Kayaking to Tokyo

Emilia McAllister Jepps

  • 100.00% funded
  • £ 3,500.00 pledged
  • Days Left

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Two years ago I turned my life upside down. I gave up my job. I moved 200 miles from home. I took a risk to pursue my Olympic dream.

After a lengthy selection process I was invited to join the British Canoeing Girls4Gold fast track programme in Nottingham.

The end goal? To find and produce potential Olympic medallists in Sprint Canoeing for the Tokyo 2020 games.

The catch? I had never even paddled a Canoe or Kayak, and when I was offered the chance to train full-time for this ambition, I had just about mastered sitting in one!

Two years from when I embarked upon this mad but brilliant journey, I am more sure than ever that I did the right thing setting up life in Nottingham to pursue the goal of reaching Tokyo 2020. There were no guarantees that – even with training two or three times a day, six days a week – I could be successful in the sport.

Whilst there are still many things to work on, and a long way to go until Tokyo’s Olympic Games (around 1,500 days from now), I am continuing to make progress in the right direction and have enjoyed some recent success at national and international regattas.

I have represented British Canoeing at the Canadian National trials, the Women’s Canoe Cup and most recently the Essen Regatta. During the current racing season I have consistently placed in the top two positions in my category for the Women’s K1 200 (you can watch my most recent race in the video below, the race title WK1 200).

For me to be able to improve my training and performance, I need to purchase my own equipment. By having my own boat, built to suit me, I will be able to achieve faster times. This would largely be down to the stiffer structure of the boat, the shape of the hull and the personalisation of the fittings.

In addition I am hoping to purchase my own paddles, again a better fit for my own style, strength and preference.

Many people ask how they can help, and many of you who ask will know that I am ferociously independent and unwilling to accept help from anyone! But this time, I am asking for you to help me.

Any donation towards funding the purchase of this equipment would push me closer to Tokyo 2020.

If you are able to be a part of this project I would be incredibly grateful. Every donation will be personally acknowledged, and every little bit will help!

Thanks for all your support so far, I hope you are as excited as me about the future!

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Essen Regatta, Germany April 2016

My first taste of the Sprint Kayak competition internationally, a great weekend of racing with PBs across the board in both my K1 200 and K1 500. I also picked up a couple of medals! A bronze in the K2 200 and a silver in the K4 500. Not a bad haul and all within 18 months of taking up the sport.

National Open Sprint Championship Regatta, Nottingham UK June 2016

Our National Open Sprint Championships are the highlight of the domestic racing calendar. It has been great to race for my club, Holmepierrepont Racing Canoe Club, and I was pleased to be able to produce some fast times across the weekend and two medals! On the first day of competition, in a relatively green partnership, I won bronze in the K2 200. Individual racing happened on the second day of the competition, and in a very tight race I secured a silver medal in the K1 200 in a time very close to my personal best.

National Sprint Regatta, Nottingham UK July 2016

The July National Regatta is a brilliant event in the middle of the racing season, giving the opportunity to get out and enjoy competing against paddlers from across the country. Unlike the Championships, racing is categorised according to your performances and ability. There are 4 categories from A - D and I race in B after being promoted at the end of the 2015 racing season. To put it into context, those who race in Women's A are generally the Olympic Racing Squad or the Olympic Development Programme athletes. As a Girls4Gold Talent ID athlete my aim is to ultimately transfer to one of these programmes. During the July Regatta I was the fastest Women's B paddler in the K1 200 and K1 500. My category was also combined with Women's A, and overall I placed 2nd in the K1 200 and 3rd in the K1 500.

+Thank Yous and Updates

Summer has disappeared but the rain won't stop me!

I hit the ground running, quite literally, this morning out in the rain as a new week of training begins. My programme is gearing up towards a couple of tough weeks before tapering down for my next competition. Weather in 'Costa del Nottingham' might be a bit dreary but I always look forward to these kind of training weeks. It is very rewarding when you know that in a few weeks time on the start line you have had a solid block of hard work behind you!


Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far, I woke up this morning and I was already over the 10% mark! Keep a look out for some big shout outs over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! And for the anonymous donation fairies, if you would like to reap the benefits of your support then drop me an email and I will add you to my list! This morning I put down some consistent 500s on some lovely flat water....every cloud has a silver lining as the water is usually nice and flat when it rains. Take a look at the link at the bottom of this post to see some sunnier sights! Big thank you again! Please continue to follow my adventures and share my story.

Milestone Reached!

Just one week into the fundraiser and a huge milestone of 25% has been reached, what an incredible response so far, and I am thrilled to be getting closer to the target everyday. I appreciate the time that everyone has taken to read about the my project, I know that you all have very busy lives. But I hope that you will continue to follow me through the rest of this season and on to many more. Last week was a heavy training week and a few obstacles tried to stop me, but training is going well and I am starting this week off feeling positive about everything (including the weather).

Success at the July Regatta, and a long overdue update

It has been a busy couple of weeks, with the main focus being the July National Regatta on 2nd and 3rd. My main aim of the regatta was to produce times that were consistent with what I had been doing in training, and also to try improve my starts. In general it was a really enjoyable weekend, despite the stonking head wind, and I was able to cross the line in the fastest time for my category for K1 200 and K1 500. Whilst racing I made sure I put in a few big pushes for everyone who has very kindly donated so far, having your support adds another weapon to my armoury when I sit on the start line, and I am very grateful that people have been so generous. The photographs are yet to appear from the weekend, but keep checking for a link to be able o view me in action!

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