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Polar Explorers Make History

February 7th, 2014
11:05 PM ET

Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere have made history. They’ve broken the world record for the longest polar journey on foot – by walking to the South Pole and back.

Becky spoke to polar explorer Robert Swan to get his reaction.

"They're not mad, they're amazing," he said. "It's terrifically exciting... They'll be feeling very light in their souls, very light in their spirit, and damn proud of what they've done. I'm their patron, I've been following them, I'm really just so impressed by their guts, what they've achieved, and they've done it with style and dignity, which I think is really important."

Saunders and L'Herpiniere were recreating Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition, which ended in disaster over 100 years ago –when Scott’s team starved to death on the ice.  The modern pair had originally planned on travelling unaided, but received an emergency food drop in January after their supplies ran out. However, Swan says that this won't have any impact on their accomplishment. "There's not much point dying at the South Pole. They won't be disappointed, they've achieved the most amazing piece of history."

Swan also shared what he thinks the team’s most looking forward to when they arrive home.

"They're going to be really thin on return. After only 70 days I lost nearly 50lbs in body weight. They're going to be thinking solely about food. Nothing else. And I just hope they don't make the same mistake I made which is to eat too much at the end and then to be really quite sick for a long time. What you really yearn for also is to sit in a chair. They've been 105 days lying down, eating, lying down again."

Swan was the first person ever to walk to both the North and South Pole. "I threatened never to walk anywhere ever again," he said about his one-way journey through Antarctica. And the Scott Expedition adventurers have travelled double that distance. "It's like walking from London to Moscow, or from San Francisco to Chicago. It's just stunning."


Filed under:  Antartica
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