Polar Race 2005

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Polar Race 2003 News: February 2003

27 February 2022 - Celebrity competitors launch North Pole race in style.

Celebrities, arctic warfare specialists, sportsmen, housewives and amateur adventurers are all set to take part in the Polar Race 2003 for the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy. It will be the first ever race to a pole and it is being launched at Initial Style Conferences’ latest venue Devonport House, in Maritime Greenwich at 11am on March 7 when the competing teams will be announced.

It is being organised by two of Britain’s leading modern day adventurers: Swindon-based David Hempleman-Adams and Dumfries-born Scotsman Jock Wishart.

The 400-mile gruelling trek from Resolute Bay, Canada towards the Magnetic North Pole is billed as ‘probably the world’s toughest race.’ With 14 competitors forming five teams, the contest is likely to last between 30 to 40 days and each competitor will pull a 70kg sledge on skis and on foot. Temperatures will fall as low as -40ºC, with the ever present danger of polar bears and open water.

The Polar Race 2003 launch ceremony will see participants, including Richard Dunwoody and Babs Powell test out their gear in a mini hike with their sledges. They will start from Devonport House and climb up the hill to the Royal Observatory, which, along with the neighbouring Royal
Naval Collage has been the start point for adventurers for hundreds of years.

The teams fly out to Canada at the beginning of April in time for the official race start on 9th April. To let the public follow the race daily reports from each of the teams will be posted on the web at www.polar-race.co.uk.

For the first time ever in a sporting event, the watching public will also be able to place a bet ‘on line’ on their favoured team, proceeds of which will go to one of Cancer Research’s charities – The Bobby Moore Foundation.

Devonport House, London’s first and only residential training and conference venue is part of Initial Style Conferences who, in partnership with leadership development experts, Mission Performance, are putting forward a 3-man team – the Initial Style Explorers.

The team includes Phil Ashby (32), a former Royal Marine, arctic warfare specialist and recipient of the Queen‘s Gallantry Medal. His decoration came in 2000 after he escaped from rebel forces while on UN peace-keeping duties in Sierra Leone.

Phil will be joined by Londoner Manley Hopkinson (39), a former naval captain and keen mariner. He served during the Gulf War and was also the skipper of ‘Olympic Group’ a yacht in the 2000/01 BT Global Challenge.

The team captain is 33-year-old Chris McLeod from Chichester, an ex-marine and director of Mission Performance.

Chris said, "As a venue provider and trainer, the Initial Style and Mission Performance partnership works on a daily basis to equip professionals with the skills they need to tackle challenges in business. The Polar Race 2003 gives us the chance to build on our relationship by working together to conquer a challenge of our own."

Initial Style’s managing director, Alastair Stewart said: “There is a natural link between this tremendous race and our aims. Initial Style is committed to helping individuals and teams achieve to the best of their ability, whether in training sessions, team-building events or outdoor activities. This race takes those aims to new limits and applies them in the most challenging of environments.”

24 February 2022 - A special trophy is to be crafted to mark one of the world's most extreme endurance races.

The 'Wedgwood Blue Ice' has been uniquely designed to reflect the challenges set by the Polar Race 2003 - a race towards the Magnetic North Pole.

Commissioned by luxury home lifestyle group Wedgwood this week, the trophy seeks to convey the spirit of discovery of five teams of modern day explorers as they strive against nature's worst to complete the challenge.

The prestige 'Wedgwood Blue Ice' will be completed at Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, by Wedgwood's famed special skills department, a team of craftsmen and women who already have many other famous sporting trophies to their name.

Based around a prestige fine bone china Wedgwood Flame Vase, the trophy will be heavily gilded with Platinum over a rich powder blue body. It will also contain two hand painted scenes, one a map of the race route, and the second, a depiction of the arctic race itself.

Wedgwood, which has agreed to become an official sponsor of the race, will also provide a number of other items for competitors to mark their participation in the race, including four stage trophies which will be presented actually on the arctic ice.

Wedgwood Managing Director, UK and Europe, Mr. Tim Harper, said: ' The Polar Race 2003 has many parallels for Wedgwood. For more than two centuries we have shown we have a spirit of discovery in design, will challenge convention and will always strive for the best - very much the ethos of the race itself. We are therefore delighted to be able to supply a world class trophy for this superb adventure - an adventure where achievement and ambition go hand in hand.''

The Wedgwood Blue Ice - a trophy named after the purest of ice and befitting a pure adventure.

13 February 2022 - Satellite communications are all important in the first ever Polar Race and competitors will be carrying the latest equipment supplied by Ocean Safety of Southampton.

The latest in satellite technology will ensure the safety of the competitors in the first ever Polar Race.

The Race which could take up to 30 days and will involve the competitors travelling 350 miles across some of the most difficult terrain in the World, in temperatures as low as -40 degrees centigrade will use state of the art technology to track the competitors

All competitors will carry the latest Personal Locator Beacon (a GyPSI 406 PLB manufactured by ACR Electronics Inc. connected to a handheld GPS (a Garmin eTrex). The PLB is an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon known as an EPIRB and is part of the international safety system widely used by ships and aircraft.

In the event of an emergency, the PLB is activated and a unique identifier, plus the precise location from the GPS of the competitor, is relayed via satellites to a ground station and search and rescue personnel alerted.

This system has been put together for the Polar Race organisers by the UK's leading supplier of safety systems at "sea", Ocean Safety of Southampton. The race is after all on frozen water.

Competitors will also be required to communicate with the Operations base at Resolute at least twice daily on Iridium satellite phones again ensuring their safety in what is "probably the world's toughest race". These are a far cry from the SSB radios of only a few years ago, which encounter great difficulty in communication because of the proximity of the Magnetic Pole.

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