Antarctica Speed Record

The fastest Brit in history to ski solo to the South Pole.

On 4th January 2014 Richard became the fastest Brit in history to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

He completed the 1150km/715m solo journey from Hercules Inlet on the geographical coastline of Antarctica to the South Pole in 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes, setting a new British record and recording the second fastest time in history.  He also became the first ever Welsh person to complete a solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole.

Richard took 9 days off the existing British record and throughout his solo expedition faced the traditional brutal Antarctic elements of whiteouts, windchill and sastrugi, pulling a pulk, which weighed around 68.2kg (10 stone 7).  He arrived at the South Pole in temperatures of -24c and after skiing a total of 366 hours, burning the calorific equivalent of two marathons a day completely alone for 29 days.

ANTARCTICA SOLO SPEED RECORD, BEATING THE RECORD

Norwegian Christian Eide set a new world record on 13th January 2011 of 24 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes, covering an average of 47km (29 miles) per day and skiing an incredible 90km (56 miles) on his final day.  Eide smashed the previous record held by Brit Hannah McKeand, who in 2006 reached the pole in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes. 

Richard’s hopes were to break Eide’s record, a feat that many explorers believe to be impossible to beat.

Richard’s original aim was to complete the 1,150km (715 mile) journey in 23 days.  This expedition was the culmination of 12 months of training and preparation which saw Richard ski for 39 days solo in Antarctica, complete the highest mountain bike race in the world in Nepal, take on the Jungle Ultra in Peru and compete in a double ironman in Snowdonia.  His year of adventures and world record attempt were also being filmed for a Channel 5 television series.

Latest Blog

Blog - Back at Union Glacier Base Camp - Monday 6th Jan 2014

Hi guys.  Firstly I have been told about all the messages of congratulations I have received and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for all your support.  When I return to Punta Arenas in Chile I will get to have a look at them on Twitter…

read more »
Latest Blog
  • Antarctica Speed Record blog - Waiting to start - Monday 18th Nov 2013

    Hi guys.  Hope you are all well.  I am currently in Union Glacier Base Camp in Antarctica waiting for a weather window to start my Antarctica Speed Record expedition.I’ve moved in to a tent with Rob the cameraman, it turns out we’re like brothers from another mother over here!  I put the union jack flag up in the middle of the tent and the welsh flag on my side – Rob has put up a Wakefield flag with a Yorkshire tea sign on his side!

    Have finally got round to writing a blog on the last week or so, here goes…

    It was cool to be back in Punta Arenas in Chile, it’s pretty familiar now (my 3rd visit) It’s good to know which are the best restaurants and best places to get good, cheap food.  It’s always great to catch up with the staff from ALE, who once again have been really supportive throughout this expedition.  This time my freight was actually waiting for me, which was really cool!

    When I got to Punta I sorted through my gear and re-packed to fly on the Ilyushin on to the Antarctic continent.  I also did some work on my pulk (sled) in the ALE warehouse.  I had some new runners sent through from the guys at Sportsnett and Acapulka so I took my old runners off my pulk and fitted new ones, which are a little bit more efficient.  I did a lot of filming and training.  It was quite a cool transition period for me.  As always things were epically busy with me before leaving the UK, so having that time in Punta as a transition zone where I can just recalibrate my thoughts, focus the mind is really useful.

    Cognitive testing gear

    A lot of people talk about cutting their toothbrush in half to save on weight but I have decided not to take it.  Instead I am taking my firefly™ recovery devices, recovery is more important than clean teeth.

    So now is the real waiting time for me in my mind – I am ready to go, it’s just about waiting for the weather to become more favourable…then it’s game time.

    I’ve been pretty focused the last few months on this exped and I have only just learned today from my sat phone call back home to my team that my old mate smiler Matthew Rees has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.  Having had cancer affect my family I know how tough it is, I also know how tough smiler is and I just wanted to wish him all the best.

    Speak soon guys.  Rich.

  • Antarctica Speed Record Blog - still waiting! - Wednesday 27th Nov 2013

    Hi guys.  Still waiting to fly from Union Glacier to Hercules Inlet over here.  My spirits are pretty good but this has been one of the hardest situations I have been in.  I know I have waited for weather windows many times before, on Denali and Everest for example and have been stuck here a couple of years ago but we have had rubbish weather for the best part of a month now.

    I have been on standby to fly in the twin otter to Hercules Inlet pretty much every day for the last week - it can be draining packing and repacking.  Like in any sporting situation, waiting is part of the game but this wait is like standing in the tunnel before the biggest game of your life for about 5 days.

    I am not new to this, I’ve been here before but I have never had a whole month of really bad weather.  It’s genuinely been a bit of a rollercoaster.

    The first couple of weeks of delays were really productive, tightening my systems, filming, fine tuning my route etc, now I am two weeks behind really.  I can’t do anything about it though and my spirits are pretty good considering.

    After my last blog we had the worst weather I have experienced in Antarctica, it was unbelievable.  Really high winds, so high you couldn’t really stand up, then when the winds dropped it would snow, then the winds picked up causing crazy spindrift.  You could be sat seven metres away from the tent and not even see it – it was biblical.

    When it is that bad I am grateful to be here at Union Glacier and not out on the exped but it started to clear the last couple of days and yesterday it seemed like there was a positive shift in the weather producing the best chance to fly so far.  I was all packed, waiting by my pulk most of the day.  The clouds were breaking, then they would form again, we were getting satellite images every few hours and were hoping for a long enough window for good visibility but unfortunately we didn’t get it.

    I even showered yesterday ready to get on the ice for 23 days!

    It is just an emotional rollercoaster.  I am trying to stay grounded and level and not get too frustrated but also the opposite to that and not get too excited because I want to save my energy for when I need it the most, but it’s easier said than done.

    We have had a really unstable weather system sat over us for over a week now, and even though it is starting to improve it’s the moisture in the air that is causing the problem.  The density of low cloud cover is affecting contrast and visibility to land the twin otter at Hercules.  It will also provide me with challenges when I start skiing - but at the moment it’s literally just about getting a good enough window to get me to Hercules Inlet.  Hopefully it will continue to improve and be a little more stable.

    I ended up weighing everything yesterday!  My pulk (sled) is 68.2kg (10 stone 7).

    5.4kg of this is camera equipment (I’ll be self filming on this expedition).  I have worked really hard with Rob (cameraman) and Dale (producer) from Zig Zag to shave off any weight I can off my camera kit and adapt it to make life as easy as possible.

    I have 2.8kg of miscellaneous luxuries now! That includes two extra days of food - because I might not start the actual day I land at Hercules Inlet, might have to start the next day dependant on the weather and will have to judge the weather by the hour.  Oh, and I have put my toothbrush back in!

    If it wasn’t for the above my pulk would be around 60kg but I am taking the extra two days of food and instead of three ipod shuffles I am now taking one ipod classic.  The snow conditions are far from perfect – there has been a lot of snow and in order to make my daily targets it could mean skiing longer days so I am taking my classic as it has a longer battery life, more songs and more audio books.

    There are less margins for getting home before Christmas but I have a pretty big incentive to get back in time.  It would be the 4th Christmas in 5 years I have missed – that’s a pretty big incentive to get going, I don’t want to miss another one!

    It’s been great having Rob the cameraman around.  We have taken sharing a tent to a whole new level.  Our bodyclocks are so in sync we are even peeing at the same time.  Rob got married 11 weeks ago and he has been away for 7 of the 11 weeks he has been married so he wants to get home too!

    In good spirits here, despite the epic waiting.  Hopefully the next time you hear from me it will be from Hercules Inlet.

    Rich.

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 1 - Thursday 28th Nov 2013

    I started my expedition at 11.40am chilean time today.  Half day - 6.5hrs, skied 25.4km

     

    S80°7'51", W080°33'22"

    Hours skied: 6.5


    Distance skied: 25.4km/15 miles


    Total hours skied: 6.5


    Total distance travelled: 25.4km/15 miles


    Distance to go: 1124.6km/698 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 3 - Saturday 30th Nov 2013

    Tough day yesterday (Day 2) whiteout and snow - 10 hours skiing off the compass.  No contrast, no horizon.  9.5 hours skied, 27km covered.  

    Conditions are the same today at the moment.

     

    S80°22’0”, W080°21’57”

    Hours skied: 9.5

    Distance skied: 27km/16 miles

    Total hours skied: 16

    Total Distance travelled: 52.4km/33 miles

    Distance to go: 1097.6km/682 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 4 - Sunday 1st Dec 2013

    Hi Guys.  Not the best of news.  Yesterday the weather deteriorated badly.  There had been more snow, total whiteouts, no contrast, no horizon and following a lot of snow I was skiing in powder so deep I was losing my ski’s.

    I did 3 hours yesterday, covered 4.5km in terrible conditions and had to put my tent up.  Conditions were just too poor.  The forecast was meant to be slightly better yesterday but unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.

    It’s been tough going.  The first day I did a lot of climbing.  I climbed 500m and was pleased with my pace - that is the sort of pace I need to hold and I felt really good.

    Day 2 was tough with pretty poor conditions but I got through it.

    Day 3 - yesterday was just savage.  The snow was so soft and sticky it’s almost trebled the weight of my pulk and because of the conditions I was struggling to move fast enough to generate enough heat.  With conditions under foot likely to be the same and after further weather discussions with the guys from ALE for the next few days, I have made the decision to ski back to Hercules Inlet with the option to try and wait there for more favourable conditions and attempt to start over again.  I won’t use my exped food rations as ALE can drop food off so I can eat at Hercules Inlet before I start again, that way I can start with enough food to last the entire expedition still.

    It was a really tough decision to make, I am gutted, but it’s the right one.  It’s impossible to ski the miles I need to a day to break this record with conditions under foot like they currently are and with weather conditions like this.

    I will write more when I re group my thoughts at Hercules Inlet.

    Rich.

  • Antarctica Speed Record - back at Hercules Inlet - Wednesday 4th Dec 2013

    Got to Hercules Inlet yesterday.  Got my cache, lots of nice food, conditions were great yesterday.  Saw 4 other expeds.  Turning back was tough.

    Time to get back to work!

    Conditions are good today - morning conditions were good with high winds.  Have decided to take a rest day today and rest up before starting tomorrow.  Aim is to start at 10am GMT tomorrow.

    S79°59’59”, W079°38’4”

    Altitude: 180m

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 1: The Restart - Thursday 5th Dec 2013

    Good but tough day 1.  A strong headwind all day and steep.  Skied 10 hours and covered 31.5km. 510m climbed.  Happy here.

    STATS:

    S80°11’14”, W080°30’58”

    Altitude 753m

    Hours skied: 10

    Distance skied: 31.5km/19 miles

    Total hours skied: 10

    Total distance travelled: 31.5km/19 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 1118.5km/696 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record – Day 2 - Friday 6th Dec 2013

    Another solid day.  Conditions good but still soft snow patches. Hours skied: 10, Distance skied: 33.3km/20 miles.

    S80°28’52”, W080°12’33”  Altitude 779m.

    Total hours skied: 20

    Total distance travelled: 64.8km/40 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 1085.2km/674 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 3 - Saturday 7th Dec 2013

    A tough day.  Soft snow.  Conditions are good, with a headwind and clear.  Just snow not hardening from snow dump.  I skied for 10 hours, travelled 33.3km.

    STATS:

    S80°46’34”, W079°58’50”

    Altitude 1074m

    Hours skied: 10

    Distance skied: 33.3km/20 miles

    Total hours skied: 30

    Total distance travelled: 98.1km/60 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 1051.9km/655 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 4 - Sunday 8th Dec 2013

    Today was a long day.  Headwind and soft snow. Skied for 11 hours to scrape 30km. Tired but warm in my sleeping bag.  Not good but still in the fight.  Due windy but good conditions for the week.  Tomorrow is a new day!  Have a great Monday guys.

    STATS:

    S81°2’38”, W080°0’58”

    Altitude 777m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 30km/18 miles

    Total hours skied: 41

    Total distance travelled: 128.1km/79 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 1021.9km/636 miles

     

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 6 - Tuesday 10th Dec 2013

    Yesterday was so frustrating.  Headwind was too strong to move.  I did 9.6km before stopping in tent.  Was gutted and frustrated. A better day today. Conditions improved throughout the day.  Made some ground up a little, skied for 11 hours and covered 34.8km.

    STATS:

    S81°26’22”, W079°54’31”

    Altitude 704m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 34.8km/21 miles

    Total hours skied: 58

    Total distance travelled: 172.5km/107 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 977.5km/608 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 7 - Wednesday 11th Dec 2013

    Good day again.  Great conditions.  11 hours skiing, 39.5km/24 miles.  Tired and happy, eating curry now in tent.

    STATS:

    S81°47’35”, W079°57’20”

    Altitude 806m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 39.5km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 69

    Total distance travelled: 212km/131 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 938km/584 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 8 - Thursday 12th Dec 2013

    A good day again today.  11 hours skiing, 40.6km/25 miles covered.  Tired but feeling in the groove.

    STATS:

    S82°9’23”, W079°49’8”

    Altitude 839m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 40.6km/25 miles

    Total hours skied: 80

    Total distance travelled: 252.6km/156 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 897.4km/559 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 9 - Friday 13th Dec 2013

    11.5 hours skiing, 42.0km.  Legs screaming.   Got my firefly™ devices on and recovering in tent.  Snow and overcast due tomorrow and Sunday.  One day at a time.

    STATS:

    S82°31’49”, W079°29’28”

    Altitude 981m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 42.0km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 91.5

    Total distance travelled: 294.6km/183 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 855.4km/532 miles

     

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 10 - Saturday 14th Dec 2013

    12.5 hours skiing in whiteout but got in 40km!  Tired but happy.  A long day.

    STATS:

    S82°53’18”, W079°39’56”

    Altitude: 1069m

    Hours skied: 12.5

    Distance skied: 40km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 104

    Total distance travelled: 334.6km/207 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 815.4km/508 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 11 - Sunday 15th Dec 2013

     S83°14’31” / W080°10’53”  Distance left 775.3km/483 miles miles

    Good but hard day.  Snowed again and reunited with my old friend sastrugi. 11.5 hours skied, 40.1km covered.  Tired but good.  It’s snowing now.

    STATS:

    S83°14’31”, W080°10’53”

    Altitude: 1171m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 40.1km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 115.5

    Total distance travelled: 374.7km/232 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 775.3km/483 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 12 - Monday 16th Dec 2013

    Snowing when woke and whiteout so went back to sleep.  Started at 10am when it cleared and skied for 10 hours, covered 36.3km.

    STATS:

    S83°34’0”, W080°4’50”

    Altitude: 1238m

    Hours skied: 10

    Distance skied: 36.3km/22 miles

    Total hours skied: 125.5

    Total distance travelled: 411km/255 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 739km/460 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 13 - Tuesday 17th Dec 2013

    43km. 11.5 hours skied.  Tired but all good.

    STATS:

    S83°57’4”, W080°7’35”

    Altitude: 1331m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 43km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 137

    Total distance travelled: 454km/282 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 696km/433 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 14 - Wednesday 18th Dec 2013

    Good conditions, skied for 11.5 hours, covered 45.9km.  Tired body, weary but heart and head strong.

    STATS:

    S84°21’41”, W080°18’59”

    Altitude: 1276m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 45.9km/28 miles

    Total hours skied: 148.5

    Total distance travelled: 499.9km/310 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 650.1km/405 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 15 - Thursday 19th Dec 2013

    Another good day!  46.7km/11.5hours.  Tired but all good.

    STATS:

    S84°46’43”, W080°34’31”

    Altitude: 1528m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 46.7km/29 miles

    Total hours skied: 160

    Total distance travelled: 546.6km/339 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 603.4km/376 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 16 - Friday 20th Dec 2013

    11 hours skied, covered 43.6km/27 miles.

    STATS:

    S85°10’4”, W080°55’55”

    Altitude: 1362m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 43.6km/27 miles

    Total hours skied: 171

    Total distance travelled: 590.2km/366 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 559.8km/349 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 17 - Saturday 21st Dec 2013

    All good here.  Great conditions today.  A big climb.  Skied for 11 hours and covered 42.2km/26 miles.  In my bag resting for tomorrow. Tired.     

    STATS:

    S85°32’22”, W081°45’45”

    Altitude: 1454m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 42.2km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 182

    Total distance travelled: 632.4km/392 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 517.6km/323 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 18 - Sunday 22nd Dec 2013

    11 hours skiing, covered 43.3km/26 miles.

