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Cornishman completes gruelling endurance race to South Pole

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: January 27, 2009

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A Falmouth father-of-three unfurled a Cornish flag on arriving at the South Pole after a gruelling 20 days on the go.

Former Royal Marine, Gary Bullen was one third of Team Danske Bank which took part in the Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race.

The team came in in third place, with the celebrity team, made up of Ben Fogel, James Cracknell and Ed Coats, beating them to claim second place.

It was the first time such a race had been held since Scott and Amundsen's race almost 100 years ago.

Six teams set off on January 4 to race 430 nautical miles across the largest ice cap in the world, to the Geographic South Pole.

The racers faced a constant stream of challenges along the way, not least surviving in temperatures as low as -50C while navigating, skiing, pulling a 70KG sled and climbing up to 9,300ft.

All competitors have suffered from sprains, blisters and fatigue, but were determined to push on.

Having to keep their energy levels up, the teams survived on lots of hot drinks and high calorie "in a bag" dinners and desserts.

Breakfast was porridge, muesli/energy crunch, raisins, milk powder and sugar while lunch was a range of salami, nuts, sweets, cheese blocks, crackers, energy bars and soup.

Gary, of Wodehouse Terrace, and the rest of his team crossed the finish line on Saturday, completing the race in 20 days and nine hours.

They then enjoyed a well-earned rest before flying back to base camp at Novo. They will then be swapping the freezing temperatures for the much warmer climate of South Africa before heading home early next month.

Forty-two-year-old Gary has been raising money for the Children's Hospice South West's Precious Lives Appeal, which seeks to raise enough to build a new hospice at St Austell.

Mary Murfin, the hospice's community fundraiser for Cornwall, said: "Gary has gone to the far end of the earth to support our appeal to build Little Harbour.

"Reaching the South Pole really is a phenomenal achievement."

Gary is still accepting sponsorship and supporters can pledge money by logging onto www.justgiving.com/cornwallsouthpolechallenge.

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    Marty Yardley, Canada  |  February 03 2009, 12:04PM

    Congratulations gaz.

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    Soldier sailor airman royal marines commando assoc, England  |  January 28 2009, 10:51AM

    Well done Royal Soldier sailor airman royal marines commando association PO Box 155 - NR30 1AA