New Year's Day, 2009. Somewhere on the bottom of the world, six teams of adventurers and explorers have gathered to race one another, on foot, to the South Pole. It is the first time that anyone has undertaken such a race in almost a hundred years; the first time since the great Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, beat Captain Scott to the same goal in 1911.
The stakes are high, as double-Olympic Gold-winning medallist James Cracknell and TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle must contend with hidden crevasses, frostbite and the favourites to win: a team of teak-hard former soldiers from Norway, trained in Arctic warfare. Temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius lie in store for the teams as they attempt to ski across 800 kilometres of unforgiving, icy wilderness, pulling behind them sledges laden with equipment, tents and food.
Race to the Pole is a rip-roaring 'boy's own' adventure packed with excitement, humour and even a few tears. But with just a few months to learn to cross-country ski before the start, and with national pride at stake, can Ben and James re-write history and beat the Norwegians?
Ben Fogle is the author of three books and has presented numerous television programmes, including the BBC's Animal Park, Countryfile and Extreme Dreams. Ben's sporting achievements include completing the gruelling 160-mile 'Marathon Des Sables' through the Sahara, and rowing across the Atlantic with double Olympic Gold Medallist James Cracknell, OBE. Since completing the Atlantic race, James has continued to write a regular column for the Daily Telegraph, and recently completed an epic 1,400-mile triathlon for charity, rowing from Dover to France, cycling from there to Tarifa in Spain and finally swimming the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco.