Adventure Sport

SA 6 days from South Pole

2012-01-23 12:49
Braam Malherbe and Peter van Kets (File)
Cape Town - The Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole has been won, but Team SA, who are expected to reach the finish in the next six days, made the brave decision to help a fellow contestant who is suffering from a fractured arm. 

Braam Malherbe and Peter van Kets offered to help Andrew Carrie from team British Green with his load. The duo have added an additional 9kg to their 70kg load of equipment that they are required to pull to the finish line.

Speaking from the South Pole, Malherbe said that Carnie is extremely grateful as he would probably have had to give up so close to the end as he would not make it. 

“Peter and I continue to push on, taking things one day at a time. I just can’t explain how tough this race is, there is nothing on the planet that compares."

Commenting on the conditions, Malherbe said, “visibility is poor and spindrift is around them with very soft snow and gradual uphill.” 

The extra weight they are carrying is slowing them down quite a bit. From a physical perspective their strides much shorter and extreme fatigue has set in due to the altitude and cold. It is getting colder the closer they are getting to the pole, temperatures are in the region of minus 45 degrees Celsius. Due to these conditions they have no appetite and are force feeding themselves because their bodies need the intake - all they want to do is sleep.

Team SA hope to average 31km for the next four days and 35km the last two days. They are skiing about for 11 hours with two 15 minute breaks in between. When resting they need to take four layers of gloves off just to eat something and one hand at a time!

On Friday, January 20, Norwegians Erland Gray, 28, Harvard Svidal, 35, and Mathias Seim, 23, were able to maintain a consistently impressive pace, to cross the finish line first.

In a tweet, Malherbe sent his congratulations to the winning team, writing: “Not called the "toughest race on earth" for nothing! Congrats to the Norwegians on their record breaking win!”

Leaderboard – the only teams left in the competition:

1. Norway - Winners
2. Wales
3. Britain and South Africa


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