Women's Sport: Wendy Searle reaches the South Pole becoming the seventh woman to complete the solo ski

Wendy Searle reaches the South Pole

Wendy Searle, 42, has become the first of three British women currently skiing across Antarctica unsupported to reach the South Pole.

Searle who, along with Jenny Davis, was hoping to beat the solo skiing record of 39 days took just over 43 days to complete the challenge. Searle is only the seventh woman to have completed the challenge. 

Her expedition manager wrote on Instagram: "She’s only gone and done it!!! ... I’ve just received word that Wendy has reached the South Pole after an epic all-night final push. She’s absolutely ecstatic and although exhausted is in great shape."

Searle has been documenting her experience on Instagram and a blog. Before her final push, she reflected on her achievement, writing: "I'm now 14 nautical miles to go which is so exciting. Which means I have about 11 or 12 hours of skiing to go and I'll be there, it's all really surreal as I've just been plodding along for the last 42 days. It seems crazy that what's taken me over 40 days to achieve, potentially in a few hours I'll be flying back in a plane in about six hours." 

The solo, unsupported and unassisted ski, which involves skiing with everything you need for the trip in a sledge that you are pulling, is roughly 700 miles long, from Hercules Inlet where they start until the South Pole. The exact route varies according to conditions.

The latest update from Davis came on Instagram two days ago, on day 40 of her ski, explaining that she has an injury called polar thigh - a condition where wind can cause thigh fat to die - and an issue trying to fix a damaged stove, essential for melting snow as that is her only source of water. 

The post said she had kept up World record pace for two-thirds of her trip but had switched focus to finishing and reaching the pole before her food supply runs out. It said: "She remains mentally strong and in good spirits considering. Each step is painful as she literally limps towards the pole and faces the last degree of 60 more nautical miles."⁣  

Mollie Hughes, 29, the final Brit is due to reach the South Pole on Friday. In doing so, she will become the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the Pole. She is already the youngest woman and first English woman to summit Mount Everest, from both the north and south faces of the mountain. 

This follows a historic ski of the Last Degree, the final stretch to reach the Pole, by Saray Khumalo who became the first black African woman to reach the South Pole.

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