Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Good Luck, Ben Saunders

From time-to-time I hear a story which seems to take the spirit of human endeavour to new levels, and I came across one of them today.

Ben Saunders, a 26-year-old Englishman, is planning to walk solo to the South Pole, in the longest unsupported polar journey in history. A little matter of 1,800 miles.

He was on the radio this morning casually describing it in terms that made it sound like a stroll to pick up the Sunday papers, and he came up with a couple of statistics that really caught my ear.

Firstly, he's going to start in a place (can't remember where, I'm afraid) where the temperature will be -49 degrees Centigrade. That's even colder than Mrs Womble On Tour likes to keep the house.

Secondly, because of the amount of walking he'll be doing, he'll be burning up to 10,000 calories a day. 10,000 calories ? Let me put that into context for a moment. For a man, burning 2,500 a day will earn you a tap on the head from the Nanny State, because that equates to the recommended daily calorie intake. And those of us who drive to work and don't consciously do any exercise besides are unlikely to get near that. When I ran a marathon about 14 years ago I probably burned about 3,500 in three-and-a-half hours (3 hours, 29 minutes, actually). I recall being gobsmacked a few months ago when I heard that rowers in the Steve Redgrave mould would probably burn 7,000 in a day. They'd do that through incredibly hard work on the water, in the gym and on the road. And it's still only seven-tenths of what this guy's planning to get through. Every day.

I wish the man luck, I really do. I'm in awe about what's he's planning to take on. Part of me thinks he's insane. The other part of me wishes I had one-tenth of his spirit, resilience and ambition.


nuttycow said...

Wow. Not something I would do (walking to the shops is a bit enough trauma) but I have utmost respect for those who do these types of things. And hell, he's quite pretty too ;)

Shades said...

I caught a bit of it on the radio- I got the impression he was taking in 10,000 calories a day so as to develop blubber for insulating properties.

I assume he is going to drag a sled or something, that is a lot of food to put in a backpack.

He did mention a website, I'll see if I can track it down.