Man with rare degenerative disease attempting epic rowing challenge

On Friday, Mark Taylor will take on a feat most able bodied people would wince at.

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Mark Taylor has even gotten support from Olympic champion Eric Murray for his cause. Source: 1 NEWS

The 48-year-old, who suffers from a rare degenerative disease called neurosarcoidosis, is aiming to row for eight hours to raise money for the heart foundation at Auckland's Rowing club.

Mark was diagnosed 18 years ago with the disease that attacks his central nerve system.

Despite the fact he's lost his eye sight, the use of both his legs and most of the strength in his right arm, tomorrow morning he will attempt to row 100km in under 8 hours to raise $100,000 for charity.

"It gives me a sense of achievement, also it provides a little bit of normality but in saying that, sitting on a rower for 8 hours is not normal"

More than 100 people are expected to attend and support Mark in his challenge.

It's not the first time he's push his body to the limit.

Just last year he swam a distance of around 2km in the Auckland Harbour.

Despite the obvious physical limitations, he's determined.

"I don't like to fail," he said.

"There's people having this expectation that Mark is doing to be there and do it, so I don't want to disappoint."

"I'm going to be there till the end."

Hoping to help him till the end is Olympian Eric Murray.

The two time Olympic gold medallist is hoping to fly up from Wellington to make the event tomorrow.

He's been working with Mark, helping him prepare and assist with modifications to his rowing machine.

"Couple of emails from Eric, progress, this is how I think you should do it, what you do you think ... Eric's all about strategy." 

Family and friends will of course will also be by his side.

His son will help run him food and water during the eight hours which will be broken up with short breaks every hour or so.

"I'm going to keep my heart rate up about the 120s, low 130s and see if we can crack that eight hours."

"It's not going to be easy!"

If you want to donate and support Mark in his endeavour you can visit his Givealittle page here.