Rugby star Richard Parks cuts 10 days off British South Pole trek record
Sunday 05 January 2014
A former Welsh international rugby player has set the second fastest unsupported solo journey to the South Pole in history.
Richard Parks, 36, reached the finishing line at 05.24 GMT yesterday as the temperature hit -24C, less than five years after his rugby career ended in a shoulder injury.
He completed the 1,150km (715 mile) journey from the Antarctic coastline in 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes, establishing a new British record.
"I'm exhausted. Physically, I am absolutely shattered, mentally I am frazzled. It is just a lot to take in. I have a lot of emotions bouncing around, but I am happy, proud and grateful," he said.
Mr Parks added that it was tough to complete the final few kilometres as he approached the South Pole marker and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
"I was only about 3km away and I literally was having to talk myself out of pitching my tent with every step, I just didn't think I could put another foot in front of the other," he said.
Mr Parks faced brutal Antarctic conditions and completed the last two days with a broken ski.
He took nearly 10 days off the previous British record set in 2006. Hannah McKeand reached the South Pole in 39 days, nine hours and 33 minutes.
He also became the 19th person – and the first from Wales – to complete the journey solo and unsupported.
Mr Parks, who missed his target of 23 days to break the Norwegian Christian Eide's world record, added: "I felt quite overwhelmed in the last steps getting to the South Pole marker. So many emotions were bouncing around in my body.
"It was not quite the script I had planned, but I was full of gratitude and pride because I know what I achieved is special. I skied to the marker, took a few minutes just to savour it and take it in.... I will probably be reflecting on this for quite some time."
Last month, Maria Leijerstam, 35, from the Vale of Glamorgan, cycled to the South Pole in 10 days.
She completed a gruelling 800-kilometre ride in "vicious" conditions with white-out blizzards, snowdrifts and crevasses to contend with. At one point, the sweat on the inside of Ms Leijerstam's boots froze.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz 'sought treatment for eyesight problems'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Yemen crisis: Saudi Arabia ready for long campaign against Houthi rebels across the border
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...
£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...