Yeadon adventurer to attempt new speed record

Wharfedale Observer: Ben in action on the ice. Ben in action on the ice.

Endurance athlete Ben Thackwray is flying out to Greenland next week to attempt to set a new speed record across the world’s second largest ice cap.

Ben, 29, was forced to abandon the crossing last year after succumbing to severe frostbite which could have led to the loss of his hand.

But on Tuesday he will return with fellow adventurer Ian Couch in a bid to complete the Endure expedition.

The two men were aiming to travel 370 miles in an unsupported crossing of the ice cap last year when disaster struck and they were forced to abandon their attempt on the 21-day record.

But they are determined not to be beaten and now they are preparing to embark again on the exhausting journey.

Ben, from Yeadon, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting out there, it’s very exciting to be going back, I’ve been waiting for a whole year and have honestly thought about it every day “We are doing it exactly the same as last year – ultra lightweight so we can go as fast as possible. In the brief time we were there we saw our strategy start to work (which added to the frustration of getting lifted off) so really we’ve made very few changes.

“I’ve got a new gloving system, of course, and we’ve made some extra modifications and personalisations to other kit that will make the overall weight even less and certain things more practical. It’s the little details that make the big differences!

“I’ve been training as usual. I run about 40-50 miles per week with a heavy rucksack on, come rain or shine. I’m sure a lot of your readers will have seen me running up and down the A65, and around Yeadon, Guiseley, Menston, Rawdon, Horsforth over the last seven years with my rucksack on, looking like a mad man!.

“I’ve also done some big events recently like a 90-mile ultra race, so fitness is up.”

He took advantage of heavy snowfall across Yorkshire over the winter to get in a little skiing practice. Ben is no stranger to extreme adventure – he has rowed across the Atlantic and run across the Sahara.

And even the Greenland expedition will just be a taste of things to come. “When we get back in May, we’ll be officially launching our South Pole expedition which we’ve been planning for the past year,“ he said To sponsor Ben, see his website at benthackwray.com, email him at ben@benthackwray.com or phone 07834 875 669.

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