Jordan North begins 100-mile rowing challenge for Comic Relief
BBC Radio 1 DJ Jordan North sets off in a single scull rowing boat from Little Venice, London, on his Comic Relief challenge – a 100-mile, five-day row along the UK’s canals from London to his home town of Burnley (Jonathan Brady/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - Jonathan Brady

BBC Radio 1 presenter Jordan North has embarked on a 100-mile rowing challenge in aid of charity.

North donned a pair of multi-coloured Crocs as he began the journey upstream along the UK’s canals from Maida Vale, west London, aiming to reach to his home town of Burnley in five days as part of a Red Nose Day fundraising campaign.

The former I’m A Celebrity contestant, 32, said the last strenuous physical activity he did was a 10km run, but he will now tackle eight hours of rowing per day in a single scull rowing boat.

Just before setting off on his journey, he said: “I didn’t sleep well last night, if I’m honest, as you can tell by my eyes.

“I am ready and just want to get going now. I am a bit apprehensive but just want to get on the water. It’s not a bad day, and it’s not raining.”

He has been training for six weeks with Fulham Reach Rowing Club trainer Tracy Corbett, but has no previous rowing experience.

A few days before the challenge, he said: “Six weeks ago, when I was stood by the side of the River Thames, I thought ‘how hard can it be to row a boat?’. Trust me, it’s very hard.

“It took me seven attempts to pass my driving test so you can imagine how I’m feeling about navigating 100 miles of the canals to get to Burnley over five days solo.

“There have been times where I’ve thought that I won’t be able to do this and have felt quite overwhelmed, I know it will be so hard.

“Having said all that, I am also really excited, I’ve been putting my body through it and pushing myself as far as I can go in training.

“I am really proud to be doing this for Red Nose Day. I grew up watching it on TV and know it raises money for such an amazing charity that does fantastic work and supports a lot of young people.”

Comic Relief 2022BBC Radio 1 DJ Jordan North sets off in a single scull rowing boat from Little Venice, London, on his Comic Relief challenge – a 100-mile, five-day row along the UK’s canals from London to his hometown of Burnley. (Jonathan Brady/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - Jonathan Brady

North, who hosts the Radio 1 drivetime show with Vick Hope, became a viewer favourite during his time on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity in 2020 as he overcame his fears during a series of challenges.

He has been practising his rowing technique three times a week on the River Thames and has been put through a strength and conditioning programme.

The challenge, called Rowing Home, will be broadcast live each day on Radio 1 including canal-side broadcasts of Going Home With Vick And Jordan daily from 3.30pm to 5.45pm.

It will also be filmed for a documentary airing in March on BBC Three and iPlayer, ahead of Red Nose Day on Friday March 18.

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