Curse of Harry?
12.07.13 6:17 PM ET
Prince Harry's Cursed Antarctic Race Cancelled As Harsh Conditions Take Their Toll
The Royalist suggested last week that Prince Harry might appear to carry a curse when it comes to extravagant expeditions to remote corners of the earth with teams of wounded servicemen.
Now, sad to report, his latest adventure with Walking With The Wounded, a race to the South Pole, has had to be abandonned after the three teams from the UK, US and Commonwealth were unable to continue competing due to unexpectedly harsh conditions.
The trek to the Pole will still continue, however it is now no longer a race, and the organizers hope that the ability of the wounded servicemen to even reach the pole will still stand as an inspiring example to others struggling with disability.
The decision was made today, on day 5 of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge, as the teams arrived at their first checkpoint, where a 24 hour rest stop was mandated.
In a statement issued today expedition director, Ed Parker said,
“We always knew that this wasn't going to be easy, but that is what makes the challenge so exciting. Our aim was to show that despite injury, young men and women from our armed forces can still achieve great things.
Until now, the three teams have been racing against one another across the Antarctic plateau, but yesterday I took the decision to suspend the race. The reason for this is entirely simple - safety, which remains the core principal of our expeditions.
"While all three teams were progressing well, it was becoming evident that there was a higher degree of stress imposed on the team members, due to unprecedented terrain on the plateau. With careful consultation from our doctor and race team, we have put the race on hold. This does not mean that the expedition is over. Far from it. We came down here, determined to get 12 men and women, all injured in conflict, to the South Pole, and so we will.
"Tomorrow we start the last leg, 112 km, to the Pole, with no stress being placed on the teams, and with the new race format enabling them all to do this in their own time. Each evening, the expedition will be camping together, all able to enjoy and share each other’s experiences. By Friday or Saturday next week, I strongly believe that every member of the expedition will be standing on the South Pole, celebrating what will have been the most extraordinary shared journey. We feel your support every step of the way, please continue to follow us and support the walk. “
Guy Disney of Team Glenfiddich - Prince Harry's team - said
“Sadly, we had to call off the race element of the expedition. The first four days was a full out slog. It really tested every single individual mentally and physically. I think everyone, including myself, has managed to get a hell of a lot out of it and it will be an experience that will live with us for the rest of our lives. However, due to a few small injuries - nothing too serious - and the weather, it is really putting us behind and so the race element has been stopped, but for very good reasons.
"Now, what can only be described as stage 2 will be getting everyone back together, all three teams and redefining our essential goal, which is to make sure we get every single person there in one piece and to do everything we can for the charity.
"We still have another 7 days of walking, which should be great fun and without the race element, it means we can really focus on what the expedition set out to achieve."
Hollywood actor Alexander Skarsgard, star of the hit HBO series True Blood, was heading the US team and English actor Dominic West, from the popular series The Wire, was racing alongside the Commonwealth team.
The terrain made up of sastrugi - sharp irregular grooves in the snow caused by wind erosion - has made the skiing particularly difficult.
The walkers will now be driven to the second checkpoint, 112 km from the South Pole. Over the course of the next 7 days, they will move as one whole allied team to reach the South Pole together.