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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 11:56 GMT
Polar trekkers train by pulling plane
Polar explorer
The explorers have already trained inside a freezer
Adventurers taking part in a race to the North Pole are training for the feat by pulling a jet plane.

Competitors will have to drag all the equipment they need on heavy sledges for 350 miles.

And to get used to the strain, entrants are pulling a 14,000lb Hawker Hunter jet along the runway at Kemble Airfield in Gloucestershire.

Among those learning to haul the plane are ex-jockey Richard Dunwoody, former Pans People dancer Babs Powell, and Jim Shekdhar, the first man to row the Pacific solo.

Polar challenge

The team is led by Tony Martin, 38, a former army commander who now runs an events management company in Cirencester.

He said: "Towing an aircraft may seem a little unconventional, but it is all part of the training process.

Richard Dunwoody
Richard Dunwoody: Taking part in the trek

"I know that some of the team are keen on aviation as well so this is one session at which I knew we would be able to get everyone together."

Last month three of the would-be trekkers trained in sub-zero temperatures in the cold store at an Iceland supermarket in Swindon.

Earlier this year, Wiltshire explorer David Hempleman-Adams challenged all comers to the polar race which will see teams pitted against each other in a battle with the elements.

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.

The race next April is expected to take about a month, with competitors pulling their sledges about 20 miles a day.

Mr Hempleman-Adams and his colleague Jock Wishart came up with the idea for the race after taking 10 novices to the pole in 1996.


Click here to go to BBC Gloucestershire

Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
See also:

06 Dec 02 | England
20 Nov 02 | England
26 Jun 02 | England
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