Jordan – who had never rowed before agreeing to the challenge – climbed into the boat, aptly named Claret, at 8.15am in Little Venice, London, and navigated the geese and barges as he heaved himself down the Grand Union Canal for the five-day relentless row for Red Nose Day this morning, covering 100 miles between London and Burnley.
Today marks the first day of Rowing Home with Jordan North – a five-day challenge to raise money for Red Nose Day to help people in the UK and around the world live free from poverty, violence and discrimination, and support people with their mental health.
As he entered his one-man scull, Jordan said: “It has just dawned on me what I am about to do. Before now, the biggest physical challenge I have ever done is a 10km run, so I think this will top it!
"Earlier, I was excited but now I am all nerves. This challenge has been months in the making and now it’s here it feels very real.”
Among the nerves and excitement, Jordan was on the brink of tears as his big brother, Ryan, surprised him to wish him good luck. Jordan added: "“This is going to be the toughest thing I have ever done in my life, and I really need all the support I can get. I have hardly slept, and I just hope that I don’t fall in.”
Over the next five days, Jordan will row himself backwards along the country’s canals covering 100 miles between London and Burnley. He will need to remain focused and fuelled in order to complete up to eight hours of rowing a day and navigate the canal system, other boats and barges alongside whatever else lurks beneath the freezing cold water.
Jordan has been undergoing intense training with Fulham Reach Rowing Club Trainer, Tracy Corbett, who will be in a support boat following him throughout.
Tracy said: “I have worked with people for years who would not be able to master this challenge. Jordan is not a seasoned rower, but he has been training so incredibly hard and this challenge is testament to his efforts.
"Today and Friday will be Jordan’s best days, and most enjoyable. The days in-between will really test him, physically, emotionally and mentally but he will get through it.”
Messages of support have been pouring in for Jordan as he takes on his 'oarsome' challenge for Red Nose Day.
He told the Burnley Express last week he will imagine a 'mini Sean Dyche' on his shoulder willing him to 'come on' as the challenge progresses.
One fan, who he spoke to last week during his drivetime show Going Home with Vick and Jordan, was two-time Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover. Helen, who took part in Comic Relief's Night of Entertainment in 2020 in a rowing race, said: “Good luck Jordan, I wouldn’t want to do it! It’s hard, it’s tough but I know Jordan’s ready. He’s been training hard and he’s doing well. It’s going to be difficult but he can definitely do it.”
Jordan’s challenge will be broadcast live this week on BBC Radio 1 (28th Feb – 4th March), including canalside broadcasts of Going Home with Vick and Jordan (3:30pm – 5.45pm) daily.
Host, Vick Hope, joined Jordan at Little Venice this morning. She said: “Jordan, we have Vaseline in hand, we have Sudocrem, we’ve got talcum powder, we have any lubricant you might need. Because we’re all behind you (literally).
“I’m wishing you the best of luck, we love you so, so much. You’re going to smash this. Just watch out for bum blisters!”
Rowing Home with Jordan North will be filmed for a special documentary due to air on BBC Three and iPlayer on Tuesday 15th March at 8.30pm in the run up to Red Nose Day, which returns on Friday 18th March.
Money raised by Red Nose Day will support vital life changing work in the UK and around the world which includes tackling homelessness, domestic abuse, poverty and mental health problems.
To find out more and support Jordan, go to: comicrelief.com/rowinghom