Former Royal Marine from Torquay to attempt world’s first solo crossing of the Antarctic

Sam Cox will start the trek in November. Credit: Sam Cox

A former Royal Marine from Torquay will attempt the world’s first solo crossing of the Antarctic.

Sam Cox will start the 1,250 mile expedition in November and expects it will take just over two months to complete it.

As part of his training Sam, aged 34, has been visiting Plymouth Marjon University and working with students studying Sport and Exercise Science.

On the treadmill, he’s been wearing a vest loaded with 9 kilograms of weight to simulate just some of the kit he will have to carry.

The students have been measuring how much energy he will burn during the record attempt.

Sam Cox on the treadmill with 9kg of weights Credit: ITV West Country

Talking about how he came up with the idea of the record attempt Mr Cox said: “I was in the military, so I was very busy when I was away.

"I came back after being away, when COVID wasn’t a thing, and then came back to being locked down immediately.

“So my mind was racing being 100 miles an hour sat on the sofa doing nothing. So it started as a bit of a background project, then I went back to work.

“Then the second lockdown happened in November and that was it. I decided I wanted to do it.”

Sam’s also undergoing training to test his resilience to the extreme temperatures using a special climate control room where the temperature is minus 20 celsius.

In the room he tests himself performing everyday functions. For most people about 10 minutes inside would slow down our ability to think straight.

Mr Cox said: “Lots of my background in the Royal Marines was in Norway. I spent several winters in Norway, so I've gone a bit old school with the training, which is getting out in the environment.

“I have to make sure I know my equipment, make sure I know myself and I can work in that environment. And then mixing it at the university with a bit of space age science to understand how my body is working and make sure it’s scientifically proven that it works.”

Sam Cox will ski up to 12 hours a day. Credit: Sam Cox

When asked how he prepares himself mentally for the challenge Mr Cox said: “It is probably the one thing it's quite difficult to train for.

“Physically you can put yourself through the wringer doing all sorts of runs and exercises, but then mentally it's, you know, isolation for 75 days is very, very difficult to replicate. So I've been doing a lot of resilience training.”

One of the students helping Sam, Cherry Krajangsang, said: “It's really interesting seeing it firsthand and you know, you don't get this opportunity each day to be working with somebody helping them so it is really cool.”

Dr Joe Layden, from Plymouth Marjon University said: “A solo trip such as this is not for the faint hearted. You have a lot of challenges, I think, in terms of physically, mentally, being able to deal with the isolation and the physical challenges that come with that as well.”

Sam will ski for between 10 and 12 hours every day during the two month expedition. He’ll check in once a day so that his wife and daughter know he’s safe.