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Commando Joe Polar Challenge result
Commando Joe team ward off a polar bear
The Commando Joe team face a polar bear
Last updated: 06 May 2005 1046 BST
line Commando Joe were narrowly pipped at the winning post by race rivals Team
(April 2005)
Commando Joe

Commando Joe - what's it all about?

An interview with Gloucestershire's very own action man.

An interview with Commando Joe campaign manager Adrian Bell.

Icy preparations


Commando Joe

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2005 Features Archive

Polar Facts

There are around 25,000 bears with about 60% of those living in Canada.

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Charlie Martell, a former Commando who earned his ‘Action Man’ moniker through his work for mine clearance organisations in Angola and Iraq, led the Commando Joe team in this year’s Scott Dunn Polar Challenge.

Charlie Martell is seen to by a medic

Together with Cornish team-mates and fellow Commandos Steve Clewley and Gary Bullen, they completed the 320-mile trek in only 10 days, shaving four days off the existing record and raising thousands of pounds for the Stroud-based Meningitis Trust, the team’s nominated charity. Campaign manager, Adrian had this to say:

“It’s a fantastic achievement. They crossed the line at about 0700hrs on Wednesday [4th May] morning our time, but the middle of the night in the Arctic. They’ve had about four hours’ sleep in the last two days in a last-ditch attempt to be first to cross the finish line.

“Unfortunately, they were pipped to the post by race rivals Team, with whom they’d been vying for pole position for much of the race. But neither team was expected to finish the race until Friday at the earliest.”

Tough challenge

Adrian also revealed that during the 320-mile journey, the three men each had to pull a sledge weighing some 90kg, and were travelling for up to fifty miles at a time in temperatures as low as -50C. He said:

“At this time of year, the sun never sets in the Arctic, which makes the experience even more arduous and tiring – you never really know what time it is, and the exhaustion is immense.

“On more than one occasion, the team had to scare off polar bears after they came too close for comfort.

“I’m ecstastic about their achievement and am relieved that they’re now able to take a well-earned rest. They’ll certainly be looking forward to enjoying their first meal in a fortnight that’s not been cooked from snow and dehydrated ration packs!”

More challenges ahead

The Polar Challenge is the first in a series of three ‘extreme challenges’ for the Commando Joe team, all in aid of the Meningitis Trust.

In 2006, the team will take part in the 2,800 mile Woodvale Ocean Fours Atlantic Rowing Race, taking a 29-ft open boat from New York to Falmouth.

There too there’s a record in sight to break – the team hope to smash the existing 55-day record for the crossing. The following year they hope to establish a new record for desert running.

The Commando Joe team will return to the UK on Sunday 8th May 2005.

A local winner

Team, the winners of the race, also had a local Gloucestershire connection. Publican Rupert Longsdon, 31, from Cirencester was a member of the victorious team.

See also: Polar trio 'elated' after race

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2005 Archive
Check out the 2005 Features archive for past stories from the website

2004 Archive
Check out the 2004 Features archive for past stories from the website

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