Three Staffordshire firefighters are set to compete in the most extreme endurance race in the world, the 100th Anniversary Race to the South Pole.
"We are hoping to raise approximately £100,000 for our chosen charities however we firstly need the £124,000 sponsorship required to allow us to compete."
Fire fighter Brian Roy
Newcastle Firefighter, Andy Topham, Cannock Firefighter Jason Humphreys and Tamworth Firefighter Brian Roy will be competing against other international teams in the challenge which starts on 2nd January 2012. The 2012 Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race will be the 100th anniversary of the historical Scott/Amundsen Race.
The team, named Fire and Ice GB, are already training hard, on a daily basis, for the challenge which will see them set off from the edge of the Antarctic continent to ski across the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth, battling temperatures of – 51°C.
The team are hoping to raise £100,000 for the Fire Fighters Charity and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) Forces Help. However they are first looking for the sponsorship needed to get them on the ice.
Brian Roy said: "We are hoping to raise approximately £100,000 for our chosen charities however we firstly need the £124,000 sponsorship required to allow us to compete. We’re looking for corporate sponsors to support us in this anniversary race, and we urge people to contact us so we can discuss the options available and what we can offer them in return."
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Dartford said: "I’ve got every confidence in the team in completing and hopefully winning this challenge. They are training extremely hard and being firefighters I know they have both the mental and physical stamina to get through this. It’s fantastic that they’ve chosen to support the Fire Fighters Charity, it’s a very worthwhile cause and is a charity close to the hearts of many in the Service."
Claire Hoather, Director of Fundraising SSAFA Forces Help, commented: "We are absolutely delighted that team Fire and Ice GB will be supporting SSAFA Forces Help. The last few years have been a challenging time for our Armed Forces and SSAFA has been working hard to meet the changing needs of our servicemen and women and their families.
"We wish team Fire and Ice GB every success in their race to the South Pole."
Team Fire and Ice GB are one of just 14 teams selected on their experience to compete in the challenge. Other teams will be representing countries including, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Russia.
Andy Topham said: "My training at the moment involves me running, carrying 60lb on my back and then pulling a homemade sledge of 60lb - I’m getting some funny looks, but it’s necessary to make the training as realistic as possible! I’m also forcing myself to train when I am at my most tired, it’s something we did a lot of when I was in the HM Forces - it’s a great way to test yourself mentally, as well as physically."
As part of their training the team will be climbing the highest mountain in Alaska, Mount McKinley, otherwise known as Deadly Denali, in May. All international teams will then participate in a training week organised by the race organisers in Finse, Norway in January 2011. They will also be training with rugby team, The Cardiff Blues in February.
South Pole Stats:
Number of miles: 550 miles
Temperatures the team will face: – 51°C
Weight of what the team will be carrying: 150lb, for 18 - 20 hours a day.
How long it will take: Two to three weeks.
Date the team start their expedition: 2nd January 2012
Total number of international teams competing: 14