Tori Murden McClure

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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.