Eleanor Joyner officially began rowing Dec. 3, 2013. Her daughter rowed in college and joined multiple rowing groups. When Liberty Recreation Center obtained rowing machines, Joyner decided to start rowing herself.
Joyner began her voyage six years ago after completing her first million meters. One of the Liberty staff members told her the distance she achieved was the equivalent of going from Brazil to Africa. With one million meters done, Joyner planned to cover the rest of the world over the next seven years.
“I thought I’d take that and go west,” Joyner said. “I don’t know why – it just seemed like the right way to go for me, and I just kept marking it around the world. It’s kind of fun.”
Instead of rowing around the equator, Joyner chose to row around the 33 parallel, as it is a longer distance, and it is close to Plano.
After finishing her around-the-world voyage, Joyner aims to complete 100 million meters.
“I’m one-third of the way to that goal,” Joyner said. “Goals can build on each other. I make my own rules about goals. Notice I didn't think I had to start over for the 100 million.”
Joyner’s drive is centered entirely around goals and doing what she loves.
“I don’t think people realize how important goal setting is in life,” she said. “It’s easy to say at 18, ‘I’m going to college,’ or ‘I’m going to do this,’ but to actually have something that feels like a lifetime change, and I’m going to do this for as long as I can do it. I’ve never had anybody tell me my goals were too big. Or if they did, they just shook their heads and turned and left.”
An inspiration herself, Joyner wants others to find their own goals and reach for the finish line.
“I don’t want people to have my goals,” she said. “I want people to find their own goals. Find something you enjoy doing and do it. Whatever it is. And do it because you love it. If you don’t love it, then you’re not going to do it.”
Her friends, husband and the staff at Liberty Recreation Center counted down the last 20 meters Friday morning as they cheered her on. Once Joyner reached her goal of 24,901 miles, they celebrated together.