American endurance athlete Colin O’Brady, 33, has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone without help. This is the first time the transcontinental crossing was completed from coast to coast, unsupported and unaided by wind power.
O’Brady’s record-setting 1,480-kilometre unsupported solo across Antarctica took 53 days with his final push equaling an ultramarathon with little rest. He covered 130 kilometres in 32 hours to complete his trip.
O’Brady moved for two months straight, taking just a one day off for a ski repair. Eric Larsen, a famous polar explorer said the conditions this year were some of the worst ever during expedition season.
Day 53: THE BIG PUSH: ANTARCTICA ULTRAMARATHON. I woke up this morning about 80 miles away from the finish line. As I was boiling water for my morning oatmeal, a seemingly impossible question popped into my head. I wonder, would be possible to do one straight continuous push all the way to the end? By the time I was lacing up my boots the impossible plan had become a solidified goal. I’m going to go for it. I can feel it in my body that I am in the zone and want to harness that. It’s a rare and precious feeling to find the flow. I’m going to push on and try to finish all 80 miles to the end in one go. Currently, I am 18 hours and 48 miles into the push. I’m taking a pit stop now to melt more water before I continue on. I’m listening to my body and taking care of the details to keep myself safe. I called home and talked to my mom, sister and wife – I promised them I will stop when I need to. Only 35 more miles to make The Impossible First POSSIBLE. A very merry Christmas to all. Stay tuned… #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible
“Something overcame me,” O’Brady said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “I didn’t listen to any music – just locked in, like I’m going until I’m done.
“It was profound, it was beautiful and it was an amazing way to finish.”
He told Jenna Besaw, his wife and expedition manager, that he wanted to keep moving. She and other close relatives questioned O’Brady to check that exhaustion and hunger were not affecting his mind.
“We had an open and honest and smart conversation with him,” Jenna Besaw, O’Brady’s wife and manager told the New York Times. “And he totally delivered.”
Day 47: THIS TOO SHALL PASS. After having my best day of the expedition yesterday, I nearly had my worst day today. I went to battle hard with my personal demons today. My anxiety started building last night after listening to a huge wind storm grow outside. The rattling of my tent kept me up and I began to get more and more nervous knowing I had to go out in it. I did my usual morning routine and then stepped into the madness. As expected, it was brutal. Blowing snow, sub zero temps and zero visibility. I packed off and headed out into the whiteout. I just entered a part of the route known as “Sastrugui National Park” aptly named for having the biggest sastrugui on the route. Pretty much the worse place to find yourself not being able to see where you are going. Due to the massive sastrugi, it’s also the one stretch where no plane can land so you are in dire straights if an emergency occurs. That really started playing on my mind after I fell hard 5 times in the first hour. What if I broke a bone or a ski? Maybe I should stop? I bargained with myself and finally decided I had to set my tent back up, less than two hours into the day. I told myself in my tent if I wanted to keep going that I could put on my long skins for better grip on the uneven surface and then continue. But I knew the effort it would take to put up the tent in a storm, it’s unlikely I was going any further. I fought to get the tent up, got inside with my skis, skins and stove, and put on my long skins. It was now decision time. Go back out? The voice in my head told me to stop, wait out the storm, rest. But the other voice told me I needed to keep moving forward or I’ll run out of food. My mind was ripping me apart. I closed my eyes and decided to meditate for a couple minutes repeating my favorite mantra: “This too shall pass.” One way or another I’d find my way out of this. Calmed and with renewed resolve I got back outside, fought to get my tent down and packed and continued onward. The storm outside never got any better, in fact it got progressively worse. However I managed to calm the storm in my mind and knock out 21.5 miles today. A great day all things considered.