Tori Murden McClure

Rower, Skier, Mountain Climber

Tori McClure was born on March 6, 1963, in Brooksville, Florida, but she spent much of her childhood in Pennsylvania and went to high school in Louisville, Kentucky, where she currently resides with her husband Mac. Tori attended Smith College and while she was there she played four years of varsity basketball, learned to cross-country ski, and learned to row.

In college, Tori had planned to attend medical school, but a tragic incident late in her junior year caused a change of mind. After graduation Tori traveled to Alaska and spent a summer in the wilderness kayaking, backpacking, and climbing. When she returned to civilization she earned a Master's at Harvard Divinity School.

During her last year of divinity school, Tori took two and a half months off from school to ski 750 miles across Antarctica to the geographic South Pole. She and another woman were the first women to reach the South Pole by an overland route. She returned to Harvard and wrote her thesis comparing the rigors of the backcountry adventure with "the far more rigorous" urban adventure. After divinity school, Tori ran a shelter for homeless women. Watching the mayhem in the lives of her clients spurred Tori to continue her studies by attending law school at the University of Louisville.

While Tori was in law school she tried out for the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team, but an automobile accident on the way to the Olympic trials destroyed her hope of making the team. She returned to law school and took a job working for the Mayor of Louisville in the area of public policy. She passed the bar exam the summer after graduation and soon she was in search of another challenge.

She heard about a rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean. In her first attempt, she was hit by Hurricane Danielle. She was injured, and her boat was damaged. She went home and took a job working for the famous boxer Muhammad Ali. On September 13, 1999, Tori made her second attempt to row across the Atlantic. She left from Africa, and on December 3, 1999, she landed on the other side of the ocean on the island of Guadeloupe. Finally, she was the first woman to successfully cross the Atlantic in a rowboat.

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