing, downhill skiing, hiking, and, of course, rowing.
Kathleen is really excited to have the opportunity to be involved in this project. She's never
traveled across Canada before, and she figures this is a pretty neat way to do it!
Rob spends most of his time
in front of computers as an Internet website developer and
technology consultant over the last 2 years. Prior to that he
owned and managed Patriot Computers manufacturing computers in
Richmond, BC. ... Over the past 15 years Rob has been involved with many
adventures with Kevin and loves the challenges that surely present
themselves each and every time! Rob and his company GTO
Online Communications are responsible for this website and will
keep it current during the amazing adventure.
Friesen (RoadBoat consultant)
Jeff is not quite sure what he wants to be when he grows up. He is a software developer turned
civil engineer. He has always had an undeniable urge to take things apart to see how they work.
Recently married, Jeff will not attempt to disassemble or reverse-engineer his wife.
Jeff brings a decidedly odd perspective to most undertakings. His half perfectionist and half
'don't-bother-me-with-details' approach allows him to jump between minutiae and the big picture
with awe-inspiring rapidity. He sometimes dwells on the absurdity of every-day life. He seeks to
find humour in others, and considers it essential to life. Advice, a good deal of 'devil's advocacy',
laughter, and conceptual whippers from left field are Jeff's contributions to the project so far.
|Craig Pond (rowing
Craig is the head coach of the University of British Columbia's women's varsity rowing team and is the co-head coach at the Thunderbird Rowing
Centre. He is also currently the men's coach of the BC provincial team. Craig began his rowing career in Ontario where he was very successful as both a junior and a lightweight competitor at
high school , provincial, university, and national level. He then moved to BC where he competed on the UBC varsity team as well as the provincial team. Craig has had more than fifteen years of competitive rowing experience and nine years of coaching experience. Recently Craig has acted as head jr. men's coach at the Gorge Rowing Centre and was also involved with the 1999 jr. national team selection. He is currently pursuing his level 4 coaching certificate.
Willcocks (support team)
Cheryl is Jonathan's wife and business partner in
Pursuits. To the Rowing Across Canada team, not only does she bring her incredibly wonderful energy and support, her attention to detailed logistics and as well as her back ground in large scale projects, but also and more essentially, she brings to the team her incredible understanding of group dynamics and process, team-building, and communication. The potential issues that ultimately arise in any new and challenging situation and their resultant impact on personal integrity and group well-being, including the factor of stress that the rowers may experience during the intensely emotional and psychological moments of this unprecedented challenge, may be quite overwhelming -- the impact of over 150 hours of the same type of exercise for 10 days for each athlete, while at the same time maintaining sanity within the group, will certainly be an emotional test for these rowers that will definitely require supportive facilitation!
Cheryl's educational training includes a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology with a strong focus on self-responsibility, enhanced communication and personal meaning. She has worked in group dynamics, strategic philanthropy, and community development marketing. As a consultant, she has worked to develop, implement and assess various marketing and group initiatives with the Vancouver Canucks and Grizzlies, the Chicago Bulls, Children's Hospital and many other organizations. Through Pinnacle Pursuits, she is committed to long-term relationships with clients and maintains ongoing contracts with several sports teams, educational institutions and corporations.
In her spare time, Cheryl can usually be found fly-fishing, reading, writing, skiing, paddling, tandem biking, and going on little adventures anywhere!
Cheryl is excited to be part of the project not only because she enjoys working with Jonathan on anything unique and new, but also because she loves to be part of a highly positive group-oriented vision, where she can practice her skills and expertise, and learn more about herself and others where positive empowerment, personal meaning and the synergy of shared vision based on a dedication to possibility and the recognition of unique potentials is being fully exemplified.
|Jane Miller (support team)
Jane was born in Vancouver and thrives in its cool and rainy climate. Her outdoor interests include hiking, swimming and running. Jane holds the current female Vancouver record for most ascents of the famous Grouse Grind in 12 hours (she did 7!). She was involved with Kevin's run across Canada by shipping to him his supplies, visiting him on several occasions and keeping him in a good mood on other occasions. She is excited to be part of Kevin's next adventure, this time along for the entire ordeal. Jane believes that life is full of opportunities and challenges and she looks forward to sharing them with others.
|Brian Giesbrecht (graphic artist
Brian is currently in his third year at the Emily Carr
Institute of Art & Design, completing a degree in Industrial Design. Brian brings his love of adventure and design to this exciting project. He enjoys hiking, travel, mountain biking, painting, and design. Brian, together with his wife Christine embarked on an 11 month back packing trip through 18 countries, and are still happily married. This past summer they hiked the beautiful West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island (are STILL happily married), and have plans to head over to Europe again next summer, for more adventures.
|R.J. Sauer (filmmaker/historian)
R.J. Sauer has worked in the film
Industry for over five years as a writer, director, producer and
most commonly, a slave. R.J., a multi-sport enthusiast himself, has
also been active in Adventure Racing for the last year and a half,
losing races in Sea2Summit competitions in Vancouver, Mount Saint
Marie, Panorama and Colorado. R.J. has traveled across Canada many
times and been stuck following many a vehicle but none so unique and
exciting as this. R.J. only hopes the team is as fun and witty on
film as off so that he may become famous from this project.
Let us be thankful for the fools;
but for them the rest of us could not succeed. Mark Twain
R.J. is currently producing a
film on the upcoming 2001 Iditasport:Impossible race in the winter
cold of Alaska. “I only hope my snowmobile can keep up with
this Dave guy”.
Wong (Massage Therapist)
Winston has been in practice as a Massage Therapist since he graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in 1997. In his clinic, he sees a wide range of ailments associated with the human condition, but Obsessive Rowing
Compulsion disorder is one symptom no one ever sees and after this trip is finished, no one will probably ever see again. Look for a possible submission to JAMA in the near future.
A late addition to the team, Winston looks forward to the challenge of keeping the team in top physical condition seeing Canada at 40 kph, and working with individuals with such a colourful vision.
Winston regrettably, though sees the world in black and white......(but he looks so damn good doin' it!)