Matt Elliott successfully walks to The South Pole
100 years after Norwegian explorer Amundsen beat Sir Robert Falcon Scott in their epic duel to the South Pole, Matt Elliott (Operations Director at EBB Paper) walked to the South Pole in "the toughest race in the world" - 'The Extreme World Races Centenary Race to the South Pole'.
After 2 years of training and preparation (including dragging a tyre around Windsor Great Park most weekends in 2011) Matt Elliott spent 40 days in Antarctica from mid-December to early February as he skied nearly 700km to The South Pole. Matt had to endure temperatures as low as -45°C and battle winds which at times reached 80kmph whilst on the plateau which is 3,000 meters above sea level. Matt skied on special cross country skis, pulling a pulk (polar sledge) weighing 50kgs. He had to endure 24 hour daylight as he slept every night in a specially designed polar tent and ate a mix of nuts, chocolate and rehydrated food to try and replace the 8,000 calories he was burning every day.
Matt Elliott says "Antarctica is such a beautiful continent; it was a massive privilege to be able to experience it in this very special way, and at this symbolic time in its history."
Matt's solar charger broke early on so he couldn't recharge his MP3 player he had filled specially with songs, so he had to fill the long 12 hour days walking with his own thoughts, Matt says "In our busy lives we very rarely get a chance to think of nothing; at times the clock seemed to move very slowly, but when you I managed to switch off and drift away in my own thoughts the time flew by. The scenery, although the same every day, was simply awesome. Antarctica is the worlds highest and driest desert, the conditions could change from sublime sunshine to a horrendous whiteout in minutes. One thing I can be sure of is that I do not want to be in -45°C again as those low temperatures, the cold is physically painful."
Elliott reached the pole on 24th January, but then had to tolerate 8 days stuck in his tent as the competitors waited for the appropriate weather to fly home. He flew back via Cape Town where he tried to replace some of the 9kg of weight he had lost by eating the food he had been craving - fresh fruits with yogurt and bread smothered in butter and marmite.
Matt was racing for Team EBB Paper and so far has raised £15,000 for The Royal British Legion and The Alzheimer's Society. He has a website with more information and for donations www.southpolerace2012.co.uk.
The race was filmed by Urban Brew Studios for a documentary called "Cold Sweat" which will be broadcast later this year on TV. The programme will give viewers the precious opportunity to experience the extraordinary achievements of extraordinary people; to partake in both the pain and the glory; to feel the pride and the joy; and to marvel at the momentous.