QinetiQ announces results of search for third team member for South Pole Race

09 Oct 2008

Bristol-based doctor makes the team after tough selection process

Edward Coats, a doctor who works in a maternity unit at a Bristol hospital, has been unveiled as the third member of Team QinetiQ due to compete in January's international Amundsen Omega 3 race to the South Pole. Ed beat 650 other applicants to join existing Team QinetiQ members James Cracknell and Ben Fogle following a high profile public search and intensive selection process that began in June.

In the past Ed, 28, has represented Great Britain in the decathlon and captained a team of swimmers that crossed the English Channel for charity.

"I enjoy challenging myself; it must be inbuilt," commented Ed. "When I heard that QinetiQ were looking for a third team member, I was interested immediately. James and Ben have been through a lot together already during the Atlantic row, so I hope my past experience as an international decathlete and scientist will help us become a winning team."

Ben Fogle said: "We were looking for someone with the physical and mental strength to join our team. We personally oversaw the selection process which involved a grueling set of challenges. Ed shone through with his grit and determination and above all his enthusiasm for adventure."

The selection process culminated in a 12-hour assessment at QinetiQ's human performance centre in Farnborough, Hampshire where physical tests included simulated sledge pulling and cold tolerance tests in climate chambers chilled to minus 20 degrees Celsius. QinetiQ psychologists also put candidates' personality types under the microscope to assess their mental strength.

"I agree with Ben about Ed’s selection. The team’s set and we can concentrate on the job in hand now," concluded James Cracknell. "We will be working intensively with QinetiQ on nutrition, physical performance and team dynamics in preparation for the Antarctic. These tools will be invaluable for the race as we battle with some of the harshest conditions the world has to offer."

The race itself is expected to start in early January 2009 and will pitch ten international teams against one another pulling 200 lb sledges racing over 400 miles to the geographical South Pole.

Notes to editors: Details on the race.

Ben Fogle, 34, shot to fame in the 2000 series Castaway and since then, has become a household favourite presenting a variety of TV programmes from Crufts to Animal Park. His most recent series is Extreme Dreams, in which he takes five members of the public on adventures of a lifetime. He has also written a number of popular books, mainly focusing on his love of islands, and co-wrote Through Hell and High Water with James Cracknell, his polar expedition companion, about their experience in a rowing race across the Atlantic. He currently lives in London with his wife.
Winning Gold in Athens in one of the most heart stopping races in Olympic history confirmed James Cracknell as one of the most successful and inspirational athletes of the modern era. A double Olympic Champion, six times World Champion and World Record holder, James is one of Britain’s true sporting heroes. After the Athens Olympics, James took a year out from competitive rowing but still managed to set the record for the fastest two Briton’s to row across the Atlantic (49 days) while competing in the punishing Atlantic rowing race. Shortly after this, James retired from competitive rowing. However, never one to sit still, he continues to set himself new challenges. He’s run the London Marathon twice, won the Mark Webber Challenge, taken part in triathlons and the Coast to Coast race in New Zealand, as well as recently completing his cross continent challenge for Sport Relief, which saw him make his way from the UK to Africa powered by his body strength alone. James, 35, has also established himself as both writer and broadcaster since his retirement.
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QinetiQ announces results of search for third team member for South Pole Race