The teams of wounded servicemen racing to the South Pole - including one headed by Prince Harry - are suffering 'exhaustion and mental weariness' the organisers of the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge said today.Guide Eric Philips, who was pulled out of the contest suffering altitude sickness, has now been given the all clear to rejoin the Commonwealth team.
Today is the last full day of ski-ing before an enforced 24 hour rest stop at Checkpoint 1.
A spokesperson for the expedition said, "It goes without saying that the teams are feeling the strain as the extreme cold, elevation, dry air and mental weariness start to make even the simplest tasks a mammoth effort. It has been a steep learning curve for the teams, as the slightest mistake in looking after themselves can lead to disastrous consequences.
"The Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge has shown that the unforgiving environment of the Antarctic can catch out even the most seasoned of polar guides, as the incident with Eric Philips highlighted."Reports from the expedition doctor say that Eric will hopefully rejoin his team after the rest day as his condition stabilizes and he is back up laughing and joking with people – after Day 3 Eric had been suffering with shortness of breath and altitude sickness.
"The teams however, are still continuing to make strong progress and with the rest day in sight, they all put in another strong performance on Day 4. Team Glenfiddich (UK - Pricne Harry and Walking With The Wounded) continued its dominance going into the rest day and breaking the 200 km barrier, having covered an outstanding run of 24 km. Team Soldier On (Commonwealth) extended its hold on second place after they also dug deep and covered 24 km. Team Noom Coach (USA) have slipped further behind after a slightly shorter 21 km ski."
While Eric Philips was receiving his medical attention, he commented on the positive influence that actor Dominic West has brought to the Team Soldier On camp:
“Dominic is shattered, as are the rest of the team, but is super strong and determined. He is a great and very amusing asset to the team and always has a funny line to keep his tent mates amused, along with endless impressions and lines from films, he is hilarious to be around and is coping really well with the Antarctic conditions.”