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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 14:45 GMT
Life in the freezer
Former National Hunt jockey Richard Dunwoody
Richard Dunwoody is one of the competitors
Competitors taking part in a race to the North Pole are preparing for the cold, at a Swindon supermarket depot.

Three entrants in next year's race to the magnetic pole are acclimatising to Arctic temperatures by training in the cold store at Iceland's depot in the Wiltshire town.

Ex-National Hunt jockey Richard Dunwoody is among those sampling the deep-freeze, to prepare for what has been called the world's toughest race.

Earlier this year, seasoned explorer David Hempleman-Adams challenged all comers to a polar race which will see teams pitted against each other in a 350-mile sledge haul.

Sub-zero

The route will take contestants from Resolute Bay in Canada's North West Territory to the Magnetic North Pole where temperatures can fall as low as minus 40 C.

Among those planning to take part are former champion jockey Mr Dunwoody and former Pan's People dancer Babs Powell.

Entrepreneur Mark Harris, former Commando Tony Martin and Richard Dunwoody
The cold store provides a perfect training situation

To prepare their bodies for the sub-zero temperatures, Mr Dunwoody, former Army Commando Tony Martin and entrepreneur Mark Harris are using the cold-store.

They will be moving aside the frozen peas and ice-cream to make way for climbing and rowing machines.

They will work out in their makeshift gym at minus 25 C.

The team's expedition leader Mr Martin said: "Iceland's cold store at Swindon is the perfect training ground for our team.

Royal Marines

"It allows us to acclimatise to the temperatures that we'll have to bear for four weeks, which will be a great advantage when we experience them for real."

David-Hempleman-Adams
Hempleman-Adams has walked to both poles

The teams taking part feature novice and experienced explorers including Royal Marines, a mountaineer and a shopkeeper.

The journey is expected to take around a month, with competitors pulling their sledges about 20 miles a day.

Mr Hempleman-Adams from Box, Wiltshire, and colleague Jock Wishart, who supported his 1992 solo trek to the North Pole came up with the idea after taking 10 novices to the pole in 1996.

They will provide full training, kit and back-up to the competitors, who have paid 18,000 each to take part.


Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
See also:

26 Jun 02 | England
27 May 02 | Scotland
23 May 02 | England
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