Helen started her challenge at 83 degrees south, where the temperature was –20 degrees Celsius, and is aiming to travel 500 miles across Antarctica to reach the South Pole by ski, by kite and – in a world first – by bike.
Helen Skelton said: “I am desperate to get started and to get a few miles under my belt. Bad weather delayed the start of my challenge by four days and that means I now have less time to reach the South Pole – so the sooner I get going the more likely I am to finish. I’ve decided to start my polar challenge on my ice bike as I’m determined to prove that you can ride part of the way to the South Pole.”
Helen arrived in Antarctica on 23rd December 2011 and has spent the last 12 days training and camping in sub zero temperatures. She has already had to overcome tummy troubles, snow storms, a frozen Christmas away from home and has bad blisters on her feet.
To complete the gruelling 500 mile challenge, ‘Super Skelton’ will now travel up to 14 hours a day across the coldest and windiest place on earth, battling blizzards, ferocious 80mph winds and temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius.
This is one of the toughest physical challenges ever undertaken in aid of Sport Relief, so Helen’s going to need all the support she can get. Sponsor Helen now at www.sportrelief.com/helen.
Helen faces a number of dangers whilst on the ice including dehydration, frostbite, sun blindness, snow drifts and altitude sickness and is expected to burn up to 10,000 calories a day. If all that wasn’t enough, Helen is pulling a heavy sledge behind her containing everything she’ll need for the whole journey, including all her food, equipment and supplies. Helen’s sledge will weigh up to 82kg which is the equivalent to pulling a man weighing over 12 stone.The specially designed ice bike Helen will use to complete her challenge weighs just less than 20 kilograms and took three months to build. The frame is made from aluminium aircraft tubing which has been specifically treated to withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions and the 20 centimetre-wide tubeless tyres will provide maximum stability and traction on the ice.
All the action from Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sport Relief will be shown in a special nine-week series on Blue Peter, from the end of January to March.
Super Skelton is no stranger to conquering the impossible. For Sport Relief 2010, she became the first person to solo kayak the length of the Amazon and in the process set two Guinness World Records. Not content with that, in February 2011 Helen became the first person to high-wire walk between the chimneys of Battersea Power Station for Red Nose Day.
Helen hopes her incredible efforts will inspire people around the UK to enter the Sport Relief Mile and raise money to help those living incredibly tough lives in the UK and the world’s poorest countries.
For more information about Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sport Relief or to enter the Sport Relief Mile visit sportrelief.com/helen.