    STATS:

    S85°55’33”, W081°42’5”

    Altitude: 1590m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 43.3km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 193

    Total distance travelled: 675.7km/419 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 474.3km/294 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 19 - Monday 23rd Dec 2013

    Great conditions today.  Passed another exped.  11 hours skied, covered 43.2km climbing and blasting my legs.  Happy and smiling.

    STATS:

    S86°18’44”, W081°38’2”

    Altitude: 1762m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 43.2km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 204

    Total distance travelled: 718.9km/446 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 431.1km/267 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 20 Christmas Eve - Tuesday 24th Dec 2013

    Great conditions today but the sastrugi is starting to get a bit more menacing.  My pulk broke today so I have to do a repair on it tonight if I can.  I’ve banned the word tired from the expedition but moving quickly through the sastrugi is really hard work and it’s taking a lot out of my legs.

    Skied for 11.5 hours today and covered 40.8km/26 miles.

    Here’s an update from me and a little Christmas message.  Thank you guys for all your support and Merry Christmas.

    LISTEN TO RICHARD'S XMAS EVE UPDATE

    LISTEN TO RICHARD'S XMAS MESSAGE

    STATS:

    S86°40’40”, W081°41’37”

    Altitude: 1878m

    Hours skied: 11.5

    Distance skied: 40.8km/26 miles

    Total hours skied: 215.5

    Total distance travelled: 759.7km/472 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 390.3km/243 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 21 Christmas Day - Wednesday 25th Dec 2013

    Late start so late finish.  Tough but good day.  Sastrugi and high winds.  Skied for 11 hours and covered 40km.  Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas day.

    STATS:

    S87°2’16”, W081°44’53”

    Altitude: 2170m

    Hours skied: 11

    Distance skied: 40km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 226.5

    Total distance travelled: 799.7km/496 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 350.3km/219 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 22 Boxing Day - Thursday 26th Dec 2013

    Long day to get distance.  Sastrugi was brutal! 12 hours skied, covered 40.1km.  Shattered but happy.

    STATS:

    S87°23’41”, W082°33’47”

    Altitude: 2370m

    Hours skied: 12

    Distance skied: 40.1km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 266.6

    Total distance travelled: 839.8km/521 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 310.2km/192 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 23 - Friday 27th Dec 2013

    Day 23 was f***ing horrible. 13 hours skiing to claw 40.5km in really poor conditions, barely any visibility dipping between whiteout and poor visibility.  It snowed for a bit as well and to make life more confusing I had a northerly wind.  It was a pretty tough day.  Obviously there is the sastrugi but it is really important to me that I push through this.  I’ll be in to the 88th degree by the end of today.  It was my strategy to get through the 87th degree as quickly as possible, obviously I am pushing as hard as I can every day but it was the 87th degree that cost my expedition last year where I lost so much time and I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.  This morning I am 249km/154 miles from the South Pole, by the end of today I will be just over 200km from the South Pole.

    Today was obviously my original target date to reach the pole.  I set myself a goal of 23 days in order to break Christian Eide’s world speed record for the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted ski to the South Pole, which currently stands at 24 days 1 hour and 13 minutes.  Today is day 24 and I am still 249km from the pole.

    As far as the record goes, I am feeling pretty mixed about it.  I’m not dwelling on it, I am not thinking about it, the most important thing is to get to the South Pole safely and within my food rations.  I’m estimating I have 5 to 6 more days before I get to the pole so as far as the record goes I’m not thinking about it too much but I am aware of the significance of what I am doing out here.  I know what it means and what it takes to complete the journey as fast as I am completing it.  It might not be the world record that I came here to break, ultimately Mother Nature has played the biggest part in that as she always does, but I know that getting to the South Pole in under 30 days is a really significant feat.

    My updates have been pretty short on this expedition.  That has been for a few reasons but you’ll be able to see everything and get the full picture on Channel 5 later this year when my new TV series is out.  Thank you for all your continued support and messages on Twitter and Facebook.

    FAST FACTS:


    • Richard is on course to record the 2nd fastest solo journey to the South Pole in history.  With the world record now out of his grasp his aim is to complete the journey in under 30 days.  Only one other person has ever achieved this solo.



