Pole race Brits beaten by Norwegians - again

A British team including TV presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell finished a race to the South Pole in second place today.

Their achievement marked a repeat of history after the adventurers were beaten to the Antarctic finish line by the Norwegians.

British explorer Captain Robert Scott hoped to be the first to the Pole on January 17 1912, but arrived to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen's team had arrived 35 days earlier.

The British were runners-up again after Norwegian Team Missing Link arrived at the Geographic South Pole at 7pm yesterday, completing the 481-mile Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race in 17 days and 11 hours.

Rune Malterud and Stian Aker linked arms high in the air as they walked to the Pole and proudly planted a Norwegian flag.

As they passed the line, Fogle, Cracknell and 28-year-old Bristol doctor Ed Coats were 31.8 miles behind.

The trio, known as Team QinetiQ, reached the Pole today and were praised by the winners for making it a fantastic race.

Team Qinetiq's website said: "The team arrived this afternoon and are delighted to be at the Geographic South Pole.

"After a 70km push into the Pole the team exhausted, with blisters and little bits of frost nip, but are all in good spirits and looking forward to some R and R at the South Pole!

"Missing Link were at the Pole to shake their hand for completing such a fantastic journey. Congratulations to all of the team."

The team, who set off on January 4, slept in a tent on the ice and ate high calorie food including nuts, sweets, salami, cheese and chocolate to maintain their weight and energy levels for hours of gruelling skiing.

Currently in third place is Team Danske Bank made up of Gary Bullen from Cornwall, Gary Marshall from Cheshire and Christian Hillkirk from Norway.

The other teams are Team Due South (Rachel Andrews from Plymouth, Phil Hayday-Brown from Gloucestershire and Hylton James from South Africa and London), Team Southpoleflag.com (Mark Pollock and Simon O'Donnell from Ireland) and Team Southern Lights (Tess Burrows from Surrey and Peter Hammond from Suffolk)