Walking With The Wounded have just released the following statement regarding the future of the South Pole Challenge.
On Day 5 of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge, as the teams arrived at their first Checkpoint, it became obvious that underneath the concrete determination of all the team members, the harsh reality of the Antarctic was starting …to take its toll.
With the safety of all those involved at the forefront of Expedition Director, Ed Parker‘s mind, the following decision has been made going forward for the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge:
“We always knew that this wasn’t going to be easy, but that is what makes the challenge so exciting. Our aim was to show that despite injury, young men and women from our armed forces can still achieve great things.
Until now, the three teams have been racing against one another across the Antarctic plateau, but yesterday I took the decision to suspend the race.
The reason for this is entirely simple – safety, which remains the core principal of our expeditions.
While all three teams were progressing well, it was becoming evident that there was a higher degree of stress imposed on the team members, due to unprecedented terrain on the plateau.
With careful consultation from our doctor and race team, we have put the race on hold. This does not mean that the expedition is over. Far from it. We came down here, determined to get 12 men and women, all injured in conflict, to the South Pole, and so we will.
Tomorrow we start the last leg, 112 km, to the Pole, with no stress being placed on the teams, and with the new race format enabling them all to do this in their own time. Each evening, the expedition will be camping together, all able to enjoy and share each other’s experiences. By Friday or Saturday next week, I strongly believe that every member of the expedition will be standing on the South Pole, celebrating what will have been the most extraordinary shared journey.
We feel your support every step of the way, please continue to follow us and support the walk.
-Ed Parker, Expedition Director and Walking With The Wounded Co-Founder
Find out more: http://walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/southpole2013/2013/12/07/the-race-has-been-suspended-but-the-challenge-goes-on
This decision will obviously not have been taken lightly and we wish all the walkers the very best for their journey onwards to the South Pole, and we look forward to them all reaching their destination together, safe and well. Every one of them will now be a winner!
Team US posed for a photograph with Prince Harry. (picture from alexanderskarsgard.net)