Forget the cold, we fear polar bears

By Mark HeathTREKKING across more than 300 miles of sea ice in temperatures as low as minus 70C, most adventurers would fear the intense cold or the danger of melting ice.

By Mark Heath

TREKKING across more than 300 miles of sea ice in temperatures as low as minus 70C, most adventurers would fear the intense cold or the danger of melting ice.

But not Sam Eve, who will be competing in the gruelling Polar Challenge race next year - she is more worried about the numerous polar bears that may cross her path.

“It will be tough, but I think my biggest fear is polar bears,” said Miss Eve, a former pupil at Ipswich High School, who was born and raised in the town.


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“We're going to take rifles with us and we're doing some training with them before we go.

“The area that we're going to has 80% of the world's polar bears, so we need to know how to handle them.”

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The 25-year-old will join forces with friends, Tori James and Felicity Aston, in a team called the Polecats in next year's challenge - and they hope to become the first all-woman team to finish the arduous 320-mile, three-week race.

It starts in April at the Polaris Mine in the north-west Canadian Territories and heads across miles of sea ice before the finish line at the magnetic north pole, Isachcsen Mine.

The Polecats are currently working up a sweat to ensure they are in peak condition for the race through a range of endurance training exercises.

In the event itself they will have to lug 70kg sleds, known as “pulks”, behind them, carrying their equipment and rations - so the women have been dragging large rubber tyres behind them on training runs.

“It seems like a great challenge and a great chance to experience a totally different environment,” said Miss Eve.

“We need to raise £40,000 to take part and we're looking for sponsors to help us raise that.

“Once in the race we're going to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and BSES Expeditions, which is the youth development charity that I work for.”

Although the women have a background in expeditioning, they recognised that the test facing them now will take some conquering - but said they were determined to meet it head-on.

“It's going to be a fantastic experience. The fact that we're racing against other people is going to keep us going when it gets really tough,” said Miss Eve.

“We want to be the first all-woman team to finish the race. We hope what we're doing will inspire others to follow in our footsteps.”

To sponsor the Polecats or to find out more about their challenge, visit their website at www.polecats.org.uk or e-mail Miss Eve at sam@polecats.org.uk.

mark.heath@eadt.co.uk

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