January 22, 2009

Norway beats Britain to South Pole again

A race to the South Pole has been something of a replay of the first historic one, with a Norwegian team defeating a British team.

Rune Malterud and Stian Aker of Team Missing Link, both members of the Norwegian military, finished the race Wednesday, the Daily Telegraph reported. One of their first acts was to plant a Norwegian flag.

The three-man British Team QinetiQ were 31.8 miles away from the pole when the Norwegians arrived.

James Cracknell, an Olympic rowing champion, Ben Fogle, a TV presenter, and Ed Coats, a doctor, can hope that they do not replay the events of 1912-1913 completely. Captain Robert Falcon Scott and four companions arrived at the pole on Jan. 12, 1913, only to find that Roald Amundsen had been there 35 days before. The Scott party died on the return trip.

The Norwegians took 17 days and 11 hours to cover the 481 miles of the Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race. That was less than one-third the time that Amundsen needed to travel from the Bay of Whales to the pole.