Fifteen intrepid rowers from Interserve, the international support services and construction group, are testing their endurance for the second year running as they head off from Heathrow today for the gruelling 715 km Yukon River Quest in Canada  – all in a bid to raise £100,000 for the forces’ charity, Help for Heroes.

Joining forces with Bath Rugby coach Neal Hatley, the two Interserve teams will be each crewing a 26 ft Voyager canoe, with the aim of completing the race, now in its 15th year, in under 50 hours.

Competing against 66 other crews from across the world, the team will begin the race on Wednesday 26 June in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada and will race day and night to reach Dawson City before midnight on the 29 June; resting for only ten hours throughout the 444 mile course.

Tim Smith, Strategic Business Director at Interserve, one of two team captains, explained the reason for taking part in the event for a second year.

“There’s no question that the Yukon River Quest is an immense physical and mental challenge and the team has been training incredibly hard for the last eight months.

“Unfortunately last year, only one of our two teams was able to finish the race, so it’s great to see some of the same people returning to challenge themselves once more, joined by new members who have been inspired by last year’s event.

“The personal challenge is one reason why we are all taking part this year.  More importantly, it is to show our support for Help for Heroes, a charity which is close to our hearts.

“Interserve’s association with Help for Heroes goes back many years and is currently our chosen employee charity. We design, build and project manage rehabilitation facilities and deliver a range of service support solutions to support the recovery pathways of wounded, injured and sick military personnel.  Seeing the positive impact that these facilities can play in the lives of wounded military personnel makes us want to do even more; so we’ve set ourselves the ambitious target of raising £100,000 this year – £15,000 more than in 2012.”

Colleagues and customers alike have joined the team’s patrons, (Bryn Parry OBE and Emma Parry, founders of Help for Heroes and Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, the world’s greatest living explorer) in sending their messages of support.

Bryn and Emma Parry said: “The Yukon Challenge requires both physical and mental stamina and it will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.  It is an honour to be associated with this team and we wish you all the very best in this endeavour.  Thank you for your continued support raising much needed funds for our heroes.”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes added:  “The team from Interserve is a group of ordinary guys who want to do something amazing for an extraordinary charity. The team know how grueling the Yukon River Quest is from their experience in 2012 but their determination to succeed and by doing so to raise an even greater sum of money for a charity they are so passionate about will spur them on and I wish the team good luck and good fortune in their endeavour.”

Those interested in sponsoring the team can donate by visiting or by texting BATH91 to donate £5.

The team’s progress can be followed on its blog,, on Twitter @H4H_yukon and on Facebook.