Suffolk explorer set for South Pole

AN EXPLORER from Suffolk is hoping for a kind of magic as he takes part in the world's most extreme endurance race.

Richard Smith

AN EXPLORER from Suffolk is hoping for a kind of magic as he takes part in the world's most extreme endurance race.

Peter Hammond, from Ufford, near Woodbridge, is hoping music by Queen will get him through the tougher times during his race to the South Pole.

He would love to win the race but as the oldest competitor in the race the seasoned adventurer is well aware that the body can only take so much punishment.


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Mr Hammond said: “We hope to do well on the training leg and if that goes well, then we could win it. But we will be sensible, we want to come back with all our legs and toes.

“It has also got to be fun and we want it to be an enjoyable experience. We have all the right kit, we will be warm at night in the tent and I am very excited about taking part.”

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Mr Hammond is teaming up with 60-year-old Tess Burrows in Team Southern Lights for the Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole race.

They have raised more than £100,000 for charity in eight years and they will carry thousands of personal pledges for the environment and messages of peace, sent in from around the world.

They have spread the peace message in the Andes, the magnetic North Pole, the Himalayas and the Pacific and they want to reach Mt Kilimanjaro in 2011 after which Mr Hammond may take a well-earned rest.

Mr Hammond, a former insurance manager, is preparing to leave for the acclimatisation programme and he said: “I see this race as the ultimate challenge which with its profile will help raise awareness of our declining environment and highlight the worldwide wish for peace.

“I have over 40 years extensive experience in mountaineering, skiing and ski-mountaineering, having climbed in the Himalayas, the Andes and summitted most 4,000 metres peaks in the Alps.

“I am also a veteran of seven 80-mile South Downs Way runs, a number of marathons and four 33-mile Welsh 3000's. I have also cycled Land's End to John O'Groats in nine days and walked the 550-mile Camino de Santiago in 28 days.”

He expects to consume between 5,000 and 6,000 calories daily of dehydrated food and endurance drinks but he will use more than 8,000 calories daily and could return home up to two stone lighter.

Mr Hammond has trained by pulling a tyre which simulates pulling a sledge and he has been using facilities at the Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket where he is a climbing and mountaineering instructor.

His three daughters and one son refer to their father as a “super-charged action pensioner”.

Mr Hammond said: “You are never too old to do anything. You don't have to do extreme events like I do, but doing something three times a week will help.”

The South Pole Race is a race to the geographic South Pole in Antarctica, starting on January 1 and finishing by January 31. It is the first race to the South Pole since Roald Amundsen arrived in December, 1911, and beat Robert Scott.

Mr Hammond is preparing to survive temperatures as low as -50C while he pulls a sledge containing his equipment, food and fuel.

He is raising money for Climb for Tibet, the WWF and the MS Society. Further details are available at www.teamsouthernlights.org

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