Ice Maidens’ Antarc­tic achieve­ment

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Uk And World News -

Two women who were part of an all-fe­male team that made his­tory ear­lier this year by cross­ing the Antarc­tic unaided have re­vealed med­i­cal tests showed the ex­tra­or­di­nary en­durance of their bod­ies.

Six women from the Bri­tish Army, known as the Ice Maidens, be­came the largest allfe­male group to ski coast to coast on the frozen con­ti­nent.

They com­pleted the 1,000mile jour­ney in ex­treme con­di­tions, pulling an 80kg sledge be­hind them in tem­per­a­tures as low as -42C for 62 days be­fore cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line at Her­cules In­let in Jan­uary. The full re­sults of med­i­cal tests us­ing data gath­ered from the women dur­ing their ex­pe­di­tion are ex­pected to be pub­lished in the coming weeks.

Early in­di­ca­tions sug­gest a “high fe­male bi­o­log­i­cal ca­pac­ity for ex­treme en­durance ex­er­cise”.

Re­sults from pre­vi­ous expeditions – mostly made up of men and civil­ian women - found par­tic­i­pants lost a con­sid­er­able amount more body mass than the Ice Maidens.

Two mem­bers of the team, Royal Sig­nals re­servist Ma­jor Sandy Hen­nis from the Mid­lands and Honourable Ar­tillery Com­pany re­servist Lance Sergeant So­phie Mon­tagne from London, vis­ited North­ern Ire­land this week as part of a post-ex­pe­di­tion out­reach pro­gramme.

They de­scribed aim­ing to eat 5,000 calo­ries a day on their trek – while they were ex­pend­ing up to 10,000 calo­ries.

Af­ter work­ing to gain weight be­fore the ex­pe­di­tion, Sandy lost around 12kg, fin­ish­ing just 2kg un­der­weight.

“That is amaz­ing, mostly peo­ple come back hav­ing lost a lot more, we gen­er­ally looked pretty good,” So­phie said.

In North­ern Ire­land, they have been speak­ing to a wide range of peo­ple in­clud­ing school girls at Glen­lola Col­le­giate in Ban­gor.

Ma­jor Sandie Hen­nis (Left) and Lance Sergeant So­phie Mon­tange, two of the women from the Bri­tish Army, known as the Ice Maidens, who be­came the largest all-fe­male group to ski coast to coast across Antarc­tica.

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