Polar Race 2003 News: March 2003
31 March 2022
- "Trying to squeeze a quart bottle into a pint pot"
With only just over 9 days to go to the start of the first ever Polar
Race the last minute packing arrangements are proceeding apace.
Organiser Jock Wishart reports:
"Getting 17 people, baggage, sledges and all the back-up and
communications equipment to one of the more remote parts of the world is
an exercise in itself. The teams and the Race Control have to be totally
self-sufficient which means all the specialised food and gear has to be
taken with us."
"We are using 3 different airlines to get this equipment
to the Arctic (Air Canada, Canadian North and First Air), all of which
have slightly different regulations. Combine this with the airlines'
current sensitivity over baggage and hazardous cargo and the logistics
become quite complicated."
"We are all confident however that we will arrive in Resolute with the
tools for the job and confident of being able to put on and participate
in probably the world's toughest race."
26 March 2022 - With only 14 days to go
Mark Harris has to pull out of the race. His team mates, Tony Martin and
Richard Dunwoody, will continue. However, Mark still plans to be at the
North Magnetic Pole so read on...
With just 14 days to go before the starting flag is dropped for the
Polar Race, Mark Harris of the Polar Team has been advised he will not
be able to compete in the race because of a suspected inguinal hernia
contracted during the team's rigorous training routine.
Not to be put down, Mark has hatched a new challenge that will mean the
months of training will not have been in vain. "I will be taking my
guitar to the North Magnetic Pole and performing a live gig at -40°,"
said Mark, "I don't believe a gig has been organised at a Pole before,
and I am talking with the Guinness Book of Records to find out if it
will warrant an entry, I should hear in a couple of days."
"I knew I was going to have to bust a gut to win this race, but I didn't
think it would happen quite so soon and quite so literally. All though
it is not fully blown, it will only take a sharp effort to become fully
blown. While this can be repaired in situ, if it was to become
strangulated, I could be in trouble, particularly in the arctic!"
Tony Martin the Polar Team leader said: "We are very disappointed that
Mark cannot compete in the race after all the training we have done
together but safety is our first concern very closely followed by the
desire to win; with Mark's injury, both areas would be compromised. It's
great news though that he will be greeting us at the pole with a song
and going to break a world record - our sponsors will now get twice the
publicity. It just shows that you can be down but not out!".
Three times Champion Jockey Richard Dunwoody who is the third team
member commented: "They say have guitar, will travel and Mark is showing
this is the case - to the extreme, Mark said he wanted to do the race
because he wanted to do something extraordinary that few other people
could or would do, well by doing a gig at the North Magnetic Pole, I
think he is doing something extraordinary that few other people would
do, and he'll be the first."
Mark will be flying out to the Arctic towards the end of the race and
spending 2 weeks with the race organisers at Resolute Bay and at the
various staging posts of the race, he will camp out on his own at the
North Magnetic Pole and meet the teams at the finishing line. "I can't
wait to go, even if the audience isn't the biggest I have ever played
23 March 2022 - Teams get final briefing
before departure at Royal Canoe Club, Teddington. Damart Sports sponsor
the race by providing superb base layer clothing.
All the teams and organisers met at the Royal Canoe Club in Teddington.
A thorough review of the logistics and timescales to get all the gear
and people to Resolute was carried out by Jock Wishart including the
initial training week in Iqaluit and Resolute. A long debate on packing
gear safely on the Pulks or separately so as to be safe during air
transit took place. The race seems easy compared to the complication of
Damart Sports has provided a superb set of base layer clothing for the
racers and organisers and these will help ensure everyone is fully
fitted out with the right gear for the conditions.
Further gear was issued including some very stylish "dog bowls"
for eating out of! Lunch was provided by the Royal Canoe Club which was
much appreciated and thanks go to them too for letting us use their
15 March 2022 - Teams do medical training
at Cirencester Hospital under the expert tuition of the Polar Race
Doctor - Dr Ian Davis.
The session was kindly sponsored by Cirencester Hospital and their
facilities were made available and all the racers had the opportunity
to hear some expert advice and look at the latest medical technology
The session started with a demonstration by James Russell of Medlogic
(www.medlogic.com) of Liquiband, an incredible "super glue" for
treating skin cuts.
Then followed a session by Ian on Cold Weather Injuries where the key
lesson is to look after yourself to start with and not let injuries
develop. Dr Ian then went through the medical kit that he was going to
issue to each team plus what he would be taking.
Later in the day, Neill Williams went through the food requirements and
more kit was issued to the teams. Also Gary did a further
demonstration of the GPS (Global Positioning System) every racer would
have and how it connected to their Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). The
PLB can locate someone in difficulty to within a radius of 20 miles.
With the GPS connected which gives a position this can be reduced to
around 10 metres.
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