Shackleton Expedition Manager, Wendy Searle, 45, from Monmouthshire, is aiming to become the fastest woman in history to ski solo, unassisted and unsupported from the Antarctic coast to the Geographic South Pole, in an expedition named ‘She Who Dares’, supported by Shackleton.
The mother-of-four completed the 715-mile (1,150km) trek in 2019-2020 and this year is aiming to break the record for the fastest woman to complete it. Three years ago, Searle completed the challenge in 42 days, travelling solo and unsupported. To beat the record this time, she needs to complete the challenge in 38 days and 23 hours, which will mean moving at least 7% faster. Departing on the 5th December, ambitious Searle is looking to beat the previous record significantly.
The headline purpose of the expedition for Searle is to inspire other women and girls, in particular mothers and those in midlife, to set and go after ambitious goals which perhaps they had previously thought unattainable.
Searle is using marginal gains and a project team of sports psychologists, coaches and nutritionists to optimise her expedition. At the age of 45, her endurance and mental strength are at their peak. At home Searle’s training includes replicating pulk hauling by dragging tyres in the Welsh countryside; hiking with weights in the Brecon Beacons; and training at the gym.
As part of her work as Expedition Manager at Shackleton, together with Louis Rudd, Searle leads trips to renowned polar training locations. These include Finse, Norway and Langjokull, Iceland, ideal training grounds for her upcoming extreme endurance challenge, where she traverses some of the world's harshest environments.
Searle discovered polar trekking about eight years ago, as a mother in her late thirties and the discovery was life-changing - shaping her life trajectory and career indelibly. Searle is raising money for the Youth Adventure Trust and Women in Sport, with whom she is working to bring further understanding to how mothers in adventure are perceived and to bring more women into sport and activity.
Although she will miss Christmas - the expedition season in Antarctica is from November to January with 24-hour daylight and manageable weather - her children are fully supportive of her endeavour.
Wendy Searle, Shackleton Challenges Expedition Manager & Polar Explorer, said: "There’s usually a bit of eye-rolling whenever I mention Antarctica, my children think it’s a normal thing to do now. I hope they’re inspired by what they’ve seen. I want to try and go a little bit faster and really put out there that I'm aiming for the record. It's going to be a massive challenge, that's for sure - ambitious, but I think it's definitely achievable.”
Martin Brooks, CEO and Co-Founder of Shackleton, said: “What Wendy’s doing is super-inspiring. She lives life for the challenge and we are proud to support her record-breaking attempt.”
Learn more about She Who Dares record attempt by watching Searle speak at SHACKLETON LIVE on our Instagram.