On December 26, 2018, professional endurance athlete, adventurer, and world record-breaker Colin O’Brady became the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica from the tip of the Ronne Ice Shelf to the tip of the Ross Ice Shelf, via the South Pole – unsupported and unaided.
O’Brady’s trek was more than 900 miles, a journey that he completed in just 54 days. Only two days after O’Brady crossed an invisible finish line, British explorer Louis Rudd finished the trek as well. O’Brady and Rudd had no contact during the trek, but O’Brady did catch sight of Rudd’s tent around Day 6 of the journey.
Averaging 15-20 miles per day, O’Brady adds this world-first feat to an impressive repertoire of records:
- Fastest person to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (2016)
- Fastest person to complete the Seven Summits (2016)
- Fastest person to complete the Three Poles Challenge (2016)
- Fastest person to complete the 50 High Points Challenge (2018)
O’Brady relied on meticulous preparation, whole food nutrition, and a powerfully positive attitude to carry him through this journey. When he finished on December 26, 2018, O’Brady had been awake for 32 hours as he sprinted the last 80 miles of the trek, what O’Brady called the “Antarctica Ultramarathon” on his Instagram account.
A timeline of O’Brady’s journey:
- November 3: The journey begins after a two-hour flight from Union Glacier to the tip of the Ronne Ice Shelf.
- November 9: O’Brady takes the lead over fellow polar explorer Rudd.
- December 12: O’Brady reaches the South Pole.
- December 25: O’Brady begins a 32-hour push – nearly 80 miles – to reach the end of his journey.
- December 26: O’Brady reaches the invisible finish line: a wooden post marking the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins.