The American Colin O’Brady, 33, beat Great Britain’s Louis Rudd 49, to become the first person in history to complete the 921-mile journey across Antarctica from coast to coast solo, unsupported and pulling a sled, in the first ever race across Antarctica. Congratulations!
Why do it? Why two racers? – Why not just solo it?… Well, we all need excitement – need the video story – about this very dangerous expedition. Anything can happen. Rescue will not always be possible — at least not quickly – you can’t just stop at the refueling station and take a break or quit and go home. All precautions must be taken and a team standing by 24/7 for an emergency must be assembled. We are in a rush to be the first to do something and hopefully the media attention will be there to help with sponsors and later maybe a book deal or talk circuit. There must be a business plan around every endeavor, since all endeavors start with finding funding.
In this challenge, making it a race between a Brit and a Yank creates more excitement than if it were just a solo venture. Of course, the terrain is daunting. Our hunger for adventure has no limits – except our own. When we think we have exhausted all possible first climbs, first crossings, aided, un-aided, with kite, no kite, with dogs, etc. ……There will always be someone who comes up with another brilliant first, and again we will sigh and marvel and follow the adventure. After all, we are human and in the comfort of our homes our imagination is piqued by the risks taken by others to push against what seems impossible – to make it possible.
At the Trento Film Festival, one of the most famous mountaineers in the world, Reinhold Messner, focused his panel discussion on making the impossible possible. He was the first to climb all 8k+ peaks without oxygen and at that time it seemed incredible. Nowadays so many have done it, that it is no longer news….
A decade from now, will you be putting together your kit to participate in the Race across Antarctica along with hundreds of others? I remember when the Ironman race in Hawaii first started with a couple dozen participants….doing what was thought to be impossible. Well, look where we are today. Think only of the 330km Tor de Geants endurance race in the Val d’Aosta Alps. Or of the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc (UTMB) and dozens of others. What kinds of races will we be watching or preparing for tomorrow? Remember when marathons were a big challenge? ……
by. Laurence F. Hopper