I rowed Atlantic to get away from family, says Cracknell

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The Independent Online

The furthest most men go to escape their wives, according to received wisdom, is the shed, the pub or the golf course.

But the Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell has admitted that to get away from his young family at Christmas he rowed 2,900 miles across the Atlantic in a seven-week race.

After the Olympics, he said, he had "struggled" with "being a father and husband and an ordinary bloke with a job". In his career, he had been away for four weeks out of seven, leaving his wife, the TV presenter Beverley Turner, to bring up his son Croyde.

Cracknell added: "All the stuff people go through - how to juggle work and family - hadn't really struck me as a big deal. It's only when I was in the middle of it that I thought, 'This wasn't at all what I expected'. There's no one to praise you at the end of the day and tell you've done a good job. And there's no finishing line. You can never sit back and say, 'I did well there'."

But he said the voyage, which included a stint rowing naked with Ben Fogle, made him "think straight" about his options. He has retired from sport and is concentrating on his family, and writing about men's fitness.