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US Man Finishes Solo Race Across Antarctica

Race Across The Antarctic Complete A 33-year-old American man has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unassisted. Explorer Colin O’Brady finished in 53 days, ahead of...

Race Across The Antarctic Complete

A 33-year-old American man has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unassisted. Explorer Colin O’Brady finished in 53 days, ahead of British Army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, after an epic race across the ice.

Both men set out on November 3 to complete the journey, which killed a British ex-Army officer two years ago. The 921-mile (1,482 km) trek took them across the coldest continent on Earth in some of the most extreme conditions.

O’Brady, a pro-athlete who posts his milestones on social media, spoke to the BBC on one his harshest days: “I’m tired, man. I’m exhausted, but I’m making steady progress every day,” he said from his satellite phone on December 20 – Day 47 – as he camped amid a storm and massive ridges of ice and snow are known as sastrugi.

After a day which was like being “in the inside of a ping-pong ball,” O’Brady said he was grateful to have negotiated the wavelike ridges of hard snow and ice in low visibility without having broken a leg.

“I’ve been dragging an almost 375 lb (170 kg) sled for 12-13 hours per day through the coldest harshest place in the world,” he said, adding that he had lost so much weight that his wristwatch had been slipping off and he is “scared” to look at his unclothed body.

The two men set off from the Ronne Ice Shelf after poor weather delayed their start for several days.

Only days earlier they had met for the first time at a hotel bar in Chile and agreed to turn their separate attempts to cross solo and unaided into a formal competition.

Both men come from very different backgrounds. In 2008 O’Brady suffered severe burns to 25% of his body during a holiday in Thailand, leading doctors to tell him that he may never walk normally again.

He recovered and went on to race in triathlons before climbing each of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on every continent. He has also skied to both the North and South Pole and hiked to the highest point in every US state.

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