Polar Preet becomes the fastest woman to reach the South Pole



A British Army medical officer from Derby, Harpreet ‘Preet’ Chandi, who broke two Guinness World Records for polar exploration last year, has today broken yet another record, becoming the world’s fastest woman to complete a solo unsupported South Pole ski expedition.


The speed record saw Preet cover the 1130km of Antarctic ice, which she completed in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes (to be confirmed by Guiness World Records) beating the record previously set by Canadian Caroline Côté just this January by 1 day 14 hours and 34 mins.


Having set off from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on the 26th of November, Preet arrived at the South Pole on 28 December at 02:24 (GMT) to claim her latest World Record.


“I’m tired – but so glad I made it,” said Preet from the South Pole.


“This was completely different to my last expedition. I completely pushed myself to my limits on my last expedition, a speed attempt is completely different.


“After my last expedition, I knew I could cope well on the ice which gave me the confidence to tackle this head on.”


On average, Preet was skiing for 12-13 hours a day pulling her 75kg sled behind her containing everything she needed to survive on the expedition.


She added, “It was definitely not a sprint, but I had to constantly weigh up my effort and how long I would ski for each day. Too long or too fast and I was going to burn out. Too slow or finish too early and I’d miss out on the record.


“Antarctica is an amazing place to be and it’s an absolute privileged to be here. It is not a place any person can conquer, it is a place you treat with respect and hope it allows you safe passage.


“I’m so glad it allowed me safe passage.


“I just focused on what I could control, I couldn’t control the conditions – the blistering sun, the whiteouts, the temperatures of minus 30C but I can control how I dealt with them. Just keep taking it one step at a time.”


Capt Chandi, from Sinfin in Derby, is on a career break (period of unpaid leave) from military service where she was a physiotherapist in Buckinghamshire providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers.


She first made history by becoming the first woman of colour to complete a 700-mile Antarctic journey, solo and unsupported, to the South Pole in 2021.


Returning in 2022, she broke two World Records including completing the furthest solo unsupported one-way Polar ski expedition in history.


Having secured her place in the record books, Preet has been showered with praise and awards including being recently named Woman of the Year at the recent Women in Defence Awards 2022.


However, Preet admits that she never thought she would be coming back to Antarctica this season, adding “After my last expedition, I thought there is no way I am doing another expedition in the next year.


“But it wasn’t long before I was dreaming up the next challenge.


“This expedition is not only about only pushing myself, but also about inspiring others to challenge their boundaries, and break their barriers.


“It’s in those tough moments when you find out what you’re made of. One of my biggest motivations in those dark times on the ice, is the thought of inspiring others to face their own challenge. When I make myself accountable to a bigger purpose, how could I not continue!”


Preet will be heading back to the UK over the next month to recover, an no doubt, plan her next adventure. She concluded, “Honestly, it’s too soon to say what’s next – but we all know what happens when I say ‘never again’.”


To find out more about Preet and her adventures, visit www.polarpreet.com and on Instagram @polarpreet.

Preet was supported by Canada Goose (@CanadaGoose) and Branding Science on this expedition.


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