Youngest South Pole challenger wants to train another adventurer to break record

A student aiming to be the youngest person to complete a solo trek to the South Pole plans to then help a young adventurer break his own record.

Tom Warburton, from Bedford, is currently training in Scotland for the challenge later this year.

He plans to ski alone and unsupported over around six weeks, covering more than 685 miles in sub-zero temperatures to reach the South Pole aged 22.

But as soon as he sets the record, he wants to train a challenger to break it.

He said the team behind his expedition, Polar Endeavour, is looking to provide an opportunity to someone from a disadvantaged background, and he will provide mentoring and equipment.

He said: “The South Pole has always had a history with sacrifice as far back as Scott and Amundsen.

“The overarching aim of being the first person to get there and the first person to break the record – I kind of like the idea that I can do better than that.

“It doesn’t have to be the idea of if I’m the best or the first or the toughest, it can be just about adventure.

“I always wanted to walk to the South Pole because I’ve always thought it was a cool thing to do when I was growing up.

“To be given the opportunity to break the record is amazing but it’s not the main reason I want to go – so to give someone else the opportunity will be amazing.”

The idea to train a replacement record breaker arose from educational visits to schools and youth groups the Nottingham student and his team are carrying out ahead of the expedition.

They plan to speak to 10,000 young people by the time the expedition gets under way in November, and are already more than halfway towards that target.

Mr Warburton said: “Older groups I’ve spoken to like Scouts were interested in how accessible it was.

“A training trip to Norway for me was £220 all in for flights and trains, and then I’m camping on a glacier.

“For teenagers that’s not a ridiculous amount of money so it’s highlighting it’s quite accessible and it’s right there.

Tom Warburton solo trek to the South Pole
Tom Warburton on a training trip in Norway last year (Tom Warburton/PA)

“After the end of the expedition we’ll launch a scheme, people will submit applications to become the youngest person to go to the South Pole.

“We’re looking for someone from a disadvantaged background, such as someone who has grown up in the care system.

“I want to highlight the fact that anyone can do adventure and it doesn’t have to be an elite class of world.”

Mr Warburton was inspired to take on the challenge by tennis star Sir Andy Murray’s brother-in-law, Lieutenant Scott Sears, who broke the record by two years aged 27 in 2017.

Currently undergoing crevasse training and navigation practice in Aviemore in the Highlands, Mr Warburton’s usual training regime involves downing litres of peanut butter milkshake daily and dragging around tyres to simulate a sledge carrying his supplies.

He plans to raise £32,000 for the charities Great Ormond Street Hospital and Help for Heroes.

He also hopes to raise around £20,000 for the expedition, and supporters can buy a mile of the journey through a crowdfunder.