measure of success
to speak about
womens history in March
new book offers
accounts of her heroics feats
Helen E. McKinney
(March 2009) She rowed across the Atlantic for
81 days and 3,333 miles. To say the very least, Tori Murden McClure
is an extremely determined woman. Since March is recognized nationally
as Womens History Month, it is fitting that this inspiring woman
should be a featured speaker at the Oldham County History Center.
Shes best known for being the first woman to row solo, and the
first American to row, across the Atlantic Ocean. She has also skied
across 750 miles to the South Pole, climbed on several continents and
was the first woman to climb Lewis Nunatuck Summit in Antarctica.
Murden McClure was the first
woman and the first American to row
solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
But there is much more to McClure than her superhuman
athletic skills. McClure has recently penned her memoirs, A Pearl
in the Storm.
This is my first book, said McClure, 45, who was born in
Florida but resides in Louisville. Writing it was just something
that I had to do.
On the surface, the book is the story of her row across the ocean. But
there is an underlying story that enters as snippets of memoir
intermingled with the rowing adventure, she said. Writing
the book was more difficult than rowing across the ocean.
McClure will be the featured speaker for a reception to honor Oldham
Countys women achievers at noon Saturday, March 21, at the Oldham
County History Center. Tickets are free but must be obtained in advance.
Tori Murden McClure is a historic figure because she was the first
successful person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, said
Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center.
She inspires others with her amazing abilities and talents in
The History Center is also recognizing those in the community at this
reception who have often worked against obstacles and were committed
to making their community a better place to live in spite of those obstacles
they broke gender barriers that make it easier for women
to work in todays culture, said Theiss.
Due to the efforts of staff member Jan Jasper, the History Center received
a $1,200 grant from the Kentucky Oral History Commission to collect
oral histories of local women who had achieved firsts in
Oldham County. The list includes first woman judge Julia Fields, first
All-American softball player Crystal Lewellen, and first woman magistrate
The grant is a companion to the Womens Work quilt exhibit by artist
Rebekka Seigel. Seigels quilts highlight pioneering women of the
21st century, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Buck and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The oral histories will be a featured part of this exhibit.
Theiss said McClure is a great role model for women and men. During
her solo journey, McClure said she realized that as a human being
I will always be confronted with things that I cannot change. As a human
being I will always have limitations. The only thing that makes the
limitations of my humanity bearable is love.
McClure has received many accolades in her lifetime. She was the first
woman to receive the Peter Byrd Trophy, was recognized in Paris alongside
Lance Armstrong for significant sporting achievement, and had a French
documentary, Beyond Limits Tori Murden made about
her. Shown at the Moscow International Festival of Mountaineering and
Adventure Films, McClure was awarded a Russian chalice for extraordinary
Professionally, her life has been just as successful. She is a former
chaplain for Boston City Hospital, executive director of a shelter for
homeless women, and has worked as a public policy assistant for the
Mayor of Louisville. She worked closely with Muhammad Ali in creating
the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
Success takes endurance, resourcefulness and perseverance,
she said. McClure needed all of these qualities in her attempt to row
across the ocean a second time. The first time she became discouraged,
having nearly died in a violent storm and had to return home. The year
was 1998 and on record as the worst hurricane season in the North Atlantic.
It was after this that she took a job working with Ali. And it was Ali
who convinced me that I didnt want to be the woman who almost
rowed across the ocean, said McClure.
Rick Barney, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spalding
University, said, In her presentation, you will hear about the
many reasons she has been driven in some unique ways. You will be inspired
to make your community a better place.
Barney said McClure is often asked to speak to audiences around the
country. Her message is always similar, and actually has very
little to do with her accomplishments; rather, she inspires her listeners
to seek new challenges in themselves and to encourage others. The most
important thing is what the participants will learn about themselves
in the process.
Success to McClure isnt about rowing across oceans, or skiing
across continents, she said. It is in accomplishing the pick
and shovel work.
Always extending a helping hand, McClures current project revolves
around refinishing a four person rowing shell for the Pink Pearls Rowing
Team. The team will race in support of breast cancer.
For more information about the event, call
the Oldham County History Center at (502) 222-0826.
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