“Preet Chandi, known as Polar Preet, broke two Guinness World Records in Jan 2023, for both the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey for a woman and also the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey overall.”
Three years ago, I did not know much about Antarctica and that is what inspired me to go there. Hopefully doing something that pushed me so far out of my comfort zone would inspire others to believe in themselves and push their boundaries. After 40 days alone on the ice, I completed my 700 mile journey to the South Pole on 3 Jan 22, this was phase one of my expedition. Phase two involved travelling 922 miles across Antarctica in 70 days, I fell short of my initial goal to cross Antarctica but also realised it is ok to change the goalpost.
The last few years have been tough, my full time role is in the Army and I often felt as though I had two jobs whilst training for the expeditions. I took unpaid leave from the Army to conduct the expedition and I am now back in my full time role.
Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest and windiest continent on Earth. Nobody lives there permanently. When I reached the South Pole earlier this year, I said on my blog post ‘I don’t want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces.’ I was told no on so many occasions, called stubborn or rebellious because I wanted to do things that were out of the norm and push my boundaries. I want to encourage others to push their boundaries, it is amazing how much your world opens up when you start to do so. No boundary or barrier is too small and I want to continue to smash that glass ceiling.
I became the first woman of colour to do a solo expedition in Antarctica in 2022. There are still only a few female adventurers that have completed a solo, unsupported trek in Antarctica. Lets continue to make history.
“Nothing is impossible” I’ve always had this idea that I can achieve something great, something that allows me to be a role model. I want my 11 year old niece to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless.
The journey aimed to inspire future generations in achieving whatever they desire and pushing boundaries.
Who am I?
How do you push yourself mentally and physically? I completed Marathon des Sables in 2019 (arguably one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world) and it left me wanting more. The more you do, the more you realise what you are capable of.
At age 19, I joined the Army Reserves where I eventually commissioned in 2012. I went to university to study Physiotherapy and graduated in 2012, I was the first person in my family to get a degree and it is remains one of my greatest achievements.
My appetite for greater and greater challenges started to grow, starting with my first half marathon at 20 years old. After completing my first marathon, I decided to try an ultra-marathon. Dusk till Dawn (50 miles in the Peak District) left me feeling very achy and sick but I had already caught the bug. The scale of my adventures started to grow and my definition of what is normal changed.
Aged 27, I decided to join the Regular Army and I have not looked back since. I have completed large scale exercises/deployments in Nepal, Kenya and most recently a 6 month UN peacekeeping tour to South Sudan. Whilst in South Sudan (in addition to my duties as task-force Physiotherapist), I organised a 30 hour endurance event to raise money for charity. I completed the full 30 hours and UK soldiers would join me for anything between 1 and 12 hours.
My personal adventures have grown too. I have been on hiking and climbing trips in Kenya, Morocco, Mexico, the Alps, Bolivia, Peru, Iceland, Nepal and many more. All of my mountaineering and polar training will be documented on this site under news.
Anything ambitious can feel out of reach at the beginning but every bit of training I complete brings me closer to my goal. My training expeditions in Greenland and Norway helped prepare me for phase one which has all brought me a step closer to the crossing of Antarctica (phase two)
I am currently based at a Military Unit in the Buckinghamshire. My primary role is as the physiotherapist at a Regional Rehabilitation Unit, to organise training and rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers. My training is all conducted on leave and I took unpaid leave from the Army to complete this expedition.
I am ambitious and driven and incredibly motivated. When I initially told my family of my plan to cross Antartica, my brother was not surprised and said ‘you never give up.’
What is next?
I’m currently recovering and already planning my next steps.
Watch this space!