Tony Martin : An exclusive Interview.
Tony is a former Royal Engineer, Army Commando, EOD (bomb disposal) serviceman who spent 12 years in the service. He is an experienced Arctic survival trainer and has taken part in expeditions in Sahara, Mongolia, Jungles of Belize, the Aturi Rain Forests in the Congo Basin and many other expeditions to the world’s remotest locations. With his combined military and commercial background Tony currently acts as the CEO of Extreme World Resources. Over the years success stories like “Top Gear” and “On Thin Ice” for the BBC have been huge achievements for the team. Tony organized the pioneering race to the Magnetic North Pole and the successful 2004 (BBC) Fujitsu Polar Challenge, and the 2005/6/7/8/10 Scott Dunn Polar challenge and many more. Tony was part of the team responsible for introducing a new generation of cleaner and safer vehicle transportation to Antarctica.
His pioneering attempt to cross Antarctica on the 100th anniversary of Scott and Amundsen propelled the organization to record making status. The double-crossing of Antarctica followed by the sentinel “South Pole Race” comprising an International field was just another highlight in his career.
His drive and entrepreneurial outlook is a promise for more logistics support and race services anywhere on the Planet.
Interview : Giannis Psarelis (Mobile : 6937170260 & Email : firstname.lastname@example.org)
Athens Journal :You have visited and live for many days in the most challenging environments of our planet. What is the most challenging environment and why? Sahara, Arctic Pole,…
Tony Martin : Having lived, worked and travelled through many of the Worlds most challenging environments it is hard to say which one was the hardest. Running a race in Antarctica or on Lake Baikal in Siberia throws up many issues you will never experience in mainland Europe. The most physically challenging environment would have to be the South Pole “Antarctica”. Not only do you face incredibly strong winds capable of knocking you off your feet the temperature can drop below -50. The altitude on the plateau is around 3000 meters but has an effect on the body of approximately 6000 meters; this is due to the close proximity of the South Magnetic pole and the topographic nature of Antarctica. 24-hour daylight and piercing sunshine can drain your batteries incredibly fast. Just standing still you will burn 3000 calories a day. Try racing for three weeks pulling your own gear, supplies and food and you will loose between 9 – 14 kg of fat and muscle tissue.
In addition to this these long endurance races have a cannibalistic effect on the body and mind, releasing new chemicals to the brain that can have you hallucinate and black out at any time. The pure mental detox that ensues during and after the event will give you such clarity of life that you will make some very life changing decisions when back in the World.
Athens Journal : You were the organizer of Polar Challenge. Could you please describe briefly what this race is all about?
Tony Martin : Polar Challenge is a long distance extreme survival endurance team race of 650 km in the high Arctic. Taking approximately 3-4 weeks to complete including further training and acclimatization. The route takes in “Polar Bear Pass” where 80% of the Worlds Polar Bears exist and covers vast areas of open sea ice. Training includes navigation; shot gun use, medical, tent routine, cooker skills and of course endurance in sub zero temperatures the wind chill can get as low as -70.
This self-sustaining event comprises teams of 3 skiing and pulling all their supplies through two designated checkpoints. At these checkpoints a doctor examines each individual to decide if they can continue to the finish line. This race takes the ultimate in physical and mental endurance skills anywhere on the Planet. A one off experience, which will change your life forever.
Athens Journal : Some people their participation in a Marathon or an Ironman race as the challenge of their life, until they found our the existence of races like Polar Challenge. How more demanding is Polar Challenge compared to the races just mentioned?
Tony Martin : Polar Challenge (or any of the other races) is a race like no other and very difficult to make a comparison. Imagine waking up at – 30, melting snow and ice for 5 hours, eating approx. 2 kilos of porridge and drinking 2 liter’s of liquid, whilst sitting on the ground. Packing down everything including the tent, putting on your frozen boots and connecting yourself to a sledge. Skis on and non stop skiing on sea ice and snow in blinding sunshine and winds of approx. 80 mile an hour in your face for 16 hours covering a distance of 45 km. Stop put it all back up again, melt water for 4 hours and eat another 2 kilos of food, fix your blisters, collapse, sleep for 5 hours and do it all over again for 2 weeks!
Total physical and mental endurance from start to finish, chuck in navigation problems, 24 hr daylight, white outs, a few Polar Bear visits, arguments’, falling outs, total mental detox and realization of “self” and you may get a feel for what Polar challenge is about.
Athens Journal : Could you give us some advice and principles on how to survive in a difficult situation and environment?
Tony Martin : Surviving in difficult environments and situations relies on solid preparation and training. In each and every race or expedition we have organized a great deal of time goes into team selection, training, preparation and testing. Getting bitten in the jungle by a deadly snake, frostbite in Antarctica, Polar Bear attack in the arctic or falling through the ice on lake Baikal are all possibilities.
A good friend of mine whom I have raced with says, “Control the controllable and forget the rest” In other words you are in control of what may or may not happen to you so train and prepare yourself to the best of your ability. The unknown factor always exists, no matter how well you prepare there is always the possibility that something new will happen. At this point stay calm and follow procedure, panic and things will go terribly wrong.
The rule of nature and the great outdoors are simple, don’t get lost, don’t fall into a crevasse, don’t stay on the mountain when its clear you should leave, don’t disrespect nature for a second, it will end in tears and possibly death.
Athens Journal :What is your next project?
Tony Martin : I have a few projects lined up and some in the making. A race from the South Pole to the North Pole is high on the list. A race from Berlin to Beijing another, “West meets East”. I am constantly looking for new challenges that will take the team to new and exciting places where we will meet interesting people and cultures.