Polar Preet’s record-breaking expedition an inspiration to all

Sikh-origin British army officer Captain Preet Chandi has broken the world record for the furthest unsupported solo polar ski expedition in history.

Captain Chandi, from Sinfin in Derby, first made history trekking to the South Pole in 2021.
Captain Chandi, from Sinfin in Derby, first made history trekking to the South Pole in 2021. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10

Known as Polar Preet, she has not only surpassed the world record for the longest solo and unsupported polar expedition by a woman, but also the overall record. She exceeded the previous world record of 907 miles (1,459.8km), set by Henry Worsley, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, in 2015.

Captain Chandi covered 1,485 kilometres in 70 days and 16 hours, and also broke the record for the longest solo, unsupported, unassisted expedition in Antarctica. She battled exhaustion and temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius and skied for between 13 and 15 hours per day with as little as five hours' sleep at times.

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10
She said she was looking forward to having time to recover. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10

Taking to Instagram, Captain Chandi announced her accomplishment. "Polar Preet has broken the world record for the longest, solo, unsupported and unassisted polar expedition by any woman in history!" she wrote in the caption of her post. 

Captain Chandi fell short of completing her target of going coast to coast, around 160km from where she was picked up.

"Mentally, it was tough knowing I didn't have enough time to make the crossing, but the expedition was about pushing my boundaries and inspiring others to do the same, so how could I not continue?" the 33-year-old said. 

"I'm disappointed I ran out of time to make the crossing of Antarctica, but I did everything I could. I didn't take a day off and pushed as hard as possible every day. I'm proud that I kept going when it was tough and I thought I couldn't do any more," she added. 

Captain Chandi, from Sinfin in Derby, first made history trekking to the South Pole in 2021.

Talking about her expedition, the army officer said that during the trek she pulled all her kit and supplies on a sledge, weighing around 120 kilograms, while battling temperatures as low as 30 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of up to 60mph.

Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10
She said of her latest challenge: "It was the toughest thing I've ever done." Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PreetChandi10

"I wanted to show that it does not matter where you are from, what you look like or what you start line is, you can truly achieve anything," she wrote on Instagram. 

"If a Punjabi woman from Derby can do this, then anybody can achieve anything," she added. 

In January, Captain Chandi became the first "woman of colour" to complete a solo expedition to the South Pole. She is serving as a medical officer in the British Army and she completed the latest challenge while on a period leave. 

“Nothing is impossible. I’ve always had this idea that I can achieve something great, something that allows me to be a role model," Chandi said.

Captain Preet Chandi joined the Army Reserves at the age of 19 where she eventually got commissioned in 2012. At the age of 27, she joined the Regular Army and was part of deployments and bilateral exercises. The 33-year-old is now based in Buckinghamshire, working as a physiotherapist at a regional rehabilitation unit, helping injured soldiers with training and rehabilitation.