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‘Polar Preet’ makes history for second time in 75-day trek across Antarctica

An Army officer has made history for a second time after breaking another record during her second solo expedition to Antarctica.

Captain Preet Chandi MBE has broken the record for the longest solo, unsupported, unassisted polar expedition by any woman in history, according to Team Army, a body which funds military sports.

The previous record was 1,368km, reached by Germany’s Anja Blacha in 2019, according to a tweet put out by the group.

Capt Chandi, 33, has been dubbed “Polar Preet” and is now 67 days into a 1,100-mile trek across Antarctica, reaching the South Pole for a second time earlier this month as she skis for 13 to 15 hours a day.
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On her website, where she posts audio blog updates and where followers can track her progress, an interactive map shows she has trekked more than 868 miles in 67 days after leaving the Hercules Inlet, all while pulling a sledge, something she prepared for by training in Greenland and Norway.

In her latest voice recording, which isn’t dated, she said: “It is very cold and windy, so I kept my breaks very short so I didn’t get too cold.

“Today I listened to a lot of voice notes which were sent to me before I left, and they’re amazing, it’s so nice to hear the voices of those closest to me.

“I have voice notes from my close family, from my mum, my two older brothers and my niece.

“I listened to childhood memories from my brothers, my mum telling me how excited she was about having a baby girl, and how the midwife commented that she has never seen an Asian woman so psyched about having a baby girl, and finally my niece, who said this is the most amazing thing she has seen anyone do in her entire life and it’s even more amazing because it’s you doing it.

“It’s so precious to hear, I have not yet located the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but I still have a couple of days left.

“I love you all, and see you soon.”

Capt Chandi, from Derby, became the first woman of colour to embark on a solo expedition on the continent when she completed a 700-mile ski to the South Pole in January last year, a challenge she finished in 40 days, seven hours and three minutes – the third-fastest woman to complete the feat.

Landscape and mountains in antarctica (Alamy/PA)
Landscape and mountains in antarctica (Alamy/PA)

According to the Derby Telegraph, Capt Chandi lost 10kg in that expedition and trained by pulling tyres in parks and along roads in the city.

On her current trip, she hopes to reach the Reedy Glacier within 75 days, while facing winds of up to 60mph on her journey totalling more than 1,100 miles.

According to the tracker on Friday, temperatures are as low as minus 25c, but it feels closer to minus 40.

She is completing the challenge while on a period of leave from her Army role, having joined the Army Reserves aged 19 and the Regular Army at 27.

She is now based at a military unit in Buckinghamshire as a physiotherapist at a Regional Rehabilitation Unit, helping injured soldiers with training and rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has raised more than £10,000, half of which will go to an “adventure grant” for females conducting “unique challenges”, while the other will go towards Capt Chandi’s next expedition.

The Derby Telegraph also reported that prior to her second expedition, she received official patronage from the Princess of Wales, with the pair speaking on October 25, before Capt Chandi began her trip last November.