The icy conditions may have brought many to a standstill this week, but for one man the snow is a training ground.
Just a year on from his 37-day rowing expedition across the Atlantic Ocean, Yeadon endurance athlete Ben Thackwray is almost ready to take flight for another adventure.
This time the 28-year-old is bidding to race the clock and become the fastest man to cross the world’s second-largest ice cap in Greenland.
Towing a sledge loaded with vital supplies and a tent, he and former rowing partner, 39-year-old Ian Couch from Norwich, aim to travel 370 miles from east to west in 12 days, smashing the current 21 day record.
The two men will be conditioning their bodies to last 15 hours on their feet every day. On a diet of chocolate, nuts and dehydrated food, the former Guiseley AFC footballer expects to consume double his normal daily intake of calories so that he can run at least 30 miles across the top of the ice cap every 24 hours.
Ben recently trained in Alaska to get used to running in the freezing cold, and he hopes temperatures as low as minus 50 degC will play into his hands.
“Hopefully we will get some very cold conditions so that the ice is compact and hard. If it’s like that, it’s like running on concrete. In the right conditions we are pretty confident,” he said.
The men will ensure they stay together throughout Endure, the name they have given the trek, by a line of rope.
“I’ll be out in the front fishing for crevices. We have a planned route that should take us through a safe area,” says Ben.
“We have been given co-ordinates, but the ice cap does actually move and change so we’ll judge it while we’re out there. I’m really looking forward to it.”
His training regime also saw him take part in the Tring to Town race from Brentford to Tring along the Grand Union Canal and, despite a minor niggle, he covered the 40-mile distance in just over six-and-a-quarter hours.
Next weekend, he and his expedition partner are running the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough twice, including an overnight stay in a tent to test out kit and communications gear they intend to use in Greenland.
April’s record bid is a pre-cursor to the second instalment of Ben’s very own “Adventure Trilogy”. After the Atlantic row, his aim is to ski to the South Pole before climbing Mount Everest, and he has attracted sponsorship from outdoor equipment firms Berghaus, IceBug, Nite Watchers and 4Below.
While plotting his next adventures, Ben shares his stories and expertise by working as a fitness consultant and speaker.
- For more information about his progress visit benthackwray.com/greenland.htm