Polar Race 2005

For further information contact:

  Polar Adventures Ltd
  18 Neville Road
  KT1 3QX

Tel: +44 (0)20 8549 1457
Fax: +44 (0)20 8241 7914
Eml: info@polarrace.com

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The Polar Race Organisers


David Hempleman-Adams David Hempleman-Adams is a founder of Polar Adventures Ltd, organisers of the Polar Race.

He was born in Swindon, Wiltshire and educated at Writhlington Comprehensive School. He is a graduate from Manchester and a postgraduate from Bristol.

He has successfully climbed the highest peak in each of the seven continents Aconcagua (South America), Carstenz Pyramid (Australasia), Elbrus (Europe), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Denali (North America), Mount Vinson (Antarctica) and Everest (Asia).

In 1984 he was the first person to successfully walk solo and unsupported to the North Magnetic Pole. In 1992 he led the first team to walk unsupported to the North Geomagnetic Pole. In 1996 he became the first Briton to walk solo and unsupported to the South Pole and in the same year sailed to the South Magnetic Pole. In 1999 he walked to the North Pole and in so doing became the first and so far, only, person to have completed the Explorers' Grand Slam.

In 2000 he piloted the first balloon to the North Pole.

He lives in Box, Wiltshire and is married with 3 children.


Jock Wishart Scotsman Jock Wishart is a founder of Polar Adventures Ltd, organisers of the Polar Race.

He was born in Dumfries, Scotland and educated at Dumfries Academy. He is a graduate of Durham University where he was President of the Union.

He has represented his country at rowing and yachting and is a veteran of the 1980 America's Cup as well as being a former European Dragon Boat Paddling Champion. At University he was a British Universities champion in rowing, sprint canoeing and power lifting.

He was formerly sponsorship director for Hill and Knowlton, one of Britain's largest P.R. companies and in 1991 was Head of Public Relations for the Rugby World Cup.

In 1992 he was a member of the team that first walked unsupported to the North Geomagnetic Pole and in 1996 organised the Ultimate Challenge, the first ever televised trek to the North Magnetic Pole, an expedition comprising largely of novice explorers, during which they successfully measured the position of the pole for the Canadian authorities.

He rowed the Atlantic in 1997, headed the team that broke the Round the World Powered Record in 1998, captained the crew that broke the London-Paris Rowing Record in 1999 and in 2000 led the Shackleton's Steps expedition which replicated for a TV documentary, Sir Ernest Shackleton's traverse of South Georgia in May 1916. In 2001 he was navigator on the winning American yacht in the 12-metre World Championship in Cowes.

He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and two children and enjoys skiing and watching rugby.


Richard Bull Richard Bull is one of the Arctic advisors for the Polar Race.

He was born in Reading and was educated at Highdown School, Emmer Green. After leaving school, he became manager of a newsagent business.

His Arctic expertise was gained on numerous expeditions to the area, including several trips to the North Pole, meeting up with David Hempleman-Adams and Neill Williams on the way

When not leading or advising on trips to the Arctic he runs his own business, based in Wiltshire, supplying the motor trade. He set up this business at the age of 22 after 3 years of military experience.

Richard is also involved with the Mitchemp Trust that has run camps for over five years in the Brecon Beacons for disadvantaged children between the ages of 11 and 15.

Richard is married to Vicky who is also involved with the Polar Race (see next entry below). They have one child of 2 years old, and another on the way.


Vicky Bull Vicky Bull is responsible for ensuring that administration for the race runs smoothly, liaising between teams, families and press and trying to keep everyone smiling! She will be the UK contact point whilst the trip is underway.

Vicky gained a degree and travelled the world before settling on teaching as a career. She enjoys the challenges that 11-18 year olds bring. Her love for the outdoors extends to her encouraging the youth by being a Duke of Edinburgh Award leader for the local school.

Vicky gains her Arctic experience by being married to Richard Bull who regularly puts her through her paces! They met whilst on the Mitchemp Trust camp working with disadvantaged children. (David Hempleman-Adam who is a trustee, is known to them both).

Vicky and Richard now live in the Cotswolds and when not involved in trips spend time with their daughter who is 2 years old. Vicky has put her full-time teaching career on temporary hold in order to be a full-time mum and be part of the Polar Race team.


