Polar Race 2007

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Polar Race 2005 News

29 April 2022 - Tom Avery in Town

Tom Avery and Andy Gerbar return victorious to Resolute – © Jock Wishart

There's news from outside the Polar Race today. Returning to Resolute early this morning, following his triumph in achieving the fastest ever journey to the Geographic North Pole, and showing that it may just have been possible for Robert Peary to have been first to the North Pole in 1909, was Tom Avery and his team.

They stopped off in Resolute on their way to Iqualuit with their husky dogs, before returning to the UK. The opportunity was taken by Jock to take a photograph of team member Andy Gerbar with the Durham University flag (Jock and Andy being fellow alumni). With them was Matty McNair, probably the most successful female Polar explorer of all time.

Also in town the previous evening was Dr. Deidre Galbraith who had been the doctor on the "Footsteps of Shackleton" expedition to South Georgia in 2000. It seems that Resolute is the place to be at the moment!

Back on the racecourse we now only await the arrival of the South African Ikey Icemen team. The final sprint to the finish, Leg 4, is currently planned to start at midday tomorrow, 30th April.

28 April 2022 - Northern Stars push hard for second place in Leg 3

Polar Race checkpoint – © Mike Whiteside

The Northern Stars team of David Aston, Charlie Newington-Bridges and Alex Williams pushed hard overnight to finish at 05:30 this morning and into a well deserved second place in the third leg of the Polar Race, thus narrowing the gap between them and the overall leaders Neways Polar Team.

Later on in the day, at 12:25 Cable & Wireless Polar Team appeared over the horizon, to be followed an hour later by Neways Polar Team. At 18:36 Pole Position strode into view leaving only the South African Ikey Icemen still out there racing.

All is now set for a fascinating fourth and final leg from King Christian Island to the finish, with four teams likely to be contesting the overall winner's laurels and with Cable & Wireless Polar Team keen to get a leg win in as well.

There are only 40 miles to go, and thus it's likely to be a sprint leg with those left in the hunt possibly racing through to the finish without stopping, and consequently Race Organisers are making sure all teams are well rested before restarting the race.

Note: For more pictures of the Polar Race checkpoints, view the new "Checkpoint Life" photo collection in the Polar Race Photo Gallery.

27 April 2022 - Docs come really good!

The Gentlemen Adventurers – © Mike Whiteside

Whether they were just pacing themselves, or they really were suffering from illness in the first two legs we have yet to find out but the Gentlemen Adventurers (James Laban and Will Morton) have just shown the other racers a clean pair of heels on the third leg.

The pair travelled the last 27 miles overnight and arrived at Checkpoint 3 about lunchtime. They quipped: "Sunny, clear blue skies, no wind and a tropical -19°C — I say that's Pimm's o'clock. Ice anyone?"

Behind them it's anyone's race, which will not be clear until tomorrow when the pursuing teams finish the third leg at the checkpoint, located north-west of King Christian Island.

What is certain is that the race will go on down to the wire and we can expect a grandstand finish at the end of the fourth leg.

Great racing: three legs and three different winners!

26 April 2022 - Heartbreak for Kevin Dixon

Kevin Dixon, disappointed to
have to pull out of the Race
– © Mike Whiteside

It was heartbreak for our diabetic contestant, Kevin Dixon from Wakefield, who after 190 miles of racing, has had to pull out at the end of the toughest leg of probably the toughest race in the world. This leaves his team, Pole Position, a member down, but his three remaining team-mates will bravely continue on in the Race.

It was not the diabetes itself which caused the retirement; this was well under control thanks to a unique insulin pump manufactured by Roche Diagnostics. However, a by-product of diabetes is that it may make you sweat more than normal (the very last thing you want to happen in very cold temperatures) and, consequently, Kevin is more susceptible to cold weather than most.

Kevin was suffering from minor frostbite in his fingers when he arrived at Checkpoint 2. Race doctor, Mike Whiteside, after consulting with Kevin, decided it wasn't advisable for Kevin to continue, in case it got worse and risk losing a finger.

Kevin is philosophical about it. He said: "Of course it is disappointing not to finish but as far as I am concerned, in getting such a long way in the race I have proved that a diabetic can compete successfully in such an arduous event."

Race organiser Jock Wishart agreed: "I hope that Kevin's progress in the Race will act as a shining example to others with this illness. He has proved yet again that if you really want something badly enough you will make it happen no matter the handicap."

Kevin is now back in Resolute recovering and will be travelling up to meet the rest of his team at the finish.

25 April 2022 - Doctors from the Heroic Age?

We have an ample sufficiency of medical knowledge in the race, with a total of four doctors, three of whom are racing.

Will Morton and James Laban
of Gentlemen Adventurers – © James Laban

Our two youngest doctors are racing as a team, the Gentlemen Adventurers. The name is appropriate as their attitude to life is almost a throwback to an earlier era when "men really were men". You can imagine them being among the first to answer the call for good man-haulers and to stride out with Scott or Shackleton. Somehow, I suspect they were born after their time. With no poles left undiscovered they must settle for the Polar Race instead.

The two have interesting, similar, yet still highly different characters. James is the surgeon and as reflects his occupation is usually late for everything, while Will is, shall we say, more practical!

So far fate has not dealt them a good hand as both have been unwell at some stage during the last two legs but they are certainly making a big effort to get it back on this leg.

Currently they are storming Leg 3, with a 4 mile lead on their opponents.

The Gentlemen Adventurers left us with some great photos that they took during the first leg of the race. Check out their pictures in the Polar Race Photo Gallery. We'll be adding more photo sets soon!

24 April 2022 - Cable and Wireless Island Boys

Clear blue skies, no wind and a balmy temperature of only -20°C greeted the contestants at the start of the third leg of the Polar Race.

Starting the next leg of the Polar Race – © Mike Whiteside

This leg is from the northern edge of Bathurst Island to King Christian Island, a distance of 95 miles. Much of it is out of sight of land so navigation is going to be at a premium especially if there is another whiteout.

Steve Wright and Simon Elmont of the
Cable and Wireless Polar Team – © Paul Theobald

Form is impossible to predict, but the most consistent team over the first two legs is the Cable and Wireless Polar Team.

The team is perhaps our most unusual this year, and from the most unlikely location, the Channel Islands: Simon Elmont from Sark and Steve Wright from Alderney, both employees of Cable and Wireless.

Coming from two relatively isolated islands they tend to have a better awareness of self-sufficiency than the majority of our contestants. Both outdoors types, they have been friends for so long it is almost like watching a married couple at work the way they bounce things off each other. In the nicest possible way of course!

Despite all the difficulties in training and in preparation because of their remote location, they have developed into a formidable partnership. They finished second in the first leg and fought back from a desperate position on the second leg after illness and their Polar Bear encounter, to snatch a third place only one minute behind the second placed team Pole Position.

Not to be underestimated, these island boys!

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