British Army physio PolarPreet has smashed expectations by completing her expedition to the South Pole almost a week ahead of schedule. Preet Chandi (or as she is called PolarPreet), a British-born Sikh army officer, has made history. Preet Chandi has become the first woman of colour to complete a lone expedition to the South Pole. Writing on her blog, she said: “Hello everyone, checking in from day 40. I made it to the South Pole where it’s snowing.
Army Officer, Physiotherapist, Nordic Skier, Ultra-marathon Runner, Endurance Athlete
Polar Preet conquers South Pole close to world record 03 January 2022. I am now in Antarctica on my solo, unsupported expedition to the South Pole. This involves me travelling 700 miles, pulling a pulk (sledge) with all of my kit, battling temperatures of up to -50c and wind speeds of up to 60mph. This journey will take approximately 45 – 47 days. See below for live tracking and you can click on the map to hear my daily voice blogs. I hope you enjoy following the journey!
Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest and windiest continent on Earth. Nobody lives there permanently. I didn’t know much about the continent when I first started planning and that is what inspired me to go there. Hopefully doing something that pushes me so far out of my comfort zone will inspire others to do believe in themselves and push their boundaries. There are only a few female adventurers that have completed a solo, unsupported trek on this continent. It is time to add some more names, diversity and to make history.
“Nothing is impossible” I’ve always had this idea that I can achieve something great, something that allows me to be a role model. I want my 8 year old niece to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless.
This journey aims to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries. By promoting and completing this challenge, it allows me to act as a role model to young people, women and those from ethnic backgrounds.
Who Am I
How do you push yourself mentally and physically? I completed Marathon des Sables earlier this year (arguably one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world) and it left me wanting more. The more you do, the more you realise what you are capable of.
I lived away from home from the age of 14, playing tennis at an academy. Aged 16, I moved to the Czech Republic where I attended Novak’s Tennis Academy. At age 19, I moved back to England to pursue a different path and joined the Army Reserves where I eventually commissioned in 2012. I went to university to study Physiotherapy and my appetite for greater and greater challenges started to grow, starting with my first half marathon at 20 years old.
After completing my first marathon, I decided to try an ultra-marathon. Dusk till Dawn (50 miles in the Peak District) left me feeling very achy and sick but I had already caught the bug. The scale of my adventures started to grow and my definition of what is normal changed.
Aged 27, I decided to join the Regular Army and I have not looked back since. I have completed large scale exercises/deployments in Nepal, Kenya and most recently a 6 month UN peacekeeping tour to South Sudan. Whilst in South Sudan (in addition to my duties as task-force Physiotherapist), I organised a 30 hour endurance event to raise money for charity. I completed the full 30 hours and UK soldiers would join me for anything between 1 and 12 hours. Other adventurous highlights in the Army include Nordic skiing.
My personal adventures have grown too. I have been on hiking and climbing trips in Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, the Alps, Bolivia, Peru, Iceland, Nepal and many more. All of my mountaineering and polar training will be documented on this site under news.
Anything ambitious can feel out of reach at the beginning but every bit of training I complete brings me closer to my goal. My training expeditions in Greenland and Norway have helped prepare me and my goal is now in reach.
I am currently based at a Medical Regiment in the North West of England. My primary role is the Clinical Training Officer, to organise and validate training for medics in the Army. I am completing my MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine, part time, at Queen Mary’s University. I have always been interested in pushing the human body to its limits and this allows me to look at this from a research perspective too. I am the Medical Lead for the Army Rugby 7s team and also work with the Army Engagement team on an ad hoc basis, promoting the opportunities that the Army has to offer. I also play tennis competitively for the Army.
I am ambitious and driven and incredibly motivated. When I told my family of my plan to cross Antartica, my brother was not surprised and said ‘you never give up.’ Even if it is out of pure stubbornness to not give up, I know I will achieve this goal. The only question is when. Help me achieve the funding to set a start date.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Spread the word and promote!
Donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/polarpreet