Simon Marshall Simon Marshall is one of the Arctic experts for the Polar Race.

He was born in Harrogate, North Yorksire. He's had a varied career, working 4 years as an assistant golf professional, 5 years as a restaurant manager, and 11 years in the Fire Brigade where he worked as Station Officer in its Research & Development Group. Simon now works as UK Sales Manager for a large multinational company, supplying firefighter protective clothing to the UK, Scandinavia, Middle East and South America.

In 1996, Simon met up with David, Jock and Neill on the Ultimate Challenge expedition to take 10 novices to the North Magnetic Pole, during which he took on the reins of Base Camp Manager at Resolute Bay.

Liking the Arctic so much, in 1998 he went back to spend 4 weeks there. Alone!

In his spare time Simon enjoys many sports, including playing cricket for North Petherton Cricket Club, and following rugby. He also collects polar literature.

Simon is married and lives in Wembdon, Somerset with his wife and 15 month old child.


Steve Pinfield Steve Pinfield is responsible for organising and running the Arctic training for the Polar Race.

Steve has spent his whole life in the outdoors, initially in outdoor education centres and worldwide outward bound schools, and then into full time guiding.

He is equally at home in the rainforest, desert, mountains and polar regions, where he has run a number of successful guiding companies.

Steve's wealth of Arctic experience includes leading three expeditions to the North Magnetic Pole, and eight seasons working in Antarctica as Head Field guide and Base Commander. Amongst his clients have been National Geographic and the BBC.

He currently lives in Penzance, Cornwall, where he can frequently be found climbing on the granite cliffs, surfing or paragliding. That is, of course, if he's not off galavanting somewhere else in one of the more remote and inhospitable regions of the world!


Rob Sleep Rob Sleep is responsible for organizing support gear for the race.

Rob is a devoted globetrotter and has spent the last fifteen years working and travelling extensively and independently all over the world.

With a core career skippering on superyachts he has gained his Master Class 4 Captain's license with well over 60,000 miles at sea, sailing and racing all around the world as well as 9+ transatlantic's. During his travels he has worked, amongst other things, as a rafting guide in the Himalayas and New Zealand, in the Alps as a bar manager and all over as a dive master. He also has a history of numerous adventure hobbies from kite boarding and windsurfing, through paragliding and skiing, to trekking and mountaineering.

He is intending to start his own business, initially basing himself in the UK.


Paul Theobald Paul Theobald is the IT organiser for the Polar Race, maintaining the website and email links.

He works at Data Connection Ltd in Enfield, Middlesex and has over 10 years experience of Internet software development.

Paul was born in Slough, but spent most of his early life in East Anglia, attending Wayland High School and Wisbech Grammar School, before gaining a degree in Computer Science at Cambridge University.

He is a keen trekker, with recent trips to Nepal, Morocco, Peru and the Grand Canyon. His climbing exploits include scaling Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt Rainier in the United States.

After meeting Jock in early 2003, Paul took over the reins of the Polar Race website, running it from Data Connection's offices in Enfield, providing daily news updates for the 2003 race and tracking the progress of competitors for family, friends and the watching media. In 2005 Paul again ran the website, but this time doing live updates directly from an 'office' in the Arctic!

Paul lives with his newly wedded wife, Yukiko, in Enfield, Middlesex. He's a life-long fan of Ipswich Town FC, with all the ups and downs that entails. He hasn't yet persuaded Yukiko to follow suit.


Gary Walker Gary Walker is a core member of the organising team for the Polar Race.

He is a founding director of Data Connection, a leading software development company based in Enfield, Middlesex.

He was born in Peterborough and educated at The Kings School in Peterborough and at Reading University gaining a degree in Physics.

Gary has been involved in three major adventures.

In 1998 he was one of the crew of the "Cable and Wireless Adventurer" which broke the Round the World Powered Record.

In May 1999 he was one of the organisers and lead skipper of the safety boats which supported the successful attempt by top British oarsmen to break the London to Paris Rowing Record - a distance of 480 miles from Westminster Bridge to the Eiffel tower.

In November/December 2000 he was part of an expedition to Antarctica, where he provided logistics and communications support to a party making a documentary on the crossing of South Georgia by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Gary lives in Hertford with his wife and three children and his main interests are boating, watching rugby and playing tennis and squash.


