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Ben Saunders

Endurance Athlete

Ben Saunders is one of the world’s leading polar explorers with nearly 20 years’ experience in leading expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica. He is also a recording-breaking long-distance skier having covered more than 7,000 km – 4,350 miles - on foot in the Polar Regions since 2001.

Ben Saunders

"I’m often described as an explorer, although in the 21st Century I haven’t drawn any maps or named any mountains or glaciers. For me the exploration has been human rather than geographical, and the polar regions offer some of the most demanding conditions on the planet when it comes to pushing back the boundaries of athletic endurance. I’ve had a keen interest in human performance for decades, and in exploring my own potential as an athlete and as a human being, and now I’m in my fifth decade (and as ambitious as ever) I’m finding that recovery takes as much diligence and focus as training. Forth Edge gives me a new level of knowledge that means I can stay healthier than ever as I continue to explore what’s possible for me."

Ben is one of the world’s leading polar explorers and a recording-breaking long-distance skier having covered more than 7,000 km – 4,350 miles – on foot in the Polar Regions since 2001. 

Ben describes himself as a “…slightly slower, longer-distance sort of professional athlete!”. 

Ben has spent nearly 20 years leading expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica.  He holds the record for the longest ever polar journey on foot, set with his teammate Tarka L’Herpiniere between 2013 and 2014 in Antarctica.  On that journey the two covered 69 back-to-back marathons in 105 days, dragging sledges that weighed 200kg each.

As a result, Ben has had a keen interest in human performance for many years, as he explains “I came back from that expedition pretty exhausted – I lost 23kg in three-and-a-half months…”

Alongside his many accomplishments, Ben is also a keynote speaker, described by TED as ‘a master storyteller’, he’s an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and a patron and fellow of British Exploring, as well as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Like many athletes, Ben’s plans for 2020-21 have been shelved but he’s keen to stay motivated and focused by entering the 2021 Paris Marathon in April next year.  Ben has run several marathons having achieved a PB of 2hrs 55 mins and 18 secs and is now keen to beat that target next spring.

To help him prepare Ben is using Forth Edge tests to create a baseline to help improve his performance as he increases his training load over the Autumn and Winter months.

You can learn more about Ben’s achievements on his website.

Ben's Favourites

Q. What your proudest achievement?

A. While I’ve worked hard to achieve what I have in the polar regions, I think my proudest achievement is feeling as happy as I am now, in my early 40s. Elite athletes in any field tend to be extraordinarily driven – and frequently quite hard on themselves – and in my experience the biggest challenges to overcome are so often in our own heads rather than on the track, the pitch, the road or the trail.

Q. What is your favourite meal to have ahead of an expedition?

A. Either a massive cheeseburger or my wife’s lasagne.

Q. What is your go-to treat?

A. Cheesecake (plain vanilla) is my kryptonite when I’m at home, although on big expeditions with a lot of sweet energy drinks/bars etc, Marmite cashew nuts are a winner.

Q. Favourite music for motivation?

A. Either electronic (particularly drum and bass/jungle) or 90s hip-hop – while it can have its misogynistic and thuggish sides, rap often tells a story of striving and aspiration and struggle against the odds that has always inspired me to work a bit harder.

Career Highlights

Leading the Scott Expedition in 2013
Holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton
Third person in history to ski solo to the North & South poles
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