Rebecca Clephan has had a whirlwind of an opening week as the new Programme Manager here at LYR - taking up not only an crucial role in LYR’s expansion to Leeds, but also the #CenturionChallenge!

Spending the first 15 years of her life travelling between a plethora of countries ranging from the Netherlands all the way to Oman, Rebecca found it difficult to build lasting friendships with her peers.

"I wasn't necessarily the most popular girl at school, and it wasn't always easy to make friends as we moved around quite a bit. I've always loved sports though, and by joining sports clubs and teams that became a great way for me to find myself and find other like-minded young people like me!"

As she developed a passion for sport and joined clubs within those schools, she also discovered a new way of building connections with the people around her.

After arriving back in the UK, Rebecca used the life experience gained on her journey in rowing talent development roles for elite clubs in the country.

“Working with high performance is fun, but it is not as thrilling as watching someone compete for the first time, or even join a rowing club and do a learn-to-row course.” Rebecca says.

By joining LYR, Rebecca looks to focus less so on the young athletic prospects, and more on bringing rowing to children who may not be so fortunate to have the ability to take up an oar. The passion for her work also comes directly from her life experiences, she wants children to make lifelong friends through the sport.

LYR is about getting as many people involved as possible, it's all about inclusion and wellbeing, and just making a positive change to young people's lives

After receiving a personal invitation to the Centurion from Andrew Triggs Hodge, Rebecca felt that while it was certainly daunting and perhaps without the preparation time she might've liked - she always looks forward to the challenge of bettering herself. With an already good baseline fitness level, and an "incredibly supportive partner" behind her, she is ready to give it her all.

When asked if there's anyone else who'll be there to support her as she strives to complete the 100km challenge in under 24 hours, Rebecca says that if ever she feels like she's struggling she'll remember one of the junior athletes she worked with this year. A 15-year-old girl who over lockdown was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a form of cancer and, after a gruelling recovery period is now thankfully doing really well. 

“Thinking about doing 100km, just getting through a little bit of sciatica, I feel pathetic if I say no compared to months and months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Thankfully she's doing so well now, and she really is a constant source of inspiration to me - not least when I'm taking on the Centurion on Sunday"