Mike Whiteside Mike Whiteside is the Polar Race doctor.

He is currently an SHO in general medicine in Sheffield. Brought up in Birmingham, he qualified in 2001 and since then has worked in general medicine, genitourinary medicine, A&E, infectious diseases and, most recently, diabetes.

He has just come back from a year out of the UK medical scene, gaining a diploma in tropical medicine, travelling through China, mountaineering in the Alps and working in Uganda. He's managed to avoid the normal career path of a typical medic by not taking exams but rather going on expeditions -- he has experienced as a medic jungle, high altitude and diving expeditions.

Mike is a keen mountaineer, and has trekked and climbed in the Himalayas, China, Europe, Canada and the UK. This year he will complete his mountain leader award.

He is also a keen musician. He was a founding member of the internationally acclaimed(?) band "The Flaming Pies", but now plays the guitar on his own, and intends to inflict his musical talent on everyone out in Canada!

Mike lives in Sheffield with long-term girlfriend Cariad, and three goldfish.


Neill Williams Neill Williams is one of the core team members in charge of organising the Polar Race since its inception in 2002. His main responsibilities for the 2005 expedition are clothing, equipment and training.

Neill is Managing Director of specialist graphics manufacturer, Polycrown Limited in Yatton, Avon.

He was born in Manchester, later moving to the Southwest where he was educated at Gordano Comprehensive School in Portishead. He subsequently formed his own successful graphics company, Polycrown Ltd, with his sister, Wendy, which specialises in product branding and I.D. emblems.

His first expedition was as a member of the 1992 team which first walked unsupported to the North Geomagnetic Pole. He was a co-organiser of the Ultimate Challenge, "the expedition with a difference", which successfully took 10 novice explorers on the first televised trek to a Pole. Neill has since taken part in or organised 12 Polar expeditions including 5 to the North Magnetic Pole. He has climbed Mont Blanc, Elbrus (the highest mountain in Europe), Kilimanjaro (the highest in Africa) and Aconcagua (the highest in South America).

He is a passionate supporter of Manchester United and in 1992, 93, 94, 96 and 98 "survived" the legendary Tough Guys competition.

He lives in Clevedon, Somerset and has 2 children. In his spare time he keeps fit through running, cycling and five-a-side football.


Tony Woodford Tony Woodford is responsible for the video filming during the race.

Between the ages of 18 and 28 Tony spent 6 of the ten travelling and working internationally. The first was a back packer trip to Australia. He hitch-hiked all round Australia taking in as much as possible visiting everywhere except Broome. After completing a dive course on the Great Barrier Reef he even drove the 3000 miles across Australia on a GSX1100 motor cycle. That spawned an idea that would later prove the most challenging of his overland exploits. Gaining work at a city hotel he quickly found himself managing the complex and was even offered sponsorship to stay in Australia.

The travel bug had a firm grip so New Zealand was next on the list. This time buying a car and exploring the North and South Islands taking in the many Kiwi experiences such as climbing, pot holing, bungee jumping and the slightly risky bridge pendulum jumping all with the amazing New Zealand backdrop of mountains and in one of the most volcanically active places in the world.

After returning to Australia for an additional six months Tony returned to the UK to plan a trans-continental motorcycle trip, "The London to Sydney Marathon". The logistics proved to be difficult to organize but after many months of planning entrants were ready. Departing in late 1993 with seven motor cycles, he crossed 27 countries and 3 continents. Four of the entrants made it to Sydney, Tony included, and he spent a further six months in Australia working at a back packers in Surfers Paradise. He returned to the UK and continued his travels by plane.

More recently he returned to India and lived and worked there for over a year. Realising the lack of business knowledge and western customer service he helped many locals start new tourist companies and activities. This including guided dolphin and crocodile tours, a new Chinese restaurant, co-authoring the "Goan Guide" and overseeing the building of a mansion house. Previous attempts at dolphin watching had often ended in failure but Tony used his hand-held GPS to track and locate schools of dolphins in open water. A record of their movements and activities was built up for a less hit-and-miss approach.

Returning from India, interest in a new kind of trip was sparked by Jock Wishart. (The Polar kind!)

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