Ultra-runner’s North Pole Ambitions Put On Hold

Tim Williamson alone

Remember Tim Williamson? He’s the British ultra-runner I told you about a few months back when he ruffled a few feathers by announcing an ambitious (some would say foolhardy) expedition to the North Pole. The plan was for the endurance athlete to make a solo and unsupported round trip journey to the Pole and back, which prompted many to say his plan wasn’t possible. Turns out they might be right, as Williamson has pulled the plug on the expedition – at least for now.

According to this story, published yesterday on grough, Tim’s adventure was scrubbed due to the record low amount of pack-ice in the Arctic this season. 2012 was the warmest ever recorded in that part of the world and as a result, there simply isn’t much ice for those planning on heading to the North Pole this season. Williamson was scheduled to depart from Resolute Bay, Canada last Sunday on what would have been a 3540 km (2200 mile) journey that was expected to take somewhere between 100 and 120 days to complete. Not only is that an extremely early start to an Arctic expedition, it is also a very long time to be out on the ice.

For his part, Tim isn’t giving up on his quest to run to the North Pole. While he won’t be making the attempt this year, he is headed to Iceland where he’ll spend the next four months training in cold conditions to prepare himself for a future attempt. He’ll use that time to test gear, get physically acclimated and build important skills that will help him survive in the Arctic.

This report comes on the heels of the story I wrote yesterday about the increasing difficult of a North Pole expeditions. As climate change alters the face of our planet, the Arctic ice is becoming an increasingly rare thing. Unstable conditions there don’t make for safe travel and is no stretch to say that it is far more unstable in the Arctic Ocean now than it was just a few years ago.

This year’s North Pole season will definitely be another interesting one.

Kraig Becker