    • Richard is on course to become the fastest ever Brit to ski solo, unassisted and unsupported to the South Pole.



    • Currently the fastest ever Brit and the 2nd fastest time in history was held by the accomplished polar leader Brit Hannah McKeand, who in 2006 reached the pole in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes.



    • Richard is set to record the fastest ever solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole by a Briton in history.



    • Richard is also on course to become the first ever welsh person to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole.


    STATS:

    S87°45’18”, W082°18’39”

    Altitude: 2546m

    Hours skied: 13

    Distance skied: 40.3km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 279.6

    Total distance travelled: 880.1km/546 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 269.9km/167 miles

    Note total distance to go stat is based on actual km skied by Richard.  This is not related to Richard’s GPS co-ordinates or his route, therefore his actual km to go may differ depending on his route/gps position.  It is an estimated figure.

     

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 24 - Saturday 28th Dec 2013

    Brutal, cold, sastrugi, climbing, 13 hours skiing.  Covered 40km but in 88 degrees.  So worth it.  Shattered but all okay.

    STATS:

    S88°6’49”, W082°2’43”

    Altitude: 2581m

    Hours skied: 13

    Distance skied: 40km/24 miles

    Total hours skied: 292.6

    Total distance travelled: 920.1km/571 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 229.9km/142 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 25 - Sunday 29th Dec 2013

    Skied for 12 hours and covered 40.3k.  Thank you for the continued messages of support.

    STATS:

    S88°28’23”, W082°15’8”

    Altitude: 2728m

    Hours skied: 12

    Distance skied: 40.3km/25 miles

    Total hours skied: 304.6

    Total distance travelled: 960.4km/596 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 189.6km/117 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 26 - Monday 30th Dec 2013

    Happy New Year guys, have a great New Year’s Eve whatever you are doing.  Today has been a long day.  13 hours of skiing to cover 38.2km, snow and whiteout.  Shattered.

    STATS:

    Hours skied: 13

    Distance skied: 38.2km/23 miles

    Total hours skied: 317.6

    Total distance travelled: 998.6km/620 miles

    Estimated distance to go: 151.4km/94 miles

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 27 - Tuesday 31st Dec 2013

    It snowed today, whiteout and much colder, a tough day.  One of my Ski’s broke and it is so cold I can’t face getting out of my tent to fix it tonight.  Forecast for New Years Day is a whiteout in morning with conditions improving in the afternoon so I am going to spend the morning resting and fixing my ski using the bracket from my camera, which was on my pulk.  Conditions under foot are getting considerably better.

    I have 2 nights and 3 days worth of food rations left.  With a broken ski I am just going to have to take things hour by hour, hopefully the repair will hold up.

    Skied for 10 hours today and covered 28.4km.

    Happy New Year guys!

    STATS:

    S89°4’11”, W082°56’4”

    Altitude: 2770m

    Hours skied: 10

    Distance skied: 28.4km/23 miles

    Total hours skied: 327.6

    Total distance travelled: 1027km/638 miles

    Estimated distance to go based on K’s skied: 123km/77 miles

    Estimated distance to go according to GPS/route: 90km/55 miles

     

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Day 28 New Year's Day - Wednesday 1st Jan 2014

    Skied for 10hours and covered 31.4km.  Ski broke again.  Great conditions, cold but ski making life tough.  Eta at the pole 3rd January.

    STATS:

    S89°19’23”, W074°22’30”

    Altitude: 2760m

    Hours skied: 10

    Distance skied: 31.4km/19 miles

    Total hours skied: 337.6

    Total distance travelled: 1058km/657 miles

    Estimated distance to go based on K’s skied: 92km/58 miles

     Note total distance to go stat is based on actual km skied by Richard.  This is not related to Richard’s GPS co-ordinates or his route, therefore his actual km to go may differ depending on his route/gps position.  It is an estimated figure.

     

  • Antarctica Speed Record - Start of Day 30 AM - The Final Day - Friday 3rd Jan 2014

    Morning guys.  I’m in my tent about to set off shortly for my final day in Antarctica.  I’ve done 2 really long days as I am not moving as efficiently with my ski’s, hence why I didn’t blog last night.  I’m totally shattered but okay.  Yesterday I skied for 13 hours and covered 37.5km.  Not really excited at the moment, will get excited when I am back at Union Glacier with a can of coke!

    I have 40.4km/25 miles left to ski today to get to the pole.  Should take me somewhere between 9 and 16 hours from now.  Speak to you later from the Pole.

    Thanks for all your messages of support.  They mean the world to me.  Rich.

    STATS:

    S89°36’4”, W053°37’50”

    Altitude: 2706m

    Hours skied: 13

    Distance skied: 31.4km/19 miles

    Total hours skied: 350.6

    Total distance travelled: 1089km/676 miles

    Estimated distance to go based on K’s skied: 61km/37 miles

    Estimated distance to go according to GPS position/route: 40.4km/25 miles

    Expedition started at 7am Chilean time (10am UK time) on 5th December 2013.  Projected finish time: Late pm 3rd January/early hours 4th January 2014.

  • Blog - Back at Union Glacier Base Camp - Monday 6th Jan 2014

    Hi guys.  Firstly I have been told about all the messages of congratulations I have received and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for all your support.  When I return to Punta Arenas in Chile I will get to have a look at them on Twitter and Facebook, at the moment it’s impossible for the team to read them all out to me on the sat phone but I have heard there are so many and it means so much, thank you everyone for all your kind words.  #Gratitude

    I was flown off the Pole on Saturday in the twin otter back to Union Glacier Base Camp.  Slept for 15 hours, which was well needed.  I’m shattered physically and mentally but I feel pretty good actually.  I’ve got a few ailments and injuries that the docs have looked at but on the whole I am in okay shape.

    After reaching the South Pole on Saturday I went to bed about 6am my time, a few hours after I had got there.  I woke up around 10am in the morning and the weather had deteriorated so the pilots made the decision we had to fly pretty quickly back to Union Glacier Base Camp (UG) as the forecast wasn’t great for the next 2 or 3 days so I flew off the pole back to UG by twin otter that day.  When I got back to UG all the guys were so amazing, I had champagne and they put out a special dinner with a welsh flag next to it and I sat down and had a meal with the pilots.  I saw the medical team and had a shower and finally got to bed about 2 in the morning.  I did miss breakfast and slept through to lunch and had about 12 hours sleep yesterday.  I got up and spent some more time with the medical team and then had the chance to properly catch up with everyone here.

    I woke up early this morning and did a quick radio interview.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  My body has been so regimented and disciplined for the last month, it was hard to break that cycle.  I woke up at 5am, which is around the normal time I would wake up on expedition, I’m shattered and now heading back to bed.  Think it will be a while before I break that routine.

    The first person I saw when I got to the South Pole was Hannah McKeand, whose British record I broke.  Hannah has played a significant role in this expedition, we spent a lot of time discussing different gear options and strategies in those 2/3 weeks when I was waiting for a weather window at the start and I’m really grateful to Hannah for her support, there is no ego involved and just like Christian was, she was incredibly supportive and really happy for me.

    When I got back to UG, once again it was David Hamilton who was my team leader on Everest there to greet me.  He has become a good friend.  Last year in Antarctica when I had to abort my expedition he was the first person I saw, it was nice that this time he was the first person to greet me again.

    He was also the field guide for the TV crew and has been quote involved in the early filming of this expedition.

    For those that are interested, following cookies and crisps, my first meal after I finished was at the South Pole camp.  Potatoes, cabbage and pork…it tasted awesome!

    Hope all you guys are well back home.  Speak soon, Rich.

Older Blog Posts

Antarctica Speed Record - Start of Day 30 AM - The Final Day - Friday 3rd Jan 2014

Morning guys.  I’m in my tent about to set off shortly for my final day in Antarctica.  I’ve done 2 really long days as I am not moving as efficiently with my ski’s, hence why I didn’t blog last night.  I’m totally shattered but okay.  Yesterday I skied…

read more »

Antarctica Speed Record - Day 28 New Year's Day - Wednesday 1st Jan 2014

Skied for 10hours and covered 31.4km.  Ski broke again.  Great conditions, cold but ski making life tough.  Eta at the pole 3rd January.STATS:S89°19’23”, W074°22’30”Altitude: 2760mHours skied: 10Distance skied: 31.4km/19 milesTotal hours skied: 337.6Total…

read more »

Antarctica Speed Record - Day 27 - Tuesday 31st Dec 2013

It snowed today, whiteout and much colder, a tough day.  One of my Ski’s broke and it is so cold I can’t face getting out of my tent to fix it tonight.  Forecast for New Years Day is a whiteout in morning with conditions improving in the afternoon so I am…

read more »

THE AIM

Richard left the UK in October 2013 aiming to break Christian Eide’s Antarctic Speed Record.

Richard’s original aim was to record the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole in history. This record attempt was part of a project which was named “Project X” whilst it was kept under wraps. Project X was later revealed as a two-part quest, which would see Richard attempt to complete the fastest and longest solo, unsupported and unassisted Antarctic polar expeditions in history.

Fact 1

Richard started his solo journey on Thursday 5th December 2013 at 7am Chilean time/10am GMT and reached the South Pole exactly 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes later, arriving on Saturday 4th January 2014 at 5.24am GMT/2.24am Chilean time/6.24pm local time (South pole operates on NZ time but Richard was working to Chilean time as his local time throughout his expedition). 

Fact 2

Richard recorded the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole by a Brit in history.

Fact 3

Richard became the first ever Welsh person to ski solo, unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole.

Fact 4

Richard skied a total of 366 hours, 1150km/715miles in 29 days and burned the calorific equivalent of two marathons a day completely alone, pulling a pulk (sled) which weighed around 68.2kg (10 stone 7).

Fact 5

His new British record was also the second fastest time in history.

Fact 6

Richard slashed almost 10 days off the existing British record, held by polar explorer Hannah McKeand, who in 2006 reached the pole in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes. 

Fact 7

He arrived at the South Pole in temperatures of ­‐24c and just under 3,000m in altitude. 

Fact 8

Richard’s journey was only the 17th solo, unassisted and unsupported expedition to the South Pole in over 100 years of polar exploration to the bottom of the world. 

Fact 9

As of February 2014, only 33 people (including Richard) had skied solo to the South Pole in history and only 17 (including Richard) have skied the purest form of solo, unsupported and unassisted without any help from kites or resupplies.

Fact 10

Despite not completing the journey in his target of 23 days to break Christian Eide’s incredible world record, Rich's new British record sees him become the only other person in history alongside Eide to reach the South Pole solo, unsupported and unassisted in less than 30 days.

Fact 11

Richard started his solo journey from Hercules Inlet, the recognised start point on the geographical coastline of Antarctica for solo expeditions to the South Pole.

Fact 12

In polar terms, the purest definition of skiing solo means unsupported and unassisted, without the help of mechanical support or re supplies.  The style label “solo” requires that the person is alone and receives no outside assistance.  A solo performance thus requires the assist label “unassisted”.

Fact 13

Out of the 33 Antarctic solo journeys recorded in history, some have taken shorter routes from the recognised start point of Hercules Inlet to which all modern records are gaged and compared, and some have used kites to assist their journeys or had resupplies. Only 17 journeys (included Richard’s) have skied the purest form of solo expeditions, skiing solo, unsupported and unassisted and there has been only 15 (including Richard) solo, unassisted and unsupported journeys to the South Pole from the Hercules Inlet start point.

Fact 14

Richard skied the calorific equivalent of two marathons a day for 29 days in temperatures down to -24c.  His route saw him climb to 3,000m in altitude. 

Fact 15

Richard started the expedition at 101.4kg/15st 9 after working really hard to gain over 7kg/1st 1 including body fat (especially after doing the Brutal - a double ironman in September). He came off the ice at 89.2kg/14st losing 12.2kg/1st 9 of body mass.

Fact 16

Some of his scientific physical anaylsis post expedition by scientific partner GSK Human Performance Lab revealed although he lost 12kg of over all body mass he gained 3kg of lean muscle on his trunk.

Related Media

Richard Parks becomes fastest Brit in history to reach South Pole

4th January 2014

Richard Parks has reached the South Pole, recording the fastest ever solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole by a Brit in history.He reached the South Pole